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A Slap in the Face: How Russian Futurists Shocked for a Social Revolution

A Slap in the Face: How Russian Futurists Shocked for a Social Revolution
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  Emily LipiraREES 550Dr. Judith Pintar Reader: Dr. Mark D. Steinberg17 Deember !01"# Slap in the $ae: %&' Ru((ian $uturi(t( Sh&ked )&r a S&ial Re*&luti&n+n the (e*en year( that preeded the 1,17 re*&luti&n( in Ru((ia- a*antgarde p&et(- 'riter(- and arti(t( kn&'n a( the )uturi(t( ati*ely '&rked t& (pread their &ntr&*er(ial me((age &) de(truti&n and rebirth. #( their name implie(- the )uturi(t( )&u(ed their '&rk &n the need t& untether Ru((ia )r&m it( anti/uated traditi&n( in &rder t& reah a ne' )uture- )ree &) the ma&r  pr&blem( that )aed the empire in the early t'entieth entury- namely the anahr&ni(ti aut&ray- rippling (&ial ine/uality- and the perei*ed b&urge&i( '&r(hip &) earlier ultural )igure( that kept Ru((ia &riented t&- and thu( (tuk in- the pa(t. Many member( &) the m&(t ren&'ned gr&up &) Ru((ian )uturi(t(- kn&'n a( %ylaea &r the ub&$uturi(t(- al(& (hared (&iali(t (entiment( that in)luened their belie)(- and m&re n&tieably- their re*&luti&nary ati&n( that (er*ed a( a t&&l )&r (h&king the publi int& paying attenti&n t& their me((age. 2he ub&$uturi(t( added t& the turbulent time be)&re the re*&luti&n( &) 1,17 by taking their idea( bey&nd  pa((i*e thik &urnal( and b&&k( diretly int& the publi (phere- &)ten in (h&king 'ay(. 2he )uturi(t(3 appr&ah &) literally bringing their '&rd( t& the (treet(- interating 'ith the audiene at  per)&rmane(- and di(u((ing (ubet( that e*en l&'erla(( Ru((ian( &uld under(tand ga*e their me((age *itality- and the (petale &) their &utlandi(h beha*i&r generated a &n*er(ati&n ab&ut the )uturi(t(3 me((age. 2he )uturi(t( put int& '&rd( and ati&n( 'hat they belie*ed the )ru(trated Ru((ian ma((e( )elt- 'hih 'a( the need t& de(tr&y the &ld (y(tem t& reate a better )uture )&r all Ru((ian(- e*en i) that meant a re*&luti&n. 4pper and middlela(( Ru((ian( and many in the pre(( regarded the )uturi(t( a( n&thing m&re than h&&ligan( )&r u(ing (treet tati( 1  (imilar t& th&(e &) h&&ligan( t& gain attenti&n. 4nlike h&&ligan(- the )uturi(t( pr&laimed an ide&l&gial me((age that b&ldly (tated the pr&blem( plaguing Ru((ia diretly be)&re the re*&luti&n: an in&perati*e p&litial (y(tem that )ailed t& addre(( (&ial ine/uality. hile numer&u( (h&lar( ha*e analy6ed Ru((ian )uturi(m &*er the pa(t entury- m&(t  publiati&n( take a literary appr&ah and epl&re the )uturi(t(3 p&etry- (eeking t& eplain it( utili6ati&n &) rhyme- rhythm- and ne&l&gi(m(. 2hi( meth&d&l&gy i( under(tandable (ine )uturi(m ei(ted largely a( a p&etry m&*ement- but it &)ten )ail( t& analy6e the &mpleity &) the m&*ement- the hi(t&rial )at&r( that in)luened the )uturi(t(- and h&' they ated in their (&iety in re(p&n(e t& the(e irum(tane(. # min&rity &) (h&lar( ha*e empl&yed a hi(t&rial appr&ah t& under(tanding Ru((ian )uturi(m- &b(er*able in 8ladimir Mark&*3(  Russian Futurism: A  History - Mark D. Steinberg3(  Petersburg Fin de Siècle - and J&an 9euberger3(  Hooliganism: Crime, Culture, and Power in St. Petersburg, 19!191". 1  2he )uturi(t(3 '&rk and ati*itie( b&th re)leted the general atm&(phere in urban Ru((ia during thi( ritial peri&d and helped t& (pread idea( &) de(truti&n and re*&luti&n t& the general publi- thu( &ntributing t& the re*&luti&nary attitude( that pre*ailed in 1,17. Dr. Steinberg n&ted (&me &) the ei(ting gap( in the hi(t&ri&graphy- eplaining that the (t&ry &) 1,17 in Ru((ia (till need( t& be t&ld 'ith greater attenti&n t& the *ital &mpleitie( &) language- ulture- and meaning.; !  +n thi( e((ay- + analy6e theRu((ian )uturi(t(- primarily the %ylaean(- and their ati&n( )r&m a hi(t&rial per(peti*e in &rder t& eamine the p&litial- (&ial- and ultural irum(tane( &) prere*&luti&nary Ru((ia that en&uraged thi( reati*e gr&up and h&' they reahed &ut t& the publi ar&(( (&ial b&undarie( t& all )&r a re*&luti&n in &rder t& de(tr&y the ei(ting arhai (y(tem. 1  #l(& u(e)ul i( 9euberger3( hapter ulture <e(ieged: %&&ligani(m and $uturi(m-; in Cultures in Flu#: $ower!Class %alues, Practices, and Resistance in $ate &m'erial Russia - edited  by Stephen P. $rank and Mark D. Steinberg =Prinet&n: Prinet&n 4ni*er(ity Pre((- 1,,">- 1?5!0@. 2  Mark D. Steinberg- %oices o( Re)olution, 191*   =9e' %a*en: Aale 4ni*er(ity Pre((- !001>- ". 2  +n hi( analy(i( &) Ru((ian literature in 1,1B- L&ui( $riedland &ntemp&rane&u(ly remarked that the (tate &) Ru((ian p&liti( al'ay( in)luened the direti&n &) literature and that reently Ru((ian 'riter(3 in(piring m&ti*e 'a( antag&ni(m t&'ard the &))iial in(tituti&n(.; @  2hi( (entiment &) h&(tility t&'ard the aut&ray e(alated ar&und the turn &) the entury- in part  beau(e the rapid indu(triali6ati&n &) the 1?,0( engendered a ma&r dem&graphi (hi)t a( hundred( &) th&u(and( &) pea(ant( m&*ed t& the itie( t& '&rk in the ne' )at&rie(. 2hi( (hi)t reated a (i6able- literate '&rking la(( in Ru((ia 'h& 'ere be&ming p&litially &n(i&u( and m&re a'are &) the great (&ial ine/uality that ei(ted in the Empire3( anti/uated aut&rati (y(tem. Many p&litial partie( u(ed the(e (&ial pr&blem( a( b&th a )&undati&n and a m&ti*at&r )&r their ide&l&gie(- e(peially the (&iali(t partie( that gradually gained in p&pularity bet'een the 1,05 and 1,17 re*&luti&n(. 2he Ru((ian S&ialDem&rati &rker(3 Party =RSDP>- 'ith 8ladimir Lenin leading the <&l(he*ik( and +ulii Mart&* leading the Men(he*ik(- gained (upp&rter( )&r it( primary )&u( &n the de(truti&n &) the t(ari(t aut&ray and it( replaement  by a dem&rati republi; that '&uld &))er a &n(tituti&n that guaranteed i*il right( in a (&iali(t(&iety. "  2he (&iali(t(3 &mmitment t& a (&ial and p&litial re*&luti&n in additi&n t& a p&litial re*&luti&n in)luened h&' many Ru((ian( th&ught and attrated many )&ll&'er(- inluding member( 'h& later beame )uturi(t(- (uh a( 8a(ilii Camen(kii and 8ladimir Maiak&*(kii. 5 2he ri(e &) h&&ligani(m = +uliganst)o > repre(ented an&ther re(ult &) Ru((ia3( dem&graphi (hi)t ar&und the beginning &) the t'entieth entury and 'a( a (&ial pr&blem later a((&iated 'ith the )uturi(t( )&r their un&rth&d& and pr&*&ati*e idea( and ati&n(. #r&und 1,00 the upper la((e( 3  L&ui( S. $riedland- #(pet( &) Ru((ian Literature =+>-; -e Russian Re)iew  1-1 =$eb. 1,1B>: 1". 4  2he Pr&gram #d&pted by the Se&nd &ngre(( &) the RSDP- #ugu(t 1,0@ in  A Source  oo+ (or Russian History    From /arly -imes to 191*  - *&l. @- ed. e&rge 8ernad(ky et. al.- =9e' %a*en: Aale 4ni*er(ity Pre((- 1,7!>- 71!. 5  J&hn Milner-  A Sla' in te Face0 Futurists in Russia  =L&nd&n: Philip at(&n Publi(her(- !007>- 7. 3  &) Ru((ia &n(idered ulture; and i*ili6ati&n; t& be g&al( that (&iety &uld ahie*e thr&ugh eduati&n- m&ral de*el&pment- and re)inement. B  Pe&ple labeled a( h&&ligan(-; u(ually y&ung- l&'erla(( male(- de)ied the(e traditi&nal (tandard( &) ulture by &mmitting rebelli&u( and (&metime( *i&lent ati&n( that *i&lated the n&rm( &) Fi*ili6ed3 publi li)e.; 7  2he b&ule*ard  pre(( in St. Peter(burg ar&und 1,00 began rep&rting an e(alati&n &) h&&ligani(m- highlighting )ight(- bl&king publi (treet(- unruline((- publi int&iati&n- &b(enitie( (h&uted &n publi (treet(- the)t &) arriage 'heel(- (tabbing(- rape- ar(&n- and &ther &))en(i*e rime(. ?  