"The historicity of traumatic experience: routine, revolution, representation," an article by Ilya Kalinin, examines various cultural models for the reception of a particularly traumatic historical event — the Russian revolution. The range of post-traumatic reactions has traditionally been arranged between two poles. At one end, there is the gradual working-through of trauma, which incorporates the event that caused the trauma into the subject's identity and mitigates its painful effect. At the other end is the refusal to recognize trauma. However, the relation­ship of the revolutionary subject (and the poetic subject of the Russian avantgarde) to this trauma lies beyond the above-mentioned dichotomy. This relationship has more of a projective than a reactive character. Trauma appears as a horizon toward which the revolutionary subject strives, while also striving toward a con­stant shift of identity and rejecting the routinized repetition of customary social practices. The literary theory of early Russian Formalism offers a comprehensive model for the determination of trauma as a necessary element of subjectivization, which restores the lost acuteness of a person's experience of the world.

The section continues with an article by Kevin M.F. Platt, "No pain — no brain: Trauma and discipline in Russian schools." While Kalinin offers us the beginning stages of the formation of the revolutionary subject at the dawn of the Soviet order, Platt's article presents the peculiar results of its development, which continue to flourish in the post-Soviet years as well. Analyzing the contemporary school practice of "trials-of-Stalin lessons," Platt concludes that these "trials" should actually be called "anti-trials": rather than lead to any methodical judgments, on the contrary, they teach pupils that Stalinism is an excessively complicated phenomenon, one which should not be talked about too much and which lies beyond the scope of reflection. With this kind of approach, the history of Russia appears as a magical space of pure affect: one should relate to one's own historical memory only with pious trepidation, and anyone who tries to pronounce specific judgments upon it should be subject to disciplinary measures.

In their conversation on "The cinema as trauma, film as monument, meaning as affect," Olga Kirillova and Mikhail Yampolsky analyze the topic of traumatic experience in the context of film theory. The semiotic and ontological dimensions of trauma in cinema are connected with its multiple symbolizations and re- actualizations, which have a therapeutic effect. According to Yampolsky, the film as a diachronic monument has at various stages erased the traces of time from its surface (early Soviet film, Eisenstein), or created a cult of memory (late Soviet film, Tarkovsky). At the same time, the film cut serves as a deposit of traces of memory and a place where meaning is produced.



Compiled by Jonathan Brooks Platt


Jonathan Brooks Platt's "Zoya Kosmodemianskaya between Sacrifice and Ex­termination" examines the contradictory attitudes to gender and violence in the Kosmodemianskaya story as a form of chronotopic hybridity. In the earliest war­time reactions to the story, the young partisan appears alternatively as a feminine victim and an androgynous warrior, a maiden sacrifice and an ecstatic militant. This hybridity does not survive after the war, when Kosmodemianskaya's image is increasingly feminized. However, certain contemporary engagements with the partisan's legacy suggest the lingering influence of Stalinist hybridity in the post- Soviet imaginary.

The section continues with an article by Andrei Shcherbenok, "Psyche without psychology: 'Zoya,' ideology and Stalinist film-space." Zoya Kosmodemianskaya has become the most popular Stalinist war hero in post-Stalinist and post-Soviet Russia due to the malleability of her image: people with quite diverse ideological predispositions can find in her something to their liking. However, the original Stalinist Zoya, despite her heterogeneous genealogy in Russian and world culture, fit into a quite distinct ideological matrix. This article seeks to describe this matrix through an analysis of Leo Arnshtam's 1944 film "Zoya" in the context of Stalinist cinema. The article argues that the specificity of Stalinist ideology lies in the relationship between ideology and the subject, hence the peculiarity of subject- positioning mechanisms in Stalinist cinema in general and in "Zoya" in particular. Classic Hollywood (and post-Stalinist Soviet) cinema relied on the spectator's identification with characters and immersion in the diegetic world; Stalinist cinema, meanwhile, retained certain features of the avant-garde, and interpellated spectators in ideology through the alignment of their gaze with the gaze of characters fixed on the extra-diegetic space occupied by the transcendent yet immanent ideological object.

