Documentary Aesthetics in the Long 1960s in Eastern Europe and Beyond


Volume Editors: and
This book is the first to deal with documentary aesthetic practices of the post-war period in Eastern Europe in a comparative perspective. The contributions examine the specific forms and modes of documentary representations and the role they played in the formation of new aesthetic trends during the cultural-political transition of the long 1960s. This documentary first-hand approach to the world aimed to break up unquestioned ideological structures and expose tabooed truths in order to engender much-needed social changes. New ways of depicting daily life, writing testimony or subjective reportage emerged that still shape cultural debates today.

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Clemens Günther, Ph.D, Freie Universität Berlin, is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for East European Studies. His research interests comprise the late and post-Soviet historical novel, the cultural history of cybernetics, climate fiction, and the ecological poetics of Russian realism.

Matthias Schwartz, Ph.D, is co-head of the program area World Literature at the Leibniz Center for Literary and Cultural Research (ZfL) in Berlin, Germany. His research interests include Eastern European socialist and post-socialist literatures, memory cultures, and popular cultures in a comparative perspective.
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Firsthand Time
 Clemens Günther and Matthias Schwartz

Part 1: Exposing a Painful Past: Modes of Testimony

1 “Document of the Soul:” Varlam Shalamov’s Documentary Writing in a Contemporary Context
Franziska Thun-Hohenstein

2 A Dreyfus Affair for Soviet Children: on the Encoded Poetics of Aleksandra Brushtein’s Documentary Prose
Natasha Gordinsky

3 Supplementing Evidence: Danilo Kiš’s Poet(h)ics in the Context of Yugoslav Documentarism of the 1960s
Tatjana Petzer

4 Hands of Time and Large Numbers in Alexander Kluge’s (Post-)Documentary Literature
Gunther Martens

Part 2: Discovering the Self and the Other: Modes of Expressing Individuality

5 Celebration and Abstraction: the Documentary Mode of Jonas Mekas’s Diary Films
Christian Zehnder

6 Documentary and Poetics Interwoven: Mikhail Kalik’s Cinema
Elena Nekrasova

7 The Technique of Documenting: on the Early Reportages of Ryszard Kapuściński and Hanna Krall
Matthias Schwartz

Part 3: Refining the Senses: Modes of Self-Reflective Artistic Practices

8 “Dramas of the Fact:” Soviet Conceptualisations of Documentary Theatre in the 1960s
Anna Hodel

9 “Instead of Approximate Precision—Precise Approximation:” Ian Satunovskii’s Poor Poetry
Georg Witte

10 Reproductions without an Original: the Self-Published Aesthetics of Cold War-Era Copies
Sarah A. Burgos

Part 4: Exploring the Everyday: Modes of Perceiving Social Issues

11 The Trials of Documenting: Frida Vigdorova’s Notes of the Brodsky Court Proceedings
Anja Tippner

12 The Poetry of Mikhail Sokovnin: an Aesthetic Opposition to the “Literature of Fact”
Ilya Kukulin

13 “Discourses of Sobriety:” Documentary Aesthetics in Conceptual Art in the United States
Renate Wöhrer

Anyone concerned with post-war Eastern European and Cold War culture and aesthetics, ranging from academic specialists, culturally interested on-specialists to college departments and libraries.
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