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Worlds of Memory
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Postsocialist Nostalgia and the Politics of Heroism in Czech Popular Culture
190 pages, 8 illus., bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-78920-628-9 $120.00/£89.00 / Hb / Published (February 2020)
eISBN 978-1-78920-629-6 eBook
“Pehe’s velvet retro argument is a compelling new take on memory politics in postsocialist Eastern Europe, and the book is very much a work of cultural studies…a well-argued book that scholars of postsocialism will find of great interest.” • Journal of Contemporary History
“[The volume] constitutes a highly valuable contribution to the literature on the memory of the socialist past and the elements of nostalgia and retro in this memory. It also offers a new, more reflective, analytical reading of nostalgia by introducing an analytical understanding of ‘retro’ and the ‘remains of socialism’.” • H-Soz-Kult
“Velvet Retro draws surprising and illuminating connections between various aspects of postsocialist culture and politics. It innovatively combines the history of popular culture, film and literary studies, memory studies, and comparative nationalism to establish a novel connection between retro aesthetics and postsocialist political culture.” • Pavel Kolář, University of Konstanz
“A wide-ranging record of the cultural causes célèbres in the Czech Republic since the fall of Communism, this book studies what they show about how Czech artistic and media elites and the general public have chosen to commemorate the Communist period. It usefully resonates with the perceived disconnect—currently widespread internationally—between a metropolitan elite and the masses.” • Rajendra Chitnis, University College, Oxford
Scholars of state socialism have frequently invoked “nostalgia” to identify an uncritical longing for the utopian ambitions and lived experience of the former Eastern Bloc. However, this concept seems insufficient to describe memory cultures in the Czech Republic and other contexts in which a “retro” fascination with the past has proven compatible with a steadfast critique of the state socialist era. This innovative study locates a distinctively retro aesthetic in Czech literature, film, and other cultural forms, enriching our understanding of not only the nation’s memory culture, but also the ways in which popular culture can structure collective memory.
Veronika Pehe is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the Institute of Contemporary History of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
Subject: Cultural Studies (General)History: 20th Century to PresentFilm and Television StudiesMemory Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe
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