Mimesis:The Literature of the Soviet Avant-garde

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What the literature of the Soviet Avant-garde tells us about the relationship between culture and politics

The second part of Valery Podoroga's masterly work on the the politics of literature and how it is used to construct the world. With a focus on the revolutionary works of Andrei Platonov and the futurist collective Oberiu, Podoroga shows how profoundly the soviet experiment overturned the traditional expectation of fiction and poetry. And how the production of this work was intensely interwoven with the political and historical debates of the times.

This volume expands on his critical explanation of the analytic anthropology of literature. He explores how literature can be used in 'world-building', both in what happens inside the narrative but also in the way it reflects the external world. He also probes how the work functions outside of its times: both as a means to project into the future, and as a document of a former age. How are we to read the past through these works of the imagination?

With an introduction essay from the author's daughter, Ioulia Podoroga, and a preface from Frederic James.


  • Podoroga has long been heralded as a quasi-patron saint of post-Soviet philosophy. . . Podoroga liberates classics of Russian literature from questions of historicism or fidelity to an external reality.

    Marxism and Philosophy