Soviet Gothic

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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“Soviet Gothic” is a paradoxical literary concept: how could any aesthetic system as morbid and backwards-looking as the Gothic mesh with the dynamic, progressive and rationalist society of Soviet Russia? Nonetheless, Gothic themes were widely disseminated within early Soviet literature. In Soviet Russia, Gothic had many uses: as a vehicle for propaganda (Maxim Gorky’s classic 1907 novel





depicts judges as bloodthirsty vampires), as a response to societal trauma (the forerunner of French Gothic fiction, the

roman noir

, was coeval with the French Revolution), and as a space for the exploration of cultural anxieties (Mikhail Bulgakov’s 1925 novel

Sobach’e serdtse


Heart of a Dog


parodies Russia’s then-topical obsessions with rejuvenation and eugenics). The Gothic…

2008 words

Citation: Maguire, Muireann. "Soviet Gothic". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 25 March 2011 [, accessed 19 June 2024.]

16294 Soviet Gothic 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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