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Soviet Transformation and Jewish Images in 1920s Russian Literature

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Title: Soviet Transformation and Jewish Images in 1920s Russian Literature
Author: Mikutis, Joshua Robert
Advisor: Gerstein, Linda
Department: Haverford College. Dept. of History
Type: Thesis (B.A.)
Issue Date: 2010
Abstract: My thesis explores the portrayals of Jews in four Russian novels written in the 1920s. I argue that the Jewish characters in Isaac Babel's Red Cavalry Stories, Ilya Ehrenburg's The Stormy Life of Lasik Roitschwantz, Alexsandr Fadeyev's The Rout, and Mikhail Sholokhov's And Quiet Flows the Don correspond to period discussions about how Bolshevik ideology and policy could alter the individual and ethno-national group. Nationalities experts devised the Soviet Nationalities Policy, which appealed to the national sentiments of the many minority groups living in the Soviet state in order to gain their allegiance; and Bolsheviks conceived of the New Soviet Man who would tirelessly and selflessly dedicate himself to the state. Both required a faith in human malleability and a belief that previous human habits were not innate but circumstantial products. The representations of Jews reflect the individual author's fears or hopes about these Soviet projects of transformation: the existence of stereotypical Russian Jews suggests doubt about the potential irrelevance of national identity and uncertainty in the potential of Bolshevism to modify any individual; however, Jews who are devoid of stereotypical qualities imply the feasibility of conversion from limited ethnic identity to a New Soviet Man.
Subject: Russian literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism
Subject: Jews in literature
Subject: Communism in literature
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Mikutis, Joshua Robert. "Soviet Transformation and Jewish Images in 1920s Russian Literature". 2010. Available electronically from

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