Rigorously argued and wonderfully written, this book compares the emerging ideas of a literary market in Russia and Poland. The material is well chosen, the analysis convincing and insightful. A wide range of readers, including Slavists and students of culture . . . will learn from its intellectual high spirits and very smart ideas.
In this ground-breaking book, Beth Holmgren examines how—in turn-of-the-century Russia and its subject, the Kingdom of Poland—capitalism affected the elitist culture of literature, publishing, book markets, and readership. Rewriting Capitalism considers how both “serious” writers and producers of consumer culture coped with the drastic power shift from “serious” literature to market-driven literature.
The book combines sophisticated scholarship with solid research and an elegant conversational style that smoothly embraces the most difficult analytical concepts.
Nothing like this book exists right now, and I cannot imagine who in Slavic [studies] would have the command of both Russian and Polish sources, as well as the necessary knowledge of the two cultures, to author anything comparable.
What happens to Russian and Polish literature in the contemporary climate of commercialization? . . . Holmgren's book manages, seemingly effortlessly, to span literary analysis, historical insights, as well as a lively commentary on book production, while not losing sight of the central issue: what happens when a book becomes a product in cultures that revere books and writers.
In this ambitious examination of the impact of capitalism on Russian and Polish literature at turn-of-the-century, . . . Holmgren has produced a timely, original, insightful and accessible book. . . . A wide range of readers will derive any number of insights from this concise, sophisticated, and engaging work.
It is good to see a study of the Russian Empire that gives serious treatment to a non-Russian culture.
This book has much to offer a wide audience of literary scholars and historians. Holmgren has used her prodigious linguistic skills to write a fascinating study of Russian and Polish literary culture. In the process, she has asked us all to rethink our understanding of what really divides Europe into East and West.
... well-written and engaging. Its comparative method is successful: ... an elegant and thoughtful study that will surely give rise to further research in the years to come.