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Facing FearThe History of an Emotion in Global Perspective$
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Michael Laffan and Max Weiss

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153599

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153599.001.0001

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Fear of the Past

Fear of the Past

Post-Soviet Culture and the Soviet Terror

(p.183) Chapter 9 Fear of the Past
Facing Fear

Alexander Etkind

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the representation of Soviet terror in post-Soviet culture. It proposes a new concept, that of memory-dread, to analyze how Russians perceive the Soviet terror. It interprets the fearful visions of post-Soviet writers, fimmakers, and intellectuals as a territory of memory-dread, a space of the undead. Recognizing ghosts, spirits, vampires, dolls, and other man-made and man-imagined simulacra that carry the memory of the unburied Soviet dead, the chapter develops a theory of cultural memory as consisting of three elements that are intimately connected: monuments (hardware), texts (software), and specters (ghostware). It also discusses three stages in the Russian memory of the so-called “unjustified repressions”: denial, repression, and interpretation. Finally, it considers the carnivalesque dynamics of the post-catastrophic melancholia, along with Magical Historicism in the post-Soviet novel.

Keywords:   cultural memory, Soviet terror, post-Soviet culture, memory-dread, monuments, texts, specters, unjustified repressions, melancholia, Magical Historicism

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