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Authors: Gleissner, Philip
Advisors: Oushakine, Serguei A.
Contributors: Slavic Languages and Literatures Department
Keywords: digital humanities
Eastern European literatures
late socialism
periodical studies
Russiam emigration
Soviet culture
Subjects: Slavic literature
Slavic studies
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Through Thick and Thin: The Social Life of Journals under Late Socialism explores the role of literary journals in Soviet and Eastern European cultures between the mid-1950s and the mid-1980s. It analyzes them as a unique kind of media that are at the same time literary texts, visual objects, and social institutions. This dissertation argues that the conditions of late socialism were necessary for these journals to fully develop their role in the organization of literature – both on the side of its production and its reception. It shows how the circulation of periodicals determined boundaries within a culture, created fragmented communities, and differentiated the aesthetic repertoire of a cultural field. In terms of geographical space, this study traces how the circulation of periodicals facilitated the emergence of literature as a polycentric landscape that can create and disrupt cultural continuums. Studying both the individual journal as well as the network of publications of the time, this dissertation engages with a variety of methodologies, among them book history, sociology of literature, kinship theory, and digital humanities. The first chapter looks at the historical origins of the late socialist literary journal. It conceptualizes the genres of “thick,” “thin,” and avant-garde periodicals between the two poles of the visual and the textual literary journal. Based on the example of the journal Iunost’, it analyzes how the dominance of the textual journal is renegotiated and reconciled with the visual journal in the mid-1950s. The second chapter explores the organization of cultural producers. By analyzing archival documents and applying digital tools to bibliographical metadata, it shows how intellectual networks developed around a number of journals and how these networks fueled the ideological and aesthetic disputes of the time. The third chapter is concerned with the ways in which periodicals organized the experience of national culture by mediating transnational networks of literary exchange between the East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and the Soviet Union. The fourth chapter discusses the persistence of the late socialist journal in the culture of the Russian emigration in 1980s Paris, who structurally recreated the relationship between official media and cultural subversion that they had encountered under socialism.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Slavic Languages and Literatures

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