cover of book

Prodigal Son: Vasilii Shuksin in Soviet Russian Culture
by John Givens
Northwestern University Press, 2000
Cloth: 978-0-8101-1770-9 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-2129-4
Library of Congress Classification PG3487.U5Z67 2000
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.7344


A wildly prolific director, actor, and writer, Vasilii Shukshin (1929-74) reached more Soviets in more media than perhaps any other artist in the post-Stalinist USSR. This first English-language study of Shukshin and his work is thus a portrait of the culture of Soviet Russia after Stalin. John Givens begins with Shukshin's position between cultural realms and social strata: his abandoned peasant heritage in Siberia as the son of a purged kulak on the one hand and his life as a successful artist in Moscow on the other. Givens shows how this clash of cultures and identities was both a burden and the driving force of Shukshin's art-and how it represents a central dichotomy between rural and urban culture in Soviet Russia.This work provides new terms for rereading the culture of Shukshin's time- terms that take up notions of demographic displacement, class difference, and blurred boundaries among genres, audiences, and arts.

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