Satire and the fantastic, vital literary genres in the 1920s, are often thought to have fallen victim to the official adoption of socialist realism. Eric Laursen contends that these subversive genres did not just vanish or move underground. Instead, key strategies of each survive to sustain the villain of socialist realism. Laursen argues that the judgement of satire and the hesitation associated with the fantastic produce a narrative obsession with controlling the villain's influence. In identifying a crucial connection between the questioning, subversive literature of the 1920s and the socialist realists, Laursen produces an insightful revision of Soviet literary history.
Eric Laursen is an associate professor in the Department of Languages and Literature at the University of Utah.
INTRODUCTION: SCROUNGING IN THE SOVIET GARBAGE PIT 1 A New Paradigm 2 Recycling Toxic Heroes 5 CHAPTER 1: WRITING A PRECARIOUS BALANCE 11 Organizing the Human Psyche 13 Superfluous Men in Utopia: Aleksandr Bogdanov's Red Star (1908) 15 An Impossible Equilibrium: Evgeny Zamyatin's We (1920) 27 Dystopian Fear 38 CHAPTER 2: HE DOES NOT LOVE US WHEN WE ARE DIRTY 40 Hygienic Satire 42 ""Bad Words Are Not Allowed"": Mikhail Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog (1925) 43 Monstrous Words 53 Unmasking Satire: Vladimir Mayakovsky's Bedbug (1929) 55 The Death of Satire? 65 CHAPTER 3: THINGS THAT SHOULD NOT BE FOUND 68 Hygienic Narration 70 Unreliable Narrators: Yury Olesha's Envy (1927) 73 The Non-toxic Writer 85 Remapping the Alien Imagination: Lev Kassil's Shvambraniia (1932) 88 An Image Can Kill 106 CHAPTER 4: LOST IN TRANSLATION 110 Constructing a New Voice 113 Translating the Villainous Voice: Fedor Gladkov's Cement (1925) 115 Party-mindedness & the Socialist-realist Text 126 Rewriting the Writer: Valentin Kataev's Time Forward (1932) 129 The Writer as Telegraph Operator 142 CONCLUSION: WRITERS FORWARD! 146 Really Real Men, or Apologies for the Elephant 148 NOTES 151 BIBLIOGRAPHY 187