Adrienne M. Harris's "Stalinist Objectives and Invented Suitors: The Role of Romance in World War II Hero Narratives" analyzes patterns in literary works about Heroes of the Soviet Union Liza Chaikina and Zoya Kosmodemianskaya, asking why Soviet authors incorporated fictional suitors into works about these war martyrs. After briefly discussing how these works depart from the heroic culture of the 1930s, this article discusses how, though the invention of suitors, authors accomplished what anthropologist Sharon MacDonald posits is a typical societal response to the advent of women soldiers: cultural treatments of these soldiers emphasize traditional femininity. This article argues that invented ro­mantic interests help shape these heroes into more traditionally feminine women, a process necessary for their canonization as quasi-Soviet saints for post-war youth, and a way of addressing potential problems in their biographies. Through the invention of suitors, authors emphasized the maternal potential of these war martyrs and by doing so, they supported pro-natalist policies that would be pro­moted in the media beginning in 1944.




Aleksei Vdovin's "The Economics of Ivan Goncharov's Publishing (The Author and the Navy Administration)" examines the publication practice of Ivan Gon- charov, proceeding from newly discovered archival documents. After his return from the sea-journey aboard the Pallas frigate, the author of Oblomov quickly moved up the career ladder thanks to his connections to higher-ups in the Navy administration and to Grand Duke Konstantin Nikolaevich. At this time, in the early 1860s, Goncharov decided to make use of the Navy's official typography to republish his own works. Vdovin shows how this strategy, against the background of other methods widespread at the time, enabled Goncharov to guarantee himself a stable income and protect himself from risks that were otherwise inevitable for contemporary Russian writers who entered into contracts with booksellers.

"Literature for the People: Protectionism versus Speculation (Towards the History of Nekrasov's Little Red Books)" by Mikhail Makeev questions the per­sistent notion that there was no room for serious, "educational" publications in the popular literature market of mid-19th-century Russia, and that this market was dominated by inferior literary products produced by publisher-profiteers. Makeev shows that at this time there were protectionist institutions such as the Petersburg Committee on Literacy, which were prepared to promote and finance non-profiteering publications for the people, and to support "engaged" publishers of popular booklets and magazines. Such engaged educational publications in­cluded N.A. Nekrasov's "little red book" project; as the article demonstrates, Nekrasov relied on distribution channels that were opened up thanks to the work of the Committee on Literacy, rather than on profiteers and hawkers. Makeev's analysis of the poet's collaboration with the "popular" publisher and litterateur A.F. Pogossky shows how protectionist mechanisms functioned in the popular literature market.




An article by Irina Shevelenko, "The Suzdal icon-daubers, the Novgorod quattrocentro, and the Russian avant-garde" investigates the reevaluation of the legacy of Russian icon-painting in the early 20th century, from its perception as an aesthetically insignificant branch of handicrafts to its being proclaimed as the foundation of the "high" artistic tradition in Russia. Shevelenko pays particular attention to the role played by the rethinking of icon-painting's cultural status in the formation of an aesthetic program and the self-consciousness of avant-garde art movements in Russia. Having declared themselves inheritors of the "national tradition" and the first to turn away from the path of Western-oriented art, they created the framework for a cultural constructivism that determined the place of the icon as a symbol of national identity in 20th-century Russia.




The second half of "Russian Poetry in 1913" by Oleg Lekmanov addresses the ways in which contemporary modernity was reflected in Russian poetry of 1913. The themes of poems written by poets of this period include war, the praise and condemnation of technological progress, the city and countryside, and erotica.

Alexander Zholkovsky's "Digital high" is a breezy analysis of a poster for a major digital chain store in Moscow. The sexy design is shown to rely on arche­typal patterns underlying classical and modernist paintings, especially variations on the "Venus with a mirror" and "Leda and the swan" motifs, as well as erotic and narcissistic poems from Catullus to Eduard Limonov. By subtly mixing male and female erotic fantasies and buttressing elementary sex appeal with highbrow artis­tic references the poster maximizes the targeted audience.




