Catalogue

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Manufacturing truth : the documentary moment in early Soviet culture /
Elizabeth Astrid Papazian.
imprint
DeKalb : Northern Illinois University Press, 2009.
description
xiii, 282 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
087580389X (clothbound : alk. paper), 9780875803890 (clothbound : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
DeKalb : Northern Illinois University Press, 2009.
isbn
087580389X (clothbound : alk. paper)
9780875803890 (clothbound : alk. paper)
contents note
Authors as engineers : the documentary moment -- Operative mode : Sergei Tretiakov's art of fact -- Technological mode : Dziga Vertov and kino-communication -- Realist mode : Gorky, the truth, and the collective -- Ironic mode : Mikhail Zoshchenko's reconstruction of the reader -- A new documentary moment?
catalogue key
6679344
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [257]-270) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2009-04-01:
Papazian (Univ. of Maryland) argues that between 1921 and 1934 Soviet aesthetics were defined by documentary approaches to art. Taking historical data and not fiction as their material, artists (in the broadest sense) acted as integral players in the construction of a new Soviet state. In defining this tendency, Papazian stresses the important paradox on which this genre was founded: its promise of objectivity, on the one hand, and the often-transparent means of its creation, on the other. Each of the four chapters focuses on a different such documentarian, beginning with writer Sergei Tretiakov and the operative mode of aesthetics. Papazian moves on to the cinematic aesthetics of Dziga Vertov, explicating the technological mode. In the last two chapters she looks at Maksim Gorky and Mikhail Zoshchenko, representatives of the realist and ironic modes, respectively. The chapter on Tretiakov is of particular interest, offering a well-rounded treatment of an individual often left out of discussions of the 1920s. In her conclusion, Papazian suggests that contemporary trends such as blogging, reality television, and cell-phone cameras have ushered in a new documentary moment, albeit a markedly less utopian one, in which the abundant transmission of information has again led to the democratization of the visual. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. A. J. DeBlasio University of Pittsburgh
Reviews
Review Quotes
"Very stimulating … well-written, deeply researched, theoretically sophisticated and evincing tremendous knowledge of both its topic and of scholarly literature written across eight decades in several different national contexts."-John MacKay, Yale University "Well-written, well-argued, and well-researched ... as engaging as it is informative."-Denise J. Youngblood, University of Vermont "Wonderfully stimulating. Papazian demonstrates that the idea of documenting the present with an eye on both the future and the past would become inherently subversive in a political order whose chiefs insisted on continually rewriting history."-Jeffrey Brooks, Johns Hopkins University
“Very stimulating & well-written, deeply researched, theoretically sophisticated and evincing tremendous knowledge of both its topic and of scholarly literature written across eight decades in several different national contexts.”-John MacKay, Yale University “Well-written, well-argued, and well-researched ... as engaging as it is informative.”-Denise J. Youngblood, University of Vermont “Wonderfully stimulating. Papazian demonstrates that the idea of documenting the present with an eye on both the future and the past would become inherently subversive in a political order whose chiefs insisted on continually rewriting history.”-Jeffrey Brooks, Johns Hopkins University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 2009
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This work offers an examination of the relationship between early Soviet documentary and the areas of journalism, politics, and art in early Soviet culture.
Main Description
Focusing on the years 1921-1934, Manufacturing Truth explores the great upsurge in documentary methods and approaches in the arts and reveals how the documentary impulse influenced the development of Stalinist culture. Documentary approaches in literature and film became a central means for redefining the role of the artist, of art itself, and of the institution of art in the new post-revolutionary Soviet society.
Main Description
The Bolshevik Revolution uprooted not only the social and political systems of the Russian Empire, but existing artistic institutions and traditions as well. Following the revolution, Soviet artists working in all different media had to respond to the urgent problem of how to make art relevant, even essential, to the revolutionary project undertaken by the Bolshevik Party. Focusing on the years 1921–1934, Manufacturing Truth explores the great upsurge in documentary methods and approaches in the arts and reveals how the documentary impulse influenced the development of Stalinist culture. Documentary approaches in literature and film became a central means for redefining the role of the artist, of art itself, and of the institution of art in the new post-revolutionary Soviet society. The documentary impulse offered theorists and practitioners from a wide variety of artistic factions an opportunity to make their art relevant to the revolutionary project. Participation in this trend was supported not only by the avant-garde, which initiated it, but by representatives of artistic movements across the political and stylistic spectrum, in a variety of media. In using documents and documentary methods, writers and filmmakers of the era imparted to their artistic work a kind of authenticity, conveying a sense that they were producing an objective record of a reality that was being rapidly and radically transformed. At the same time, through the act of recording the building of socialism they became participants in the process, thus responding to a perceived historical imperative. As Soviet artists struggled toward the objectivity of historical processes, however, the tension between the two competing aspects of the documentary impulse-its evidentiary quality (“fact”) and its discursive quality (“artifact”)-grew into a contradiction. The anxiety of Soviet authors to be relevant to the revolution led them to the near effacement of authorship itself. Papazian analyzes the works of Sergei Tretiakov, Dziga Vertov, Maxim Gorky, and Mikhail Zoshchenko to reveal how the documentary impulse defined each author’s individual artistic trajectory and led him inexorably to the socialist realist aesthetic.
Main Description
The Bolshevik Revolution uprooted not only the social and political systems of the Russian Empire, but existing artistic institutions and traditions as well. Following the revolution, Soviet artists working in all different media had to respond to the urgent problem of how to make art relevant, even essential, to the revolutionary project undertaken by the Bolshevik Party. Focusing on the years 19211934, Manufacturing Truth explores the great upsurge in documentary methods and approaches in the arts and reveals how the documentary impulse influenced the development of Stalinist culture. Documentary approaches in literature and film became a central means for redefining the role of the artist, of art itself, and of the institution of art in the new post-revolutionary Soviet society. The documentary impulse offered theorists and practitioners from a wide variety of artistic factions an opportunity to make their art relevant to the revolutionary project. Participation in this trend was supported not only by the avant-garde, which initiated it, but by representatives of artistic movements across the political and stylistic spectrum, in a variety of media. In using documents and documentary methods, writers and filmmakers of the era imparted to their artistic work a kind of authenticity, conveying a sense that they were producing an objective record of a reality that was being rapidly and radically transformed. At the same time, through the act of recording the building of socialism they became participants in the process, thus responding to a perceived historical imperative. As Soviet artists struggled toward the objectivity of historical processes, however, the tension between the two competing aspects of the documentary impulse-its evidentiary quality ("fact") and its discursive quality ("artifact")-grew into a contradiction. The anxiety of Soviet authors to be relevant to the revolution led them to the near effacement of authorship itself. Papazian analyzes the works of Sergei Tretiakov, Dziga Vertov, Maxim Gorky, and Mikhail Zoshchenko to reveal how the documentary impulse defined each author's individual artistic trajectory and led him inexorably to the socialist realist aesthetic.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: Authors as Engineers-The Documentary Momentp. 3
Operative Mode-Sergei Tretiakov's Art of Factp. 23
Technological Mode-Dziga Vertov and Kino-Communicationp. 69
Realist Mode-Maksim Gorky, the Truth, and the Collectivep. 125
Ironic Mode-Mikhail Zoshchenko's Reconstruction of the Readerp. 167
Conclusion: A New Documentary Moment?p. 208
Terms and Abbreviationsp. 215
Notesp. 217
Works Citedp. 257
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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