Review of Stalin’s Ghosts
New book Stalin’s Ghosts: Gothic Themes in Early Soviet Literature by Muireann Maguire is reviewed on languagehat.com. Click here for the review.
Stalin’s Ghosts examines the impact of the Gothic-fantastic on Russian literature in the period 1920-1940. It shows how early Soviet-era authors, from well-known names including Fedor Gladkov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Platonov and Evgenii Zamiatin, to niche figures such as Sigizmund Krzhizhanovskii and Aleksandr Beliaev, exploited traditional archetypes of this genre: the haunted castle, the deformed body, vampires, villains, madness and unnatural death. Complementing recent studies of Soviet culture by Eric Naiman and Lilya Kaganovsky, this book argues that Gothic-fantastic tropes functioned variously as a response to the traumas produced by revolution and civil war, as a vehicle for propaganda, and as a subtle mode of unwriting the cultural monolith of Socialist Realism.
Muireann Maguire is Career Development Fellow in Russian Literature and Culture at Wadham College, Oxford. Her research interests include Gothic aspects of Soviet literature, Russian émigré prose, and the representation of science and scientists in Russian literary and cinematic culture since 1850. Red Spectres, her translated selection of twentieth-century Russian Gothic tales, was published in 2012.