Moscow, the Fourth Rome


Date: Apr 08, 2010

Part of the Columbia Seminar on Modern Europe. Presented by the author, Katerina Clark (Yale University), with comments by Richard Wortman, Columbia University. Introductions by Victoria de Grazia, Columbia University, and moderated by Nancy Walbridge Collins, Columbia University.

BOOK ABSTRACT:
This book treats cosmopolitan trends in Europe during the 1930s, but it does so from an unusual viewpoint – the evolution of Stalinist culture as seen through Moscow intellectual life. Is cosmopolitanism to be seen as an alternative to internationalism? And what of nationalism? Arguably, in the 1930s the causes of nationalism, internationalism and even cosmopolitanism were not distinct but to a significant degree imbricated with each other in a mix peculiar to that decade. In this book, Clark examines how Soviet culture evolved during its most “terrible” phase, the 1930s, decade of the Great Purge. To date, Western histories of Soviet culture have been largely shaped by the master narrative of the twentieth century dominated by the Gulag and Holocaust which has submerged much of this era’s particularity. Here, Clark provides a more complex picture, even while showing how the major characters in this book were involved in the purges and the draconian cultural centralization in one way or another. Clark seeks to tell the cultural history of the 1930s without dwelling on the purges, or on some titanic struggle between the regime and the dissidents. Instead, Clark shows how over these years the country developed as a singular “civilization” but did so while simultaneously interacting with the outside world, and primarily with continental Europe.

Date: Apr 08, 2010

Part of the Columbia Seminar on Modern Europe. Presented by the author, Katerina Clark (Yale University), with comments by Richard Wortman, Columbia University. Introductions by Victoria de Grazia, Columbia University, and moderated by Nancy Walbridge Collins, Columbia University.

BOOK ABSTRACT:
This book treats cosmopolitan trends in Europe during the 1930s, but it does so from an unusual viewpoint – the evolution of Stalinist culture as seen through Moscow intellectual life. Is cosmopolitanism to be seen as an alternative to internationalism? And what of nationalism? Arguably, in the 1930s the causes of nationalism, internationalism and even cosmopolitanism were not distinct but to a significant degree imbricated with each other in a mix peculiar to that decade. In this book, Clark examines how Soviet culture evolved during its most “terrible” phase, the 1930s, decade of the Great Purge. To date, Western histories of Soviet culture have been largely shaped by the master narrative of the twentieth century dominated by the Gulag and Holocaust which has submerged much of this era’s particularity. Here, Clark provides a more complex picture, even while showing how the major characters in this book were involved in the purges and the draconian cultural centralization in one way or another. Clark seeks to tell the cultural history of the 1930s without dwelling on the purges, or on some titanic struggle between the regime and the dissidents. Instead, Clark shows how over these years the country developed as a singular “civilization” but did so while simultaneously interacting with the outside world, and primarily with continental Europe.

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