The Enemy on Trial: Early Soviet Courts on Stage and Screen

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9780875802664: The Enemy on Trial: Early Soviet Courts on Stage and Screen
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Attempting to indoctrinate the public into a new society, the Bolsheviks staged "show trials" - legal trials that incorporated theatrical elements such as coached defendants, memorized scripts for confession, and gruelling interrogatory "rehearsals". This genre of legal spectacle, whose origins lay in Soviet theatre and cinema of the 1920s, moved from mass public spectacles to the courtroom, as the Bolsheviks sought to effect ever greater social change. In this interdisciplinary study, literature scholar Cassiday argues that the trials deliberately used avant-garde drama and cinema to educate the citizenry about the new social order. This work examines how elements of theatre and film were incorporated into Soviet courtrooms, turning public trials into vehicles for propaganda. Unlike scholars who have emphasized either the performative or the legal aspects of show trials, she gives equal weight to both. Drawing on a variety of popular media from the 1920s, she reveals the origins of the show trials; melodramatic legal discourse built around confession, repentance, and pleas for reintegration into Soviet society. She shows how techniques such as costuming, scripting, out-takes, editing and the framing of shots contributed to the spectacle. Detractors have long discredited the show trials as legal fiction, ultimately throwing into question the legitimacy of the entire Soviet regime. Cassiday shows, however, that the mixture of theatre and the law is not unique to the Soviets, but is a pairing long exhibited in the West as well, in media events like the Nuremberg trials and Scopes "monkey" trial.

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"A work of innovative and effective scholarship that not merely enlightens its subject but is a joy to read."--Slavic Review

"Densely researched and imaginative.... The chapters on cinema open up new territory and introduce many works hitherto untreated in the literature."--Russian Review

"An original contribution to our understanding of Soviet culture...a sharp book about an engrossing subject."--James von Geldern, Macalester College

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Book Description Cornell University Press, United States, 2000. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. Attempting to indoctrinate the public into a new society, the Bolsheviks staged show trials-legal trials that incorporated theatrical elements such as coached defendants, memorized scripts for confession, and grueling interrogatory rehearsals. The genre of legal spectacle, whose origins lay in Soviet theater and cinema of the 1920s, moved from mass public spectacles to the courtroom, as the Bolsheviks sought to effect ever- greater social change. In this intriguing interdisciplinary study, literature scholar Cassiday shows how Soviet show trials deliberately used avant-garde drama and cinema to educate the citizenry about the new social order. She examines how elements of theater and film were incorporated into Soviet courtrooms, turning public trials into vehicles for propaganda. Drawing on a variety of popular media from the 1920s, she reveals the origins of the show trials. Seller Inventory # BTA9780875802664

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