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The Writer in Russia: Individualism and the "New Emotionalism"
Abstract

Abstract:

In this essay, Medvedev attempts to connect some tendencies he sees in current Russian art, poetry, and politics. What he finds there is "the new emotionalism," an appeal on the part of poets and politicians alike to personal experience and authenticity. In part this apparently inward turn is a natural reaction to a situation in which all public debate (about capitalism, about Putin) has been eliminated; but it is also a necessary condition for the current regime to remain in power. Followers of the American literary scene—with its rash of memoirs (including fake ones), continued but debased identity politics, and frequent appeals by even the least memoiristic writers to their "sincerity"—as well as followers of the American blogosphere, with its shrill self-assertions and self-promotion, will find much that is familiar in the world Medvedev describes.