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Comintern Aesthetics

Comintern Aesthetics

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Founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1919 to instigate a world revolution, the Comintern sought to advance not only the proletarian struggle but also a wide variety of radical causes, including fighting 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 persisted, even after the Comintern's demise in 1943. Tracing these networks through a multiplicity of artistic forms geared towards advancing a common, liberated humanity, this volume captures both the failure and the enduring allure of a Soviet-centred world revolution. 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.

Comintern Aesthetics

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-Gutierrez 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

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