How life writes the book

Full Title How life writes the book
ISBN 0801484235
ISBN13 9780801484230
Publisher Ithaca, N.Y. : Cornell University Press, 1997.
Authors Thomas Lahusen
Overview A gripping, unsettling, and highly original book that turns the making of a Soviet socialist-realist classic--Azhaev's Far from Moscow--into a detective story, and sheds as strange and ambiguous a light on the Stalin era, from gulag to Writers' Union, as one could hope for. Lahusen is a disarmingly low-key scholarly virtuoso who performs simultaneously as an archive-based historian, an interpreter of texts (including Azhaev's own self-organized archive), and a gently relentless biographer whose stalking of his prey is reminiscent of Nabokov. The final chilling paragraph typically economical and understated, is a reminder that the author/investigator, too, is a collaborator in the multiple reworkings of Azhaev's text, and of his life, that How Life Writes the Book has so finely analyzed.--Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of Chicago

This is a wonderfully original work: a history of a book, a literary analysis of an age, a montage of a life. Lahusen writes with a postmodern sensibility but without the postmodernist jargon.--Yuri Slezkine, University of California, Berkeley

Thomas Lahusen has written an imaginative and archivally grounded book that presents the most fascinating picture to date of the literary process that produced canonical works of Socialist Realism and the people who wrote them. How Life Writes the Book is alternatingly chilling and funny as it demonstrates the interpenetration of literary institutions, massive construction projects and the Soviet system of prison camps and slave labor. With this study, as with his earlier Intimacy and Terror, Lahusen continues his own project of revolutionizing our understanding of the Soviet subject and Soviet subjectivity.--Eric Naiman, University of California, Berkeley

Lahusen's case study marks a new genre of inquiry into the very nature of socialist realism, a genre which became possible after archives and memory in Russia regained their voice. It shows how life is transformed into Soviet myth.--Hans Gnther, editor of The Culture of the Stalin Period

Dimensions 5.88 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.72 (d)
Subjects Soviet History - Social Aspects
Literary Movements - General & Miscellaneous
1917 - 1991 - History

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