Political Economy of Socialist Realism

Evgeny Dobrenko (Author) Jesse M. Savage (Translator)

Product Details

Yale University Press
Publish Date
October 16, 2007
6.33 X 1.2 X 9.53 inches | 1.62 pounds
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About the Author

Evgeny Dobrenko is Professor and Head of Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies at the University of Sheffield. His most recent publications include A History of Russian Literary Theory and Criticism: The Soviet Age and Beyond (co-edited with Galin Tihanov, 2011), The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Russian Literature (co-edited with Marina Balina, Cambridge, 2011) and Noncanonical Classic: Dmitry Aleksandrovich Prigov (co-edited with Ilya Kukulin, Mark Lipovetsky and Maria Mayofis, 2010).


"Dobrenko is a master interpreter of Socialist Realism. He explores the functionality of the Leninist-Stalinist cultural project with verve and imagination. Those who study Soviet art, literature, film, photography, history, and much else will be hard put to find a better guide. The book is a pleasure to read."--Jeffrey Brooks, author of Thank You, Comrade Stalin! Soviet Public Culture from Revolution to Cold War
--Jeffrey Brooks

"Unsurpassed in its grasp of Stalinism and Stalinist culture, Dobrenko's new book makes the convincing theoretical move of turning the categories of Stalinist thought against Stalinist cultural production. Rigorous in interpretation and research, challenging and persuasive."--William Mills Todd III, Harvard University

--William Mills Todd III

"This book by an internationally celebrated scholar of Soviet culture offers a uniquely rich and convincing account of how Socialist Realism was the pre-determining force in Stalinist discourse, shaping biological sciences and 'scientific Communism' as well as glossy magazines, official histories, narrative films, public exhibitions, and advertising. The eccentricities and paradoxes of a country where, as Dobrenko puts it, there was 'a single need. The need to provide the spectacle of socialism, ' are everywhere on view. This fascinating study will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in Russian culture from the 1930s onwards."--Catriona Kelly, University of Oxford

--Catriona Kelly

"Evgeny Dobrenko has written the most sweeping, theoretically-informed book to-date on Socialist Realism and its centrality to the Stalinist project. He presents a chilling analysis of Socialist Realism as a discourse of repression. From photojournalism, to cinema, to biology, to advertising and Stalin's speeches, Dobrenko shows how Socialist Realism produced socialism by aestheticizing and 'de-realizing' life. I have never seen a more convincing indictment of art's centrality in Soviet terror. "--Eric Naiman, University of California, Berkeley

--Eric Naiman