Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine
In Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge, Mayhill C. Fowler tells the story of the rise and fall of a group of men who created culture both Soviet and Ukrainian. This collective biography showcases new aspects of the politics of cultural production in the Soviet Union by focusing on theater and on the multi-ethnic borderlands. Unlike their contemporaries in Moscow or Leningrad, these artists from the regions have been all but forgotten despite the quality of their art. Beau Monde restores the periphery to the center of Soviet culture. Sources in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Yiddish highlight the important multi-ethnic context and the challenges inherent in constructing Ukrainian culture in a place of Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, and Jews. Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge traces the growing overlap between the arts and the state in the early Soviet years, and explains the intertwining of politics and culture in the region today.
- World Rights
- Page Count: 304 pages
- Dimensions: 6.3in x 0.9in x 9.3in
‘This book offers a necessary reappraisal of the formative Soviet decades in Ukraine and helps us understand better how Soviet culture developed across the Soviet Union… It offers a new and original angle to studying Soviet nationalities policy.’
European History Quarterly, vol 47:04:2017
"This engaging book is a model of interdisciplinary work, undoubtedly facilitated by Fowler’s background in theatre… Her study challenges established historians who ignore cultural production, and it deserves to be read by scholars of diverse disciplines. "
Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 96, no. 3, July 2018
"[Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge] indeed offers an outstanding account of un-making the late imperial South East and the subsequent development of early Soviet culture in the newly created Soviet Ukraine…[it] presents an elaborate theoretical and contextual account which can help to locate the artists and their art in a specific time and a specific locality. It should be interesting for both academic and non-academic readers."
Baltic Worlds 2-3 2018
"Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge is a wonderful piece of work; it is beautifully written, in a witty, textured, and lively prose. Mayhill C. Fowler has a visceral – as well as an intellectual and theoretical – understanding of theatre and of audience that shows on every page of the manuscript."
Irena Makaryk, Department of English, University of Ottawa
Mayhill C. Fowler is an assistant professor of history at Stetson University.
Table of contents
List of Illustrations
Note to the Reader on Transliteration
Introduction: The Beau Monde on the Borderlands
Chapter 1: The Russian Imperial Southwest: Theater in the Age of Modernism and Pogroms
Chapter 2: The Literary Fair: Mikhail Bulgakov and Mykola Kulish
Chapter 3: Comedy Soviet and Ukrainian?: Il'f-Petrov and Ostap Vyshnia
Chapter 4: The Officical Artist: Solomon Mikhoels and Les' Kurbas
Chapter 5: The Arts Official: Andrii Khvylia, Vsevolod Balyts'kyi, and the Kremlin
Chapter 6: Soviet Beau Monde: The Gulag and Kremlin Cabaret
PrizesIvan Franko International Prize in Ukrainian Studies - Short-listed in 2020
Subjects and Courses