The Recurrence of Fate

The Recurrence of Fate

Theatre and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia

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293 pp, 25 photos
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“Presenting Russian culture as a self-theatricalizing social phenomenon in which theatre art is one of several components, Spencer Golub elaborates his solidly grounded concept with a wealth of telling insights, anecdotes, and literary and historical references. This is meticulous and wide-ranging scholarship presented with great verve. Golub's prose can make you chuckle and in the very next paragraph he'll take your breath away with the startling power of his insight.”—Felicia Londré

“One of the most stimulating, original studies of early Soviet culture to appear in years. Spencer Golub's supple mind draws together a skein of threads from literature, art, theatre, and politics and weaves them into a dense tapestry of allusion, mutual influence, and synaesthesia. One is constantly surprised and delighted by the connections he uncovers and intellectually challenged by the interpretations he offers. It makes for an exhilarating read.”—Laurence Senelick

How, why, and according to whose definitions and requirements does a culture self-consciously create memory and project its fate? In this remarkable book—the first in English to treat Russian history as theatre and cultural performance—Spencer Golub reveals the performative nature of Russian history in the twentieth century and the romantic imprisonment/self-imprisonment of the creative intelligentsia within this scenario.

Table of contents: 

1 - Arrivals and Departures

2 - Artists and Models

3 - Revolutionizing Galatea

4 - The Masking Machine

5 - The Sleeping Idol

6 - The Procrustean Bed

7 - The Hamlet Gulag