Beau Monde on Empires Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine

Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine

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By Mayhill C. Fowler
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
304 Pages
ISBN 9781487501532
Published May 2017
Online discount: 25%
 $75.00    $56.25
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781487513443
Published May 2017
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $75.00

In Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge, Mayhill C. Fowler tells the story of the rise and fall of a group of men who created culture both Soviet and Ukrainian. This collective biography showcases new aspects of the politics of cultural production in the Soviet Union by focusing on theater and on the multi-ethnic borderlands. Unlike their contemporaries in Moscow or Leningrad, these artists from the regions have been all but forgotten despite the quality of their art. Beau Monde restores the periphery to the center of Soviet culture. Sources in Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, and Yiddish highlight the important multi-ethnic context and the challenges inherent in constructing Ukrainian culture in a place of Ukrainians, Russians, Poles, and Jews. Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge traces the growing overlap between the arts and the state in the early Soviet years, and explains the intertwining of politics and culture in the region today.

Mayhill C. Fowler is an assistant professor of history at Stetson University.

List of Illustrations


Note to the Reader on Transliteration


Introduction: The Beau Monde on the Borderlands

Chapter 1: The Russian Imperial Southwest: Theater in the Age of Modernism and Pogroms

Chapter 2: The Literary Fair: Mikhail Bulgakov and Mykola Kulish

Chapter 3: Comedy Soviet and Ukrainian?: Il'f-Petrov and Ostap Vyshnia

Chapter 4: The Officical Artist: Solomon Mikhoels and Les' Kurbas

Chapter 5: The Arts Official: Andrii Khvylia, Vsevolod Balyts'kyi, and the Kremlin

Chapter 6: Soviet Beau Monde: The Gulag and Kremlin Cabaret


Selected Bibliography


"Beau Monde on Empire’s Edge is a wonderful piece of work; it is beautifully written, in a witty, textured, and lively prose. Mayhill C. Fowler has a visceral – as well as an intellectual and theoretical – understanding of theatre and of audience that shows on every page of the manuscript."

Irena Makaryk, Department of English, University of Ottawa