Today it's hard to tell the difference between a political and an artistic action, a picket from a performance, a banner from a poetic utterance in the spirit of Dada or May '68, a demonstration from a "monstration." The reverse is also true — art, and poetry in particular, are getting noticeably politicized (which in the latter case would have been hard to believe even just a decade ago). The political and the aesthetic are permeating each other. The borders are blurring. But who is the subject of these processes? How is s/he constructed? To whom are this subject's utterances addressed? This section is built around these questions.

It opens with an article by Kirill Korchagin (NLO/RAS Russian Language Institute), "'The mask is torn off along with the skin': ways of constructing the subject in political poetry of the 2010s," in which Korchagin uses texts by Kirill Medvedev, Stanislav Lvovsky, Anton Ochirov and Eduard Limonov to examine various models for politicizing the subject, while interpreting the political in contemporary poetic practice from the point of view of Jacques Ranciere's politi­cal theory.

In her article "Practices of subjectivization," Evgeniia Suslova's ruminations on possible points of assemblage or coupling of the poetic and the political are founded, on the one hand, on extremely personal, existential experience, and on the other hand, on the methodological triangle "thought-speech-action," outside of which any attempt at such a coupling is doomed — according to Suslova — to failure.

In "'A modern Russian comes out and kinda hints': toward a pragmatics of artis­tic expression," Pavel Arsenev (University of Lausanne) turns to linguistic models in order to clarify the mechanisms of subjectivization: the performative "gestures" of Valery Nugatov, Roman Osminkin and Evgeniia Suslova are discussed in the categories of pragmatics, which allow for an explication of the socially conditioned concrete speech situation in which these gestures are produced.

As a counterpoint, the section also includes an article by Pavel Mitenko (Moscow), "How to act where everyone can see? (Moscow actionism and commu­nity politics)," which addresses the history of Moscow actionism (from the ETI group to Voina and Pussy Riot), and analyzes this phenomenon in the context of "community politics" — grassroots, non-partisan, self-organized initiatives, which question the traditional division of politics and art.




The three dialogues between Aleksandr Chantsev (Moscow) and translators of contemporary Russian literature presented in this section offer a new perspective on the Russian literary and, more broadly, cultural situation. More precisely, they offer three new perspectives, and quite unexpected ones: Jukka Mallinen (Finland), Massimo Maurizzio (Italy) and Mirjana Petrovic (Serbia) all belong to different generations and national traditions, they have different professional backgrounds and became involved with the Russian language through different routes. At the same time, for all of them translation is less a profession than a calling, all three are experienced at navigating the post-Soviet literary field, and all of them translate writers not known for being particularly simple or widely-known. This makes these translators' "view from the side" all the more fascinating, as this view reveals unexpected facets in ostensibly well-known things and a character­istic individual accent in commonplaces, while discovering in particular historical circumstances, on the contrary, the mark of a shared fate. A comparable effect of "back translation" is also partly present in the poetry of Hendrik Jackson (Berlin), which closes this section. Jackson's texts are not only suffused with Rus­sian realia and references to Russian literature, both classical (Gogol, Lermontov, Goncharov) and more recent (Khlebnikov, Shalamov); they also address recent political events, placing them at the crossroads of global telecommunications, inter-linguistic games and travesties. Symptomatically, the figures of Bakunin and Kropotkin — whose legacy is so important to European protest movements — appear in one text inspired by the recent Novosibirsk "monstrations."




An article from Sergei Oroby (Blagoveshchensky State Pedagogical University), "Orpheus' prose: the phenomenon of Alexander Goldstein," investigates the prin­ciples of the literary prose of essayist and prose writer Alexander Goldstein (1957—2006). Goldstein was born in Tallin, lived in Baku and emigrated to Israel in 1990. In 1997 he was simultaneously awarded two prizes for his first book of essays, Taking leave of Narcissus — the Minor Booker and the Antibooker (an unprecedented case in modern Russian literature). He subsequently published Aspects of spiritual marriage (2001) and the novel Remember Famagust (2004). He was posthumously awarded the Andrey Bely prize in 2006 for the novel Calm fields; the award committee's statement declared that this was prose that erased "the boundaries between the discourses of invention, reading, writing, life and death."