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Warped Mourning

Stories of the Undead in the Land of the Unburied

by: Alexander Etkind
published by
: Stanford University Press
pp: 328
ISBN: 9780804773928 Hardback - 9780804773935 Paperback

Book's frontpage

After Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet Union dismantled the enormous system of terror and torture that he had created. But there has never been any Russian ban on former party functionaries, nor any external authority to dispense justice. Memorials to the Soviet victims are inadequate, and their families have received no significant compensation. This book's premise is that late Soviet and post-Soviet culture, haunted by its past, has produced a unique set of memorial practices. More than twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia remains "the land of the unburied": the events of the mid-twentieth century are still very much alive, and still contentious. Alexander Etkind shows how post-Soviet Russia has turned the painful process of mastering the past into an important part of its political present.


About the Author

Alexander Etkind was born in Leningrad and moved to Cambridge, UK in 2005. He is now is a Professor in Russian Literature and Cultural History and Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. Alexander has PhD in Psychology from Bekhterev Institute, Leningrad, and another in Slavonic Literatures from the University of Helsinki. Before coming to the UK, he taught at the European University at St. Petersburg, with which he continues to collaborate. He was a visiting professor at New York University and Georgetown University, and a resident fellow at Harvard, Princeton, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington D.C., Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, and University of Canterbury in New Zealand. His research interests are internal colonization in the Russian Empire, comparative studies of cultural memory, and the dynamics of the protest movement in Russia. In 2010-2013, he is directing the European research project, Memory at War: Cultural Dynamics in Poland, Russia, and Ukraine.


"[Warped Mourning is] a nuanced, thought-provoking and comprehensive study of mourning and memory that integrates cultural artifacts and leading theoretical concepts."
Josephine Von Zitzewitz, The Slavonic & East European Review

"Warped Mourning is pioneering and thought-provoking. It reads (or rereads) a dazzling range of texts, films, and images to reveal their obsession with the past. [B]rilliant close readings . . . A work of great ambition that engages a century of thinking about trauma."
Polly Jones, Times Literary Supplement
"Mr. Etkind ranges expertly through cultural theory, finding in film, literary criticism, linguistics, art and philosophy the effect of the Stalinist trauma on later Soviet and now Russian generations."
The Economist


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