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Music from a Speeding TrainJewish Literature in Post-Revolution Russia$
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Harriet Murav

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780804774437

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804774437.001.0001

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(p.319) Eight Afterwards
Music from a Speeding Train
Stanford University Press

This chapter focuses on Jewish literature and art produced after 1991 in Russia and abroad. It shows that the Jews' response to the collapse of the Soviet Union has given rise to a new relation to the past. The traditional Jewish response to catastrophe is to see the present in light of the past and not the future. This Jewish lens is reflected in dozens of works written in the first decade of the twenty-first century. At the beginning of the post-Soviet century, the Russian intelligentsia has been obsessed with the backward glance. This chapter looks at three figures: Alexandr Melikhov, a St. Petersburg writer who shows a deep and melancholic attachment to the Soviet Jewish story; Ilya Kabakov, a visual artist who left Soviet Russia in 1988; and Oleg Iur'ev, a poet and novelist who reveals how Jews and Jewish history are simultaneously present and absent in late Soviet culture.

Keywords:   Jewish literature, Jews, Soviet Union, past, Alexandr Melikhov, Oleg Iur'ev, Ilya Kabakov, Jewish history, culture

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