We Modern People: Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity (2012)

We Modern People: Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity (2012)

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Miodrag Milovanovic

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Ovo je uvodni deo knjige We Modern People: Science Fiction and the Making of Russian Modernity by Anindita Banerjee.

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Science and technology are defining modern reality by transforming not just everyday life, but the very ways in which we think and imagine. A new kind of writing called nauchnaia fantastika, scientific fantasy, is playing a not inconsequential role in this process. Is it not in the imagination where bold theories and amazing machines are first born? Along with news of the latest scientific and technological developments, therefore, our magazine will continue to present a rich panorama of meditations on their potentials that will seem anything but fantastic to those of our times.

Opening the fifth- anniversary issue of Nature and People (Priroda i liudi) in 1894, this editorial note redefined the narrative parameters of a pioneering popular science journal in Russia. Three decades later in 1923, Yevgeny Zamyatin—author of the landmark dystopian novel We (My), which George Orwell acknowledged as an inspiration for 19842—designated nauchnaia fantastika, or scientific fantasy, “the kind of literature that best commands the attention and wins the belief of us modern people.” Consequently, he proposed it as the foundational template for a “New Russian Prose” of the twentieth century:

Modern life has lost its plane reality. It is projected not along the old fixed points, but dynamic coordinates of Einstein, of the airplane. In this new projection, the best- known formulas and objects become displaced, fantastic, the familiar—unfamiliar. . . . And these new beacons clearly stand before the new literature: from “daily life” to “realities of being,” from physics to philosophy, from analysis to synthesis.

The striking continuity between the two passages reveals that a distinctive category of writing called nauchnaia fantastika, which I have translated as “scientific fantasy,” began to be recognized, produced, and consumed in Russia long before the American editor Hugo Gernsback introduced the term science fiction to the English- speaking world in 1926. Its defining features, furthermore, corresponded closely with what Darko Suvin would theorize as estrangement and cognition, the “necessary and sufficient conditions” of science fiction. While the 1894 editorial stressed that it required a modern, techno- scientific sensibility on the part of both writers and readers, Zamyatin celebrated its unprecedented potentials of defamiliarization.

Even more remarkable, however, is the fact that long before science fiction came to be called a genre in the West and merited with due critical attention, its Russian equivalent seems to have metamorphosed from a novelty of popular culture to an integral part of intellectual debates about the best way to engage with the new realities of the unfolding twentieth century.


Osim što, pom mišljenju pogrešno prevodi terimin научная фантастика, sve ostalo što spisateljica tvrdi predstavlja potvrdu onoga što smo i sami osećali - da je u Rusiji SF smatran posebnim žanrom pre nego u anglosaksonskom svetu...

Zainteresovani mogu knjigu downloadovati ovde:
http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/english/currentstudents/undergraduate/modules/en361fantastika/bibliography/2.4banerjee_a.2013we_modern_people-science_fiction_and_the_making_of_russian_modernity.pdf

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Lidija

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Osim što, pom mišljenju pogrešno prevodi terimin научная фантастика, sve ostalo što spisateljica tvrdi predstavlja potvrdu onoga što smo i sami osećali - da je u Rusiji SF smatran posebnim žanrom pre nego u anglosaksonskom svetu...

Pa, nismo baš samo „osećali“  :) , zar nije Jevtra još odavno našla i postovala nekakav ruski tekst da se taj termin koristio znatno pre Zamjatinove distopije „Mi“... a ako je postojao termin, garant je postojao i korpus na koji se referiše.
Ono što nam (meni bar) je ostalo nejasno je – na koji se tačno korpus taj termin referisao?

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Miodrag Milovanovic

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Pa, evo sta kaze autorka:

The scientific and technological revolution in the West coincided with a veritable explosion of popular print culture in Russia. From the late 1880s, which Jeffrey Brooks, in his seminal study of media and literacy, calls the “peak period of periodical publication,” science and technology began to emerge as the primary indices of a rapidly changing world that Russian newspapers and magazines hastened to bring home to their audience. Reports about groundbreaking technoscientific advancements occupied dramatically increasing space in large- circulation and limited- edition journals alike. In the illustrated weekly The Field (Niva), which Brooks notes “was read by an audience that extended from primary schoolteachers, rural parish priests, and the urban middle class to the gentry,” coverage of science and technology increased from about 10 percent in the mid- 1880s to more than 50 percent in 1900. The European Herald (Evropeiskii vestnik), a bastion of progressive thought previously devoted to philosophy and literature, also began to carry long features about the latest discoveries and inventions. From 1891 onward, The Field began to offer a special supplement on popular science every month.
 The strongest indicator of this trend was the appearance of magazines such as Nature and People, which programmatically devoted themselves to making the esoteric fields of science and technology accessible to the lay reader. Nature and People was followed not only by Around the World (Vokrug sveta), which continued publication through the Soviet period and is still read in Russia today, but also numerous other periodicals such as Argus, Scientific Review (Nauchnoe obozrenie) and The Journal of the Latest Discoveries and Inventions (Zhurnal noveishchikh otkrytii i izobretenii). Publications dedicated to specific subjects that particularly excited the public imagination, such as physics, astronomy, paleontology, electricity, medicine, and flight, occupied a special niche in the new market of popular science magazines. Aviation Herald, which carried Tsiolkovsky’s science fiction, began circulating soon after the Wright brothers’ first flight and targeted aspiring professionals as well as amateurs. As proudly noted by the editors of Nature and People, most of these publications freely conflated journalism and speculative writing.
 A shared lexicon of science and technology created an unprecedented bridge between cosmopolitan intellectuals and the burgeoning middle classes, Petersburg and the provinces, urban consumers and “rural primary schoolteachers and parish priests,” professional scientists and amateur enthusiasts, and most significantly, writer  and their public. This heterogeneous collective constituted the first implied and real audience of science fiction in Russia. They devoured translations of Jules Verne, Camille Flammarion, and H. G. Wells, serialized alongside Russian science fiction writers on the pages of the same periodicals that also carried news about the latest techno- scientific developments, speculated about their implications, advertised technological trinkets, and announced demonstrations of scientific marvels. Despite, or perhaps because of, the uneven manifestations of technological modernization in everyday Russian life, science fiction became the self- identified narrative of a new imagined community that Zamyatin called “we modern people.”

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Lidija

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Pa da, ali ostalo je nejasno da li je to bio korpus pod uticajem eventualno prevođenog  Verna ili nekakav sasvim samostalan...
A sasvim je moguće i da je bio samostalan, to je doba ranog futurizma generalno.

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Miodrag Milovanovic

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Ja bih rekao da je prevođeni Vern bio veoma značajan, ali bilo je tu i autohtonih dela. Ima toga na netu...