Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History

Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera

Mad Acts and Letter Scenes in Fin-de-Siècle Russia

Authors: Fishzon, A.

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About this book

In Russia at the turn of the twentieth century, printed literature and performances - from celebrity narratives and opera fandom to revolutionary acts and political speeches - frequently articulated extreme emotional states and passionate belief. A uniquely intense approach to public life and private expression - the 'melodramatic imagination' - is at the center of this study. Previously, scholars have only indirectly addressed the everyday appropriation of melodramatic aesthetics in Russia, choosing to concentrate on canonical texts and producers of mass culture. Collective fantasies and affects are daunting objects of study, difficult to render, and almost impossible to prove empirically. Music and art historians, with some notable exceptions, have been reluctant to discuss reception for similar reasons. By analyzing the artifacts and practices of a commercialized opera culture, author Anna Fishzon provides a solution to these challenges. Her focus on celebrity and fandom as features of the melodramatic imagination helps illuminate Russian modernity and provides the groundwork for comparative studies of fin-de-siècle European popular and high culture, selfhood, authenticity, and political theater.

About the authors

Anna Fishzon is Assistant Professor of History at Williams College, USA.

Reviews

“In Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera: Mad Acts and Letter Scenes in Fin-de- Siècle Russia, Anna Fishzon constructs a framework for understanding a feature of the era’s Zeitgeist: melodrama. … In this very short chapter of her work, the author explores topics of intersection rich in potential for further investigation. Fishzon’s thoughtful and provocative assertions here will appeal to readers interested in all matters Russian.” (Lois Alexander, Slavic and East European Journal, 2015)

'In this fascinating and powerfully written history of opera fans and celebrities in late imperial Russia, Anna Fishzon offers us an almost operatic landscape, filled with compelling stories and important arguments about modern public life, the commercialization of art, sexuality and gender, emotions (especially fantasy and desire), and the meanings of key cultural questions such as sincerity and selfhood. This is an essential and compelling contribution to our growing knowledge and understanding of the Russian experience at the end of the old regime and of the tumultuous world of the European fin de siècle more broadly.' - Mark D. Steinberg, Professor, Department of History, University of Illinois, USA

'This book is an original and unusually informative study of Russian opera and its fans in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. Though this period is probably the best-studied in all of Russian history, Fishzon has found an unexplored view on it and discovered an untapped body of archival material. She focuses on fans, groupies, and sponsors of Russian private opera theaters, and she reads their documents by using interpretative concepts that are informed by the studies of mid- twentieth century Hollywood fandom. As it happens, this meeting between national cultures and historical periods has produced fascinating results. I enjoyed reading this book and eagerly recommend it to students of Russian and European music, theater, and culture.' - Alexander Etkind, Professor of Russian Literature and Cultural History, University of Cambridge, UK


Table of contents (7 chapters)

  • Introduction

    Fishzon, Anna

    Pages 1-18

  • Entrepreneurs and the Public Mission of the Russian Private Opera

    Fishzon, Anna

    Pages 19-46

  • Russia’s New Celebrities: Offstage Narrative and Performance

    Fishzon, Anna

    Pages 47-78

  • Deviant Audiences and the Feminization of Fandom

    Fishzon, Anna

    Pages 79-111

  • Authenticity in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, or, How the Gramophone Made Everyday Life Operatic

    Fishzon, Anna

    Pages 113-147

Buy this book

eBook $79.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-137-02345-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-137-02344-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $99.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-349-43820-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Fandom, Authenticity, and Opera
Book Subtitle
Mad Acts and Letter Scenes in Fin-de-Siècle Russia
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History
Copyright
2013
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan US
Copyright Holder
Anna Fishzon
eBook ISBN
978-1-137-02345-2
DOI
10.1057/9781137023452
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-137-02344-5
Softcover ISBN
978-1-349-43820-4
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XVIII, 273
Number of Illustrations
3 b/w illustrations
Topics