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Revolutionary Dreams : Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution - Richard Stites

Revolutionary Dreams

Utopian Vision and Experimental Life in the Russian Revolution

Hardcover Published: 8th December 1988
ISBN: 9780195055368
Number Of Pages: 324

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The revolutionary ideals of equality, communal living, proletarian morality, and technology worship, rooted in Russian utopianism, generated a range of social experiments which found expression, in the first decade of the Russian revolution, in festival, symbol, science fiction, city planning, and the arts. In this study, historian Richard Stites offers a vivid portrayal of revolutionary life and the cultural factors--myth, ritual, cult, and symbol--that sustained it, and describes the principal forms of utopian thinking and experimental impulse. Analyzing the inevitable clash between the authoritarian elements in the Bolshevik's vision and the libertarian behavior and aspirations of large segments of the population, Stites interprets the pathos of utopian fantasy as the key to the emotional force of the Bolshevik revolution which gave way in the early 1930s to bureaucratic state centralism and a theology of Stalinism.

Industry Reviews

"This intriguing book will be read with profit not only by historians of Russia but also by anyone interested in utopian visions and utopian experiments. Stites casts his net widely to draw in a varied catch of science fiction writers, architects, efficiency experts, student communards, and Bolshevik leaders. By dissecting their ideas, he provides a provocative analysis of the hopes of the Russian Revolution."--American Historical Review "A dazzling compendium of the manifold ideas and projects that flashed across Russia after 1917."--Times Higher Education Supplement "Unlike many previous studies of the subject, this book was not written with a cynical or condescending smirk...Stites is one of a small but increasingly influential group of American Slavists who have dumped the righteous tone of cold war discourse about the Soviet Union. Instead the author delights in revealing diversity."--New Statesmen & Society "A major contribution to the social and cultural history of the USSR. Moreover, given its lucid and compelling style...there is no reason why [it] will not sell well to a broader reading public."--Ronald G. Suny, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor "Rich, learned, and stimulating...What Stites captures beautifully in this fine book is the excitement and the sense of possibility of the time when the Russian Revolution could still inspire utopian hopes."--Utopian Studies "[An] original study...Stites has his subject well in hand and writes smoothly, and his work becomes a portrait of the Russian people as they reveal themselves by their dreams."--The New Yorker "Recommended for all libraries."--CHOICE "An exciting book that will be read and enjoyed by everyone interested in the history of Soviet culture and society. With grace and intelligence, the author illuminates myriad possibilities of social and cultural development that took shape in the revolutionary era. His unique contribution is to show the ambiguity of the first decade of Soviet society, when dreamers from Lenin...to pionerring artists and composers let their imaginations range freely. The result is also a new view of the 1930s as the era when dreams were smothered and the state declared 'war on the dreamers.'"--Jeffrey Brooks, University of Minnesota "Thoroughly researched and extremely informative...A book to be enjoyed."--Political Studies "A comprehensive and sympathetic look at a long-gone age of revolutionary dreamers and utopia-builders."--SLOVO "One of the most original and exciting books in the field of Russian History I have read in well over a decade. Revolutionary Dreams is a wonderfully imaginative book, a work of power, sweep, and energy. Stites has succeeded in breaking down the barriers between political and cultural history, enabling us for the first time to grasp the unique frameworks of thought and feeling (especially and most originally 'feeling') that attracted a wide variety of Russians, both educated elite and 'people,' during the turbulent post-Revolutionary years, and to grasp the significance of the sad fate suffered by many of those who took the emancipatory goals of the revolution seriously. It is nothing less than a tour de force."--Reginald Zelnik, University of California, Berkeley

ISBN: 9780195055368
ISBN-10: 0195055365
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 324
Published: 8th December 1988
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.32 x 15.8  x 2.69
Weight (kg): 0.66

Earn 251 Qantas Points
on this Book