Clemens Günther, Matthias Schwartz (ed./eds.)

Documentary Aesthetics in the Long 1960s in Eastern Europe and Beyond

Studies in Slavic Literature and Poetics vol. 67
Brill, Leiden 2024, 349 pages
ISBN 978-90-04-53309-7 (Print); 978-90-04-68642-7 (PDF)

This book is the first to deal with documentary aesthetic practices of the post-war period in Eastern Europe in a comparative perspective. The contributions examine the specific forms and modes of documentary representations and the role they played in the formation of new aesthetic trends during the cultural-political transition of the long 1960s. This documentary first-hand approach to the world aimed to break up unquestioned ideological structures and expose tabooed truths in order to engender much-needed social changes. New ways of depicting daily life, writing testimony or subjective reportage emerged that still shape cultural debates today.


Table of contents

  • Introduction
    Clemens Günther and Matthias Schwartz | 1–28

Part I Exposing a Painful Past: Modes of Testimony

  • “Document of the Soul:” Varlam Shalamov’s Documentary Writing in a Contemporary Context
    Franziska Thun-Hohenstein | 31–51
  • The Dreyfus Affair for Soviet Children: on the Encoded Poetics of Aleksandra Brushtein’s Documentary Prose
    Natasha Gordinsky | 52–70
  • Supplementing Evidence: Danilo Kiš’s Poet(h)ics in the Context of Yugoslav Documentarism of the 1960s
    Tatjana Petzer | 71–93
  • Hands of Time and Large Numbers in Alexander Kluge’s (Post-)Documentary Literature
    Gunther Martens | 94–114

Part II Discovering the Self and the Other: Modes of Expressing Individuality

  • Celebration and Abstraction: the Documentary Mode of Jonas Mekas’s Diary Films
    Christian Zehnder | 117–144
  • Documentary and Poetics Interwoven: Mikhail Kalik’s Cinema
    Elena Nekrasova | 145–163
  • The Technique of Documenting: on the Early Reportages of Ryszard Kapuściński and Hanna Krall
    Matthias Schwartz | 164–185

Part III Refining the Senses: Modes of Self-Reflective Artistic Practices

  • “Dramas of the Fact:” Soviet Conceptualisations of Documentary Theatre in the 1960s
    Anna Hodel | 189–216
  • “Instead of Approximate Precision—Precise Approximation:” Ian Satunovskii’s Poor Poetry
    Georg Witte | 217–240
  • Reproductions without an Original: the Self-Published Aesthetics of Cold War-Era Copies
    Sarah A. Burgos | 241–266

Part IV Exploring the Everyday: Modes of Perceiving Social Issues

  • The Trials of Documenting: Frida Vigdorova’s Notes of the Brodsky Court Proceedings
    Anja Tippner | 269–287
  • The Poetry of Mikhail Sokovnin: an Aesthetic Opposition to the “Literature of Fact”
    Ilya Kukulin | 288–310
  • “Discourses of Sobriety:” Documentary Aesthetics in Conceptual Art in the United States
    Renate Wöhrer | 311–335


International Conference
16 Jan 2020 – 18 Jan 2020

‘Firsthand Time.’ Documentary Aesthetics in the Long 1960s

ZfL, Schützenstr. 18, 10117 Berlin, Aufgang B, 3. Etage, Seminarraum

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