Volume 59 Number 4 Abstracts

Prague-Vienna, Prague-Berlin: The Hidden Geography of Czech Modernism

Katherine David-Fox

New spatial perspectives about the Czech lands and their relationship to Europe proved to be a formative influence on the Czech writers of the 1890s generation. While older Czech nationalists of the late nineteenth century emphasized cultural territoriality in Bohemia, stressing the role of Prague as the "central place" of a Czech Bohemia, the modernists of the fin de sicle located Prague on the periphery of a "network" of European cities. Despite their ambivalence about the German-speaking world, the young writers established connections with two central European centers of modernism, Vienna and Berlin, ties that are analyzed as divergent trends in modernism. The Prague journal Rozhledy (Outlooks) and the Czech poet, Josef Svatopluk Machar, developed links with the Vienna writer Hermann Bahr and his journal Die Zeit; the relationship proved to be an inspiration for the Manifesto of Czech Moderna in 1895. At the same time, the decadent journal Moderní revue found a cultural mediator in the Polish writer, Stanis^aw Przybyszewski, one of the major figures of Berlin modernism.

Dancing with Death and Salvaging Jewish Culture in Austeria and The Dybbuk

Gabriella Safran

Although Austeria, a 1982 Polish film directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz and based on a novella by Julian Stryjkowski, was meant to commemorate the Polish-Jewish culture destroyed in the Holocaust, viewers found some of its Jewish characters grotesque. In one central scene, a group of Hasidim dance and chant, ignoring a corpse that lies in the next room and running the risk of attracting the attention of hostile troops nearby; in another, the Hasidim immerse themselves in a river, where they are shot and drown. The authors explained that their depictions of Jewish culture were influenced by The Dybbuk, a play written in Russian and Yiddish by S. An-sky in the 1910s, then staged in 1922 in Hebrew by Evgenii Vakhtangov at the Habima theater, and made into a Yiddish film by Micha^ WaszyNski in Warsaw in 1937. In assessing the debt of Austeria to An-sky and his interpreters, this article considers the aesthetics of modernist eastern European theater and the ideology of salvage ethnography.

The Strange Relationship of Stavrogin and Stepan Trofimovich as Told by Anton Lavrentevich G--v

Craig Cravens

This essay examines Fedor Dostoevskii's novel Besy (1871-72) from a narratological perspective. Cravens's thesis is that the novel's narrative form itself involves the reader psychologically and morally in the problems that occupied Dostoevskii throughout his life--problems of freedom, contingency, and eternity. Students of the novel have criticized Dostoevskii's narrative method as inconsistent and the novel overall as a failure. While it is true that the narrative focus shifts throughout the novel, these shifts are not arbitrary. I begin with the assumption that the narrator, Anton Lavrentevich G--v, is a single, complete consciousness with his own authorial pretensions. Dostoevskii uses these pretensions and attitudes toward the other characters in the novel to establish these characters in the reader's mind in fundamentally different ways.

Making an Appearance: Urban 'Types' and the Creation of Respectability in Odessa's Popular Press, 1912-14

Roshanna P. Sylvester

This study of Odessa's mass circulation popular press argues that journalists worked to create in their city an improved variety of middle-class citizenry, grounded not only in prosperity and refinement but in "spiritual development." Central to their project was the concept of respectability, which combined western bourgeois notions of proper appearance with the moral qualities demanded by Russian intelligentsia tradition. Popular press stories featured a range of social "types," both respectable and not. Positive "types" were mostly middle-class figures whose exemplary appearances mirrored pristine inner qualities. Negative types were primarily lower-class "barbarians" and petty bourgeois, meshchanskie "philistines." Journalists posited a significant correlation between visible "correctness" and correctness of character. Paradoxically, however, they also advised readers that visual criteria alone were insufficient indicators of moral reliability. Odessa popular press journalists thus functioned as chroniclers, shapers, and products of modern urban culture, their value system complex and fraught with contradictions.

'Our City, Our Hearths, Our Families': Local Loyalties and Private Life in Soviet World War II Propaganda

Lisa A. Kirschenbaum

During World War II, the private sphere became the major focus of Soviet propaganda and Soviet patriotism. The wartime sanctification of hearth and home as the primary sources of identity and citizenship reworked and eventually helped to remake an official language that valued public achievements over private relationships. National newspapers published "personal" letters on private issues of home and family. Young male heroes were said to be fighting, not only for Iosif Stalin, but for the motherland, as represented by mothers, wives, and girlfriends. While these images were particularly prevalent in the first years of the war, the wartime rhetoric of motherhood, family, and hometown survived the renewed emphasis on Stalin and the party bureaucracy that became visible in 1943. In the aftermath of the war, official language was altered as the state sought to dress itself in private values.

'The Problem of Political and Social Stability in Urban Russia on the Eve of War and Revolution' Revisited

Leopold H. Haimson

Revisiting the arguments first presented in Slavic Review in 1964-65 about the origins of the February 1917 revolution, the article uses the results of 35 years of archival research to reiterated the importance of dual polarization, between the upper and lower classes on the one hand, and between the state and society on the other, in shaping the revolutionary crisis. These archival sources, however, also reveal the importance of the "suspended character" of the prewar crises as a complicating factor. This archival research has emphasized the significance of the interplay between urbanization and labor unrest in contributing to the crisis. It has also cast in greater relief the responsibility of moderate and liberal Duma deputies, as well as the highest levels of the bureaucracy, for this stalemate. Finally, the article reveals how the politics of the war effort itself brought political and social conflict into acute crisis. Thus the war accentuated an already significant process of dual polarization and paralyzed efforts by leading Duma and bureaucratic actors to reach any kind of compromise that could neutralize the effects of mounting social unrest.