No, not the Kurosawa movie (which I highly recommend; I mentioned it briefly here); I’m just giving a brief description of two books I finally ordered after wanting them for ages, that happened to arrive together in today’s mail: Mass Culture in Soviet Russia: Tales, Poems, Songs, Movies, Plays, and Folklore, 1917-1953, edited by James Von Geldern and Richard Stites, and Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts 1905-1940, edited by Catriona Kelly. The first is the companion volume to Entertaining Tsarist Russia: Tales, Songs, Plays, Movies, Jokes, Ads, and Images from Russian Urban Life 1779-1917, which I discussed here, and it looks just as wonderful; the second overlaps in temporal coverage but not otherwise, because it is an anthology of snippets of Russian modernism, a purely high-culture phenomenon. In fact, it’s just the kind of book I’d been idly thinking of putting together myself someday, with a mix of the famous (Bely, Blok, Nabokov) and the forgotten (Shershenevich, Yutkevich, Poplavsky); being fundamentally lazy, I’m glad Ms. Kelly did it for me. I’m sure I’ll be posting about both as I make my way through them, which I intend to do at night after my wife has fallen asleep to my reading (which is currently The Master and Margarita—I’m reading it to her in English and reading along in Russian on my own, and I’m sure I’ll be posting about that as well).


  1. your selection doesn’t cover the later Soviet period – 1953 to 1991. Is that because you are not interested or because you remember it ‘live’?
    If you are interested I can recommend an active blog by Zina Korzina http://zina-korzina.livejournal.com/ with articles on Soviet mass culture, literature and art.

  2. Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of books on the later Soviet period, which I’m eager to get to. But one step at a time—you can’t hurry history, comrade!

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