2he(e  beha*i&r( are (igni)iant hi(t&rially beau(e they indiate a ri(ing di((ati()ati&n am&ng Ru((ia3( l&'er la((e( that had be&me (tr&ng en&ugh )&r illegal ati&n( and a gr&'ing paran&ia 'ithin p&lite (&iety- a( 'ell a( ehibiting the &n)lit( reated by the interati&n &) multiple (&ial la((e( &ne br&ught int& the (ame (pae: the ity.hen (&ial ten(i&n( inten(i)ied and the Re*&luti&n &) 1,05 erupted- 2(ar 9ih&la( ++ relutantly(igned the Gt&ber Mani)e(t& that permitted the reati&n &) a nati&nal a((embly- the Duma. +n(tead &) reating the repre(entati*e b&dy )&r 'hih the pe&ple alled- he limited the Duma3(  p&'er and later hi( g&*ernment in(tituted 'eighted repre(entati&n that di(riminated again(t the l&'er la((e(. # (tr&ng de)ender &) the threehundredyear&ld R&man&* m&narhy- 9ih&la( denied the pe&ple(3 re/ue(t( )&r dem&ray and (&ial re)&rm(- and 'r&te in Gt&ber 1,05 hi(  belie) that- +t i( danger&u( t& hange the 'ay that p&'er i( )&rmulated.; ,  #lth&ugh the t(ar re)u(ed t& grant the type( &) ma&r re)&rm( that '&uld /uell the demand( &) the l&'er la((e(- the 6  J&an 9euberger-  Hooliganism: Crime, Culture, and Power in St. Petersburg, 19!191"  =<erkeley: 4ni*er(ity &) ali)&rnia Pre((- 1,,@>- 11. 7  Mark D. Steinberg-  Petersburg Fin de Siècle  =9e' %a*en: Aale 4ni*er(ity Pre((- !011>- 171. 8  9euberger-  Hooliganism - 1. #l(& (ee 9eil ei((man- Rural rime in 2(ari(t Ru((ia: 2he Hue(ti&n &) %&&ligani(m- 1,051,1"-;  -e Sla)ic Re)iew  @7- ! =Jun. 1,7?>: !!,. 9  Da*id hri(tian-  &m'erial and So)iet Russia: Power, Pri)ilege, and te Callenge o(  odernity  =9e' A&rk: St. Martin3( Pre((- 1,,7>- 155. 4  g&*ernment pr&mulgated a number &) &ne((i&n( (uh a( the right t& )&rm p&litial partie(- the right t& ritii6e the g&*ernment m&de(tly- and relati*e )reed&m &) the pre((. 10  2he )uturi(t( later t&&k )ull ad*antage &) the(e ne'- albeit (till limited- right( &) epre((i&n and h&ped t& (pread their idea( am&ng the Ru((ian publi t& initiate a re*&luti&n. Re)leting le(( thana deade a)ter the 1,17 re*&luti&n(- Ru((ian p&litial and literary hi(t&rian Prine Mir(kii eplained that thi( (&)tening &) (tate en(&r(hip in 1,05 )ailitated the reati&n &) an anti p&litial indi*iduali(m; epre((ed in publiati&n( (uh a( th&(e &) the )uturi(t(- thu( &ntributing t& the demi(e &) the aut&ray. 11  #( Mark Steinberg n&ted- M&dern re*&luti&n( are eepti&nallyl&/uai&u( e*ent(. <ut '&rd( gi*e the(e =phy(ial> ati&n( (hape and (ub(tane.; 1!  2he )uturi(t( 'ere n&t a)raid t& epre((- 'hether in 'riting &r *erbally in publi- the en&rm&u( pr&blem( that  plagued Ru((ia and their (&luti&n t& the(e pr&blem(: de(truti&n &) the &ld regime.$r&m the time &) the Re*&luti&n &) 1,05 until the &utbreak &) the Marh Re*&luti&n in 1,17- a heightened )eeling &) di(tru(t t&'ard the (tagnant aut&ray mani)e(ted in a *ariety &) 'ay( am&ng the di))erent (&ial la((e( &) the Ru((ian Empire. +n(tead &) being (ati()ied 'ith the )e' right( a))&rded t& them by the t(ar- many pe&ple *&ied their di(&ntent- &ined p&litial partie(- reated li(t( &) demand( in p&litial mani)e(t&(- &r &mmitted at( &) de(truti&n again(t the (y(tem. #)ter 1,05- h&&ligani(m inrea(ed (& muh that the Mini(try &) +nternal #))air( (et up a (peial &mmi((i&n- alled the Lyk&(hin &mmi((i&n- t& in*e(tigate h&&ligani(m. +t rep&rted that bet'een 1,05 and 1,1"- riminal ati*ity had inrea(ed by &nehundred )i)ty perent. 1@  2he  b&urge&i(ie beame e*en m&re '&rried that the h&&ligan(3 &(ten(ibly anarhi(ti ati*itie( 10  . <rue Lin&ln-  etween Hea)en and Hell: -e Story o( a -ousand 2ears o( Artistic $i(e in Russia  =9e' A&rk: 8iking- 1,,?>- !7,. 11  Prine D.S. Mir(kii- Contem'orary Russian $iterature, 1331!1945  =9e' A&rk: #.#. Cn&p)- 1,!B>- 10!. 12  Steinberg- %oices o( Re)olution - 1. 13  ei((man- !!,!@!. 5
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