Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera: Mad Acts and Letter Scenes in Fin-de-Siecle Russia - Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History (Hardback)
  • Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera: Mad Acts and Letter Scenes in Fin-de-Siecle Russia - Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History (Hardback)
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Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera: Mad Acts and Letter Scenes in Fin-de-Siecle Russia - Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History (Hardback)

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Hardback 273 Pages / Published: 18/09/2013
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In Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, printed literature and performances - from celebrity narratives and opera fandom to revolutionary acts and political speeches - frequently articulated extreme emotional states and passionate belief. A uniquely intense approach to public life and private expression - the 'melodramatic imagination' - is at the center of this study. Previously, scholars have only indirectly addressed the everyday appropriation of melodramatic aesthetics in Russia, choosing to concentrate on canonical texts and producers of mass culture. Collective fantasies and affects are daunting objects of study, difficult to render, and almost impossible to prove empirically. Music and art historians, with some notable exceptions, have been reluctant to discuss reception for similar reasons. By analyzing the artifacts and practices of a commercialized opera culture, author Anna Fishzon provides a solution to these challenges. Her focus on celebrity and fandom as features of the melodramatic imagination helps illuminate Russian modernity and provides the groundwork for comparative studies of fin-de-siecle European popular and high culture, selfhood, authenticity, and political theater.

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9781137023445
Number of pages: 273
Weight: 4679 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 22 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"In Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera: Mad Acts and Letter Scenes in Fin-de- Siecle Russia, Anna Fishzon constructs a framework for understanding a feature of the era's Zeitgeist: melodrama. ... In this very short chapter of her work, the author explores topics of intersection rich in potential for further investigation. Fishzon's thoughtful and provocative assertions here will appeal to readers interested in all matters Russian." (Lois Alexander, Slavic and East European Journal, 2015)

'In this fascinating and powerfully written history of opera fans and celebrities in late imperial Russia, Anna Fishzon offers us an almost operatic landscape, filled with compelling stories and important arguments about modern public life, the commercialization of art, sexuality and gender, emotions (especially fantasy and desire), and the meanings of key cultural questions such as sincerity and selfhood. This is an essential and compelling contribution to our growing knowledge and understanding of the Russian experience at the end of the old regime and of the tumultuous world of the European fin de siecle more broadly.' - Mark D. Steinberg, Professor, Department of History, University of Illinois, USA

'This book is an original and unusually informative study of Russian opera and its fans in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Though this period is probably the best-studied in all of Russian history, Fishzon has found an unexplored view on it and discovered an untapped body of archival material. She focuses on fans, groupies, and sponsors of Russian private opera theaters, and she reads their documents by using interpretative concepts that are informed by the studies of mid- twentieth century Hollywood fandom. As it happens, this meeting between national cultures and historical periods has produced fascinating results. I enjoyed reading this book and eagerly recommend it to students of Russian and European music, theater, and culture.' - Alexander Etkind, Professor of Russian Literature and Cultural History, University of Cambridge, UK

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