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Social Science Popular Culture

Songs for Fat People

Affect, Emotion, and Celebrity in the Russian Popular Song, 1900-1955

by (author) David MacFadyen

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Nov 2002
Popular Culture, Pop Vocal
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Nov 2002
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Nov 2002
    List Price

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The author traces the careers of early singers such as Izabella Iur'eva, Tamara Tsereteli, and others who struggled to continue to perform as they fled the dangers of a Soviet society that had little patience for café-culture. MacFadyen follows their trail through Eastern Europe to Paris and London, then across to New York and San Francisco, and back into Russia through the smoky, émigré bars of colourful Chinese towns. He pays particular attention to the notion of "mass" songs inside the Soviet Union and explores the relationship of official and public approval. By looking at how these performers used success at home and abroad to become recording stars, film stars, and eventually television personalities, MacFadyen avoids the conventional dichotomies about the East Block to show the complexity of Soviet culture.

About the author

David MacFadyen is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at UCLA. He has written extensively on Soviet popular culture and is the author of The Sad Comedy of Èl'dar Riazanov and several books on Joseph Brodsky.

David MacFadyen's profile page

Editorial Reviews

MacFadyen provides a sophisticated view of Soviet popular culture that focuses on the genuine popularity of estrada and on the extent that popular appeal operated independently from, if not in opposition to the main trajectory of Soviet politics. He presents a unique and valuable perspective and there is currently nothing comparable available in English or Russian for this period. Amy Nelson, History, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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