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Stalin’s Ghosts

Gothic Themes in Early Soviet Literature

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Muireann Maguire

Stalin’s Ghosts examines the impact of the Gothic-fantastic on Russian literature in the period 1920-1940. It shows how early Soviet-era authors, from well-known names including Fedor Gladkov, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Platonov and Evgenii Zamiatin, to niche figures such as Sigizmund Krzhizhanovskii and Aleksandr Beliaev, exploited traditional archetypes of this genre: the haunted castle, the deformed body, vampires, villains, madness and unnatural death. Complementing recent studies of Soviet culture by Eric Naiman and Lilya Kaganovsky, this book argues that Gothic-fantastic tropes functioned variously as a response to the traumas produced by revolution and civil war, as a vehicle for propaganda, and as a subtle mode of unwriting the cultural monolith of Socialist Realism.

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Contents

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Acknowledgements ix Note on Translations and Transliteration xi Introduction 1 Chapter 1 What is Soviet Gothic? 23 Chapter 2 Gothic Castles 43 Chapter 3 Gothic Bodies 89 Chapter 4 Gothic Death 139 Chapter 5 Gothic Monsters 187 Chapter 6 Gothic Returns 253 Conclusion 301 viii Bibliography 311 Index 325

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