Title

Pushkin Pushing Production: The Repurposing of Literary Tradition by Vladimir Maiakovskii & Co.

Publication Date

Summer 6-28-2018

Journal

Slavic and East European Journal

Volume

62

Issue

2

First Page

339

Last Page

358

Department

Russian Studies

Abstract

This article examines the function of Pushkin’s “Сказка о царе Салтане” [The Fairy Tale about Tsar Saltan] in Mayakovsky’s two extended ads (reklam-poemy), one co-authored with Sergei Tret'iakov and another with Nikolai Aseev. I analyze thesubtext of Pushkin’s fairy tale within the pre-Revolutionary marketing practice of engaging national identity. At the same time, the Soviet poets subvert the status of magic in fairy tales, otherwise central to the advertisements of both the late Russian Empire and Western Europe. The role of miracles becomes tension-ridden in the context of Soviet empiricism. Western cultural critics see consumerism