Mass Culture in Soviet Russia

Tales, Poems, Songs, Movies, Plays, and Folklore, 1917-1953

Edited by James von Geldern and Richard Stites


A unique anthology of Soviet Russian popular culture under Leninand Stalin.

This anthology offers a rich array of documents, short fiction,poems, songs, plays, movie scripts, comic routines, and folklore toprovide a close look at the mass culture that was consumed bymillions in Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1953. Both state-sponsoredcultural forms and the unofficial culture that flourished beneath thesurface are represented. The focus is on the entertainment genresthat both shaped and reflected the social, political, and personalvalues of the regime and the masses. The period covered encompassesthe Russian Revolution and Civil War, the mixed economy and cultureof the 1920 s, the tightly controlled Stalinist 1930s, the looseratmosphere of the Great Patriotic War, and the postwar era endingwith the death of Stalin. Much of the material appears here inEnglish for the first time.

A companion 45-minute audio tape features contemporaneousperformances of fifteen popular songs of the time, with suchfavorites as "Bublichki," "The Blue Kerchief," and "Katyusha."Russian texts of the songs are included in the book.

James von Geldern is Associate Professor of German and Russian atMacalester College and author of Bolshevik Festivals,1917-1920.

Richard Stites is Professor of History at Georgetown Universityand author of Revolutionary Dreams: Utopian Vision and SocialExperiment in the Russian Revolution and Russian PopularCulture: Entertainment and Society since 1900.

November 1995

624 pages, 6 5/8 x 9 1/4, 28 b&w photos, 50 line illus., intro.,selected bibl., LC94-47995

cloth 0-253-32893-4 $49.95L

paper 0-253-20969-2 $24.95s

cassette 0-253-32911-6 $9.95s


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