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Authors: Balloni, Massimo
Advisors: Vinitsky, Ilya
Contributors: Slavic Languages and Literatures Department
Keywords: collective authorship
collective creativity
kollektivnoe tvorchestvo
Socialist Realism
Soviet novel
Subjects: Slavic literature
Russian history
Slavic studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: The goal of this dissertation is to consider the collective literary practices of the first fifteen years of the Soviet Union in order to suggest a shift in the proletariat from object to author of its own narrative discourse and identify the aesthetic strategies that made such a transition possible. In this sense, collective creativity became one of the most debated devices of its time. By looking at the novel as a large case study, I show how this literary genre had to be rethought to depict the new social order and accommodate the proletariat as the new protagonist in the historical process. As an overarching metaphor, I deploy a variation of the old dualism between the universal and the particular understood more technically, however, as reproducibility vs specificity. To lay bare this shift in the narrative discourse of the proletariat, I investigate the process by which, in the novel, the chaotic crowds of the Revolutionary years gained proletarian consciousness and became masses charged with building Communism. I trace the trajectory that leads from the collapse of the biography of the Civil War hero to History of Factories and Plants, a series of volumes in which the divide between the professional writer and the proletarian worker has been erased, the biography of the collective is narrated, and a Soviet epos is created. While, on the narrative level, war and the machine functioned as the main organizing principles of the crowd in the first decade following the Revolution, literary practice itself became the ultimate organizer of the collective in the early 1930s. Far from being antithetical to the cult of personality prominent in the Stalinist years, it is precisely these collective endeavors that, I claim, laid the groundwork for the poetics of Socialist Realism and the advent of the Soviet Hero.
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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