Title Comintern Aesthetics
Author Amelia M. Glaser, Steven S. Lee
ISBN 9781487504656
List price USD 95.00
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 592
Book size 159 x 235 mm
Publishing year 2020
Original publisher University of Toronto Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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"Comintern Aesthetics is a brilliant collection that will immediately become a definitive work on the subject. The book is the first ever global study of Comintern aesthetics and is full of critical surprises, insights, and innovations. The geographic scope of the book, from Southeast Asia to Central Europe, is truly dazzling."

—Bill Mullen, Department of English, Purdue University


"Important and timely, Comintern Aesthetics draws attention to global aesthetic connections and sensibilities inspired and fostered by the Communist utopia, with its ideas of liberation, decolonization, and self-government. This volume will generate a long overdue discussion of the historical legacy of Communism that is not overdetermined by the idioms and assumptions of the Cold War."

—Serguei Alex Oushakine, Department of Anthropology and Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University



Founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1919 to instigate a world revolution, the Comintern advanced not just the proletarian struggle but also a wide variety of radical causes, including those 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 continued, even after its demise in 1943. Tracking these networks through a multiplicity of artistic forms geared towards advancing a common, liberated humanity, this volume captures the failure of a Soviet-centered world revolution, but also its enduring allure in the present.

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.


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

Chapter 1. World Literature as World Revolution: Velimir Khlebnikov’s Zangezi and the Utopian Geopoetics of the Russian Avant-Garde (Harsha Ram)

Chapter 2. Berlin–Moscow–Shanghai: Translating Revolution Across Cultures in the Aftermath of the 1927 Shanghai Debacle (Katerina Clark)

Chapter 3. India–England–Russia: The Comintern Translated (Snehal Shingavi)

Chapter 4. Seeing the World Anew: Soviet Cinema and the Reorganization of 1930s Spanish Film Culture (Enrique Fibla-Gutiérrez and
Masha Salazkina)

Chapter 5. The Panorama and the Pilgrimage: Brazilian Modernism, The Masses, and The Soviet Union in the 1930s (Sarah Ann Wells)

Chapter 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

Chapter 7. Culture One and A Half (Nariman Skakov)

Chapter 8. Street Theatre and Subject Formation in Wartime China: Origins of a New Public Art (Xiaobing Tang)

Chapter 9. In The Shadow of the Inquisition: The Spanish Civil War in Yiddish Poetry (Amelia M. Glaser)

Chapter 10. "Beaten, But Unbeatable": On Langston Hughes’s Black Leninism (Jonathan Flatley)

Chapter 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

Chapter 12. The Revolutionary Romanticism of Alice Childress’s "Conversations From Life" (Kate Baldwin)

Chapter 13. When Comintern and Cominform Aesthetics Meet: Socialist Realism in Eastern Europe, 1956 and Beyond (Evgeny Dobrenko)

Chapter 14 .Visions of The Future: Soviet Art, Architecture, and Film During and after the Comintern Years (Vladimir Paperny and Marina Khrustaleva)

Chapter 15. Comintern Media Experiments, Leftist Exile, and World Literature from East Berlin (Katie Trumpener)

Chapter 16. Workers of the World, Unite! (Bo Zheng)

Coda (Steven S. Lee and Amelia M. Glaser)



About the Editors:

Amelia M. Glaser is Associate Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature at the University of California, San Diego.

Steven S. Lee is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

Target Audience:

People interested in global study of Comintern aesthetics, communism and literature.


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