A Bridge Between Kingdoms: The Marxist Aesthetics of Georgi Plekhanov

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dc.contributor.advisor Powelstock, David
dc.contributor.author Sockol, David
dc.date.accessioned 2011-12-12T19:43:19Z
dc.date.available 2011-12-12T19:43:19Z
dc.date.issued 2011
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10192/21
dc.description.abstract Socialist Realism, the official artistic method of the Soviet Union, has remained a contentious but inadequately explored topic in historical scholarship. While its tenets that art must adhere to a realistic form and serve a didactic purpose have been well noted, its intellectual origins remain an open question. The arguments put forward by previous scholars regarding the genesis of Socialist Realism have largely focused on ahistorical analyses or conflated the similarities between it and previous aesthetic theories with causality, resulting in unsatisfactory conclusions. In my thesis, I argue that the ideas contained in Marxist theory concerning art and their development by the influential Russian theoretician Georgi Plekhanov must be considered among the intellectual foundation of Socialist Realism’s doctrine. Beginning with an examination the writings of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, I argue that a critical framework for judging and proscribing art was established in their theories of ideology and social development. Turning to Plekhanov’s writings on art, I argue that he developed this framework into a stringent criticism or bourgeois and modern art alongside a staunch support of realistic and utilitarian art, thus strikingly predicting the tenets of Socialist Realism. Having illustrated that Plekhanov was able to construct a prescriptive aesthetic doctrine solely from Marxist ideas, I conclude that through his writings and widely noted influence over Soviet thought, Plekhanov’s ideas form a hitherto unexplored avenue for investigating the origins of Socialist Realism that avoids the failings of previous inquiries and will prove beneficial to future research on this subject.
dc.description.sponsorship Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso eng
dc.publisher Brandeis University
dc.relation.ispartofseries Brandeis University Theses and Dissertations
dc.rights Copyright by David Sockol 2011
dc.subject Marxism
dc.subject aesthetics
dc.subject Socialist Realism
dc.subject Plekhanov
dc.title A Bridge Between Kingdoms: The Marxist Aesthetics of Georgi Plekhanov
dc.type Thesis
dc.contributor.department Department of History
dc.degree.name MA
dc.degree.level Masters
dc.degree.discipline History
dc.degree.grantor Brandeis University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
dc.description.esploro 2

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