Political Economy of Socialist Realism

Hardcover | October 16, 2007

byEvgeny DobrenkoTranslated byJesse M. Savage

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For decades Stalinist literature, film, and art was almost exclusively deemed political propaganda imposed from on high, devoid of any aesthetic significance. In this book, Evgeny Dobrenko suggests an entirely new view: socialism did not produce Socialist Realism to “prettify reality”; rather, Socialist Realism itself produced socialism by elevating socialism to reality status, giving it material form. Without art, socialism could not have materialized.

 

Bringing together the Soviet historical experience and Stalin-era art—novels, films, poems, songs, painting, photography, architecture, and advertising—Dobrenko examines Stalinism’s representational strategies and demonstrates how real socialism was begotten of Socialist Realism. Socialist Realism, he concludes, was Stalinism’s most  effective sociopolitical institution. 

 

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For decades Stalinist literature, film, and art was almost exclusively deemed political propaganda imposed from on high, devoid of any aesthetic significance. In this book, Evgeny Dobrenko suggests an entirely new view: socialism did not produce Socialist Realism to “prettify reality”; rather, Socialist Realism itself produced socialis...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:408 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 1.18 inPublished:October 16, 2007Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300122802

ISBN - 13:9780300122800

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“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