Petrified Utopia: Happiness Soviet Style

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Marina Balina, Evgeniĭ Aleksandrovich Dobrenko
Anthem Press, 2009 - History - 307 pages
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The pursuit of collective happiness was considered a utopian ideal that structured many aspects of Soviet culture, a fact recognized by numerous scholars in various disciplines ranging from cultural and literary studies to sociology and political science. Several groundbreaking studies in the literary and cultural history of the former Soviet Union have changed our understanding of the Soviet past. However, none of these studies has paid attention to an important theme in the cultural history of Soviet society - the pursuit of happiness. Although specialists in Soviet culture repeatedly invoke various manifestations of happiness in works of literature and film in their research, it has yet to be investigated as the subject of a full-fledged independent study.

'Petrified Utopia' redresses this inexplicable omission. This collection of essays introduces the Western reader to the most representative ideas of happiness, and the common practices of its pursuit that shaped Soviet everyday life and cultural discourse from the early post-revolutionary years to the later period of Stalinist and post-Stalinist culture. The collection presents different manifestations of happiness in literature and visual culture - from children's literature to the official and high literary cannon, from architecture to fine arts, from postcards to cookbooks, and from the culture of consumerism to product-paradise in Soviet posters. 'Petrified Utopia' features articles by the leading specialists in the study of Soviet culture from the UK, the US, Germany and Italy, and addresses the perplexing lack of scholarship on this important issue.

 

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Contents

Licensed Happiness
3
1 Ilia Mashkov Soviet Breads 1936 Volgograd
58
5 Viktor Govorkov To Trade Is Honourable
66
9 Aleksandr Zelenskii Mors 1930
72
Soviet Happiness in One Book
79
1 Pelmeni Book about Tbsp and Healthy Food 1952
81
5 Kasha and kisel Book about Iasty anal
91
Its Grand to be An Orphanl Crafting Happy Citizens
99
3 Panel building St Petersburg photo
141
5 Iurii Pimenov Wedding on Tomorrow Street
147
7 German Ogorodnikov cHappy Housewarmingl
156
Remembering Soviet Holidays
161
Architecture
189
Tolstoi Stalin
201
1 1 Alien Kin courtesy Iskusstvo kino archives
226
1 4 A Person is Born courtesy Iskusstvo kino archives
233

The Pleasures of Textile
115
2 The cover for a sofa or a bed Zbenskii zburnal
120
3 Style a la russe Iskusstvo oaevatsia 1928
126
1 Our kitchen isjust as good
134
Easy on the Heart or cStrength ThroughJoy
239
Notes
263
Index
301
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About the author (2009)

Marina Balina is Isaac Funk Professor of Russian Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University. Her published research has focused on contemporary Russian life writing, including autobiography, memoir, and travelogue.

Evgeny Dobrenko is Professor of Russian Studies at Sheffield University. His research interests lie in Soviet and post-Soviet culture, Socialist Realism, Russian and Soviet film, critical theory and Soviet cultural history.

 

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