Laying Bare: The Fate of Authorship in Early Soviet Culture

by Petrov, Petre Miltchov

Abstract (Summary)
The thesis examines the transition from post-revolutionary Soviet culture (1917-1928) to the culture of the Stalinsist period, arguing for a crucial transformation in the status of agency, subjecthood, and authorship between these two historical and cultural frames. I contend that Soviet culture has much to tell us about that momentous event of the twentieth century, the death of author or, more broadly, the death of the subjectan event that Western thought has illuminated from various perspectives (philosophy, psychoanalysis, linguistics, structural anthropology, political economy, etc.). The analysis proceeds from a consideration of prominent literary and aesthetic theories of the 1910s and 1920sFormalism, the sociological criticism of the Pereverzev school, the artistic platforms of left avant-garde, the ideological positions of RAPP, an attempt to present these often divergent currents of thought and praxis as homologous, as participating in the same act: the cultural act of modernism. Characteristic of this act, I argue, is the attempt to transcend the dimension of the individual subjective and, in this very transcendence, institute an impersonal, suprahuman objectivity. The symbolic price for reaching this state of superhuman truth is the instrumentalization of human agency. The concrete result of the modernist act is Stalinism: a world in which the very production of truth and reality is coterminous with the ritualistic surrender of agency and autonomy. In the thesis second part, I discuss socialist realism as a concrete instance of this surrender, seeking to demonstrate to what extent the position of the so-called representing subject in socialist realism is antinomic with the notion of authorship.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Peter Machamer; Vladimir Padunov; Nancy Condee; Evgeny Dobrenko; Paul Bove

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:slavic languages and literatures


Date of Publication:01/30/2007

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