Comintern Aesthetics

Edited by Amelia M. Glaser and Steven S. Lee

© 2019

Founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1919 to instigate a world revolution, the Comintern advanced not just the proletarian struggle but also a wide variety of radical causes, including those against imperialism and racism in settings as varied as Ireland, India, the United States, and China. Notoriously, and from the organization’s outset, these causes grew ever more subservient to Soviet state interest and Stalinist centralization. Comintern Aesthetics shows how the cultural and political networks emerging from the Comintern have continued, even after its demise in 1943. Tracking these networks through a multiplicity of artistic forms geared towards advancing a common, liberated humanity, this volume captures the failure of a Soviet-centered world revolution, but also its enduring allure in the present.

The sixteen chapters in this edited volume examine cultural and revolutionary circuits that once connected Moscow to China, Southeast Asia, India, the Near East, Eastern Europe, Germany, Spain, and the Americas. The Soviet Union of the interwar years provided a template for the convergence of party politics and cultural history, but the volume traces how this template was adapted and reworked around the world. By emphasizing the shared, Soviet routes of these far-flung circuits, Comintern Aesthetics recaptures a long-lost moment in which cultures could not only transform perception, but also highlight alternatives to capitalism, namely, an anti-colonial world imaginary foregrounding race, class, and gender equality.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 656 pages
  • Illustrations: 100
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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SKU# SP005400

  • AVAILABLE MAR 2020

    From: $71.25

    Regular Price: $95.00

    ISBN 9781487504656
  • AVAILABLE AUG 2019

    From: $71.25

    Regular Price: $95.00

Quick Overview

Comintern Aesthetics shows how the cultural and political networks emerging from the Comintern have continued, even after its demise in 1943.

Comintern Aesthetics

Edited by Amelia M. Glaser and Steven S. Lee

© 2019

Founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1919 to instigate a world revolution, the Comintern advanced not just the proletarian struggle but also a wide variety of radical causes, including those against imperialism and racism in settings as varied as Ireland, India, the United States, and China. Notoriously, and from the organization’s outset, these causes grew ever more subservient to Soviet state interest and Stalinist centralization. Comintern Aesthetics shows how the cultural and political networks emerging from the Comintern have continued, even after its demise in 1943. Tracking these networks through a multiplicity of artistic forms geared towards advancing a common, liberated humanity, this volume captures the failure of a Soviet-centered world revolution, but also its enduring allure in the present.

The sixteen chapters in this edited volume examine cultural and revolutionary circuits that once connected Moscow to China, Southeast Asia, India, the Near East, Eastern Europe, Germany, Spain, and the Americas. The Soviet Union of the interwar years provided a template for the convergence of party politics and cultural history, but the volume traces how this template was adapted and reworked around the world. By emphasizing the shared, Soviet routes of these far-flung circuits, Comintern Aesthetics recaptures a long-lost moment in which cultures could not only transform perception, but also highlight alternatives to capitalism, namely, an anti-colonial world imaginary foregrounding race, class, and gender equality.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 656 pages
  • Illustrations: 100
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    "Comintern Aesthetics is a brilliant collection that will immediately become a definitive work on the subject. The book is the first ever global study of Comintern aesthetics and is full of critical surprises, insights, and innovations. The geographic scope of the book, from Southeast Asia to Central Europe, is truly dazzling."


    Bill Mullen, Department of English, Purdue University

    "Important and timely, Comintern Aesthetics draws attention to global aesthetic connections and sensibilities inspired and fostered by the Communist utopia, with its ideas of liberation, decolonization, and self-government. This volume will generate a long overdue discussion of the historical legacy of Communism that is not overdetermined by the idioms and assumptions of the Cold War."


    Serguei Alex Oushakine, Department of Anthropology and Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University
  • Author Information

    Amelia M. Glaser is Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at the University of California, San Diego.


    Steven S. Lee is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • Table of contents

    List of Illustrations

    Chronology: Comintern Aesthetics – Between Politics and Culture
    Dominick Lawton

    Editors’ Note

    Introduction: Comintern Aesthetics – Space, Form, History
    Steven S. Lee

    Part One. Space: Geopoetics, Networks, Translation

    1 World Literature as World Revolution: Velimir Khlebnikov’s Zangezi and the Utopian Geopoetics of the Russian Avant-Garde
    Harsha Ram

    2 Berlin–Moscow–Shanghai: Translating Revolution across Cultures in the Aftermath of the 1927 Shanghai Debacle
    Katerina Clark

    3 India–England–Russia: The Comintern Translated
    Snehal Shingavi

    4 Seeing the World Anew: Soviet Cinema and the Reorganization of 1930s Spanish Film Culture
    Enrique Fibla-Gutiérrez and Masha Salazkina

    5 The Panorama and the Pilgrimage: Brazilian Modernism, the Masses, and the Soviet Union in the 1930s
    Sarah Ann Wells

    6 Polycentric Cosmopolitans: Writing World Literature in Indonesia and Vietnam, 1920s to 1950s and Beyond
    Tony Day

    Part Two. Form: Beyond Realism-versus-Modernism and Art-versus-Propaganda

    7 Culture One and a Half
    Nariman Skakov

    8 Street Theatre and Subject Formation in Wartime China: Origins of a New Public Art
    Xiaobing Tang

    9 In the Shadow of the Inquisition: The Spanish Civil War in Yiddish Poetry
    Amelia M. Glaser

    10 "Beaten, but Unbeatable": On Langston Hughes’s Black Leninism
    Jonathan Flatley

    11 A Comintern Aesthetics of Anti-racism in the Animated Short Film Blek end uait
    Christina Kiaer

    Part Three. History: Beyond the Interwar Years – Afterlives of Comintern Aesthetics

    12 The Revolutionary Romanticism of Alice Childress’s "Conversations from Life"
    Kate Baldwin

    13 When Comintern and Cominform Aesthetics Meet: Socialist Realism in Eastern Europe, 1956 and Beyond
    Evgeny Dobrenko

    14 Visions of the Future: Soviet Art, Architecture, and Film during and after the Comintern Years
    Vladimir Paperny and Marina Khrustaleva

    15 Comintern Media Experiments, Leftist Exile, and World Literature from East Berlin
    Katie Trumpener

    16 Workers of the World, Unite!
    Bo Zheng

    Coda
    Steven S. Lee and Amelia M. Glaser

    Contributors
    Index