Telling October: Memory and the Making of the Bolshevik Revolution by Frederick C. CorneyTelling October: Memory and the Making of the Bolshevik Revolution by Frederick C. Corney

Telling October: Memory and the Making of the Bolshevik Revolution

byFrederick C. Corney

Paperback | June 23, 2004

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All revolutionary regimes seek to legitimize themselves through foundation narratives that, told and retold, become constituent parts of the social fabric, erasing or pushing aside alternative histories. Frederick C. Corney draws on a wide range of sources—archives, published works, films—to explore the potent foundation narrative of Russia's Great October Socialist Revolution. He shows that even as it fought a bloody civil war with the forces that sought to displace it, the Bolshevik regime set about creating a new historical genealogy of which the October Revolution was the only possible culmination. This new narrative was forged through a complex process that included the sacralization of October through ritualized celebrations, its institutionalization in museums and professional institutes devoted to its study, and ambitious campaigns to persuade the masses that their lives were an inextricable part of this historical process. By the late 1920s, the Bolshevik regime had transformed its representation of what had occurred in 1917 into a new orthodoxy, the October Revolution. Corney investigates efforts to convey the dramatic essence of 1917 as a Bolshevik story through the increasingly elaborate anniversary celebrations of 1918, 1919, and 1920. He also describes how official commissions during the 1920s sought to institutionalize this new foundation narrative as history and memory. In the book's final chapter, the author assesses the state of the October narrative at its tenth anniversary, paying particular attention to the versions presented in the celebratory films by Eisenstein and Pudovkin. A brief epilogue assesses October's fate in the years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Frederick C. Corney is Assistant Professor of History at The College of William & Mary.
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Title:Telling October: Memory and the Making of the Bolshevik RevolutionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.67 inPublished:June 23, 2004Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801489318

ISBN - 13:9780801489310

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Reviews

Editorial Reviews

"The events of October 1917 did not become 'the October Revolution' until the Bolshevik revolutionaries who came to power undertook a concerted effort to make it so. This is the thesis of Frederick C. Corney's excellent new book, Telling October.... This is an important book and one well worth reading. The institutionalization of the memories of October had to be carefully managed, as Corney shows. His book is an excellent antidote to both Soviet and Western accounts which simply focus on the Military Revolutionary Committee, as if the Bolshevik party make the October Revolution in ten days. Rather, as the reader will find out, it was the memories of the October Revolution that had to be carefully crafted." - The Russian Review