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Exploring the hinterlands : avant-garde temporality, socialist realism, and Pogodin’s Aristocrats

Skinner, Amy


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Dr Amy Skinner
Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre Practice


Soviet socialist realism is frequently constructed as the death knell of the Russian avant-garde. The combination of vague instructions (mainly concerning the required effect of the work, rather than its formal construction) with severe consequences for non-compliance restricted the appetite for experimentation amongst Soviet writers of the socialist realist era. This article considers the relationship between avant-garde technique and the socialist realist project through a case study of one of the earliest socialist realist plays, Nikolai Pogodin’s Aristocrats (1934–5). Through analysis of the temporal aesthetic underwriting Pogodin’s play, the article explores how avant-garde approaches to temporality continue to influence post-avant-garde play-texts, suggesting a model for the theatrical transitions that occur at the avant-garde hinterlands. Finally, it turns to the production of Pogodin’s play under Nikolai Okhlopkov at the Realistic Theatre and his use of the vortex form as a scenographic idiom. The article concludes by arguing that these hinterland texts, where avant-garde technique serves socialist realist intentions, form a vital moment in understanding how a legacy for Russian avant-garde practice can be defined.


Skinner, A. (2016). Exploring the hinterlands : avant-garde temporality, socialist realism, and Pogodin’s Aristocrats. Studies in Theatre and Performance, 36(3), 257-268.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 11, 2016
Online Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Publication Date Sep 1, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 6, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 12, 2018
Journal Studies in theatre and performance
Print ISSN 1468-2761
Electronic ISSN 2040-0616
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 3
Pages 257-268
Keywords Avant-garde; Socialist realism; Pogodin, Nikolaĭ, 1900-1962; Okhlopkov, N. P.; Temporal aesthetics; Vortex
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Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Studies in theatre and performance on 01/09/2016, available online:


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