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June 2016
384 pages  
27 b&w Illustrations
6 x 9
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Greetings, Pushkin!
Stalinist Cultural Politics and the Russian National Bard
Platt, Jonathan
In 1937 the Soviet Union sponsored a huge celebration on the centenary of Pushkin’s death, marking the turn toward a renewed Russian nationalism that would become full-blown a few years later. This is the first study of this major cultural event, and examines Soviet representations of Pushkin’s legacy in prose, poetry, drama, theater, painting, sculpture, film, the educational system and in the political realm.

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Jonathan Brooks Platt is assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures at the University of Pittsburgh.
"Analyzes the Soviet Union's 1937 Alexander Pushkin jubilee, which commemorated the centennial anniversary of the beloved Russian poet's death. . . . Though there has been a good deal written on the Pushkin jubilee, ‘Greetings, Pushkin!’ is the most comprehensive study of the event to date, bringing together an impressive number of sources within the framework of Bakhtinian literary theory."--Choice

"Greetings, Pushkin! is the first comprehensive analysis of the celebrations of the centenary of Pushkin’s death which was the climax of the cultural turn toward traditional nationalism in the USSR in 1930s. Prodigiously researched and lucidly written, nuanced and captivating this is a truly interdisciplinary study analyzing poetry, prose, drama, theatre, painting, sculpture, and cinema as well as ideology, education and cultural politics. Platt makes use of vast quantities of little known or completely unknown archival materials, which he interprets in a fresh and thorough manner. The impressive amount of work is nothing short of outstanding.”—Evgeny Dobrenko, University of Sheffield

"A mature and serious work that will make a significant impact on the field. With confidence, Platt’s voice negotiates historical contexts, contemporary perceptions of Pushkin, and Pushkin scholarship across almost a century. His mastery of the philosophical and historical discourse enables him to take the everyday stuff of the jubilee year (and years on either side of it) and present it to readers anew.”—Angela Brintlinger, Ohio State University

“Jonathan Brooks Platt has written an important book about Pushkin, public celebrations, and cultural coherence in the era of Stalinism. . . ambitious, fascinating, and packed with smart, challenging readings of texts, images, films, and theories.”—The Russian Review

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Russian and East European Studies Table of Contents
Russia and East Europe/Culture Read a selection from this book

In 1937, the Soviet Union mounted a national celebration commemorating the centenary of poet Alexander Pushkin’s death. Though already a beloved national literary figure, the scale and feverish pitch of the Pushkin festival was unprecedented. Greetings, Pushkin! presents the first in-depth study of this historic event and follows its manifestations in art, literature, popular culture, education, and politics, while also examining its philosophical underpinnings.

Jonathan Brooks Platt looks deeply into the motivations behind the Soviet glorification of a long-dead poet—seemingly at odds with the October revolution’s radical break with the past. He views the Pushkin celebration as a conjunction of two opposing approaches to time and modernity: monumentalism and eschatology. Monumentalism—in pointing to specific moments and individuals as the origin point for cultural narratives, and eschatology—which glorifies ruptures in the chain of art or thought, and the destruction of canons.

In the midst of the Great Purge, the Pushkin jubilee was a critical element in the drive toward a nationalist discourse that attempted to unify and subsume the disparate elements of the Soviet Union, supporting the move to “socialism in one country”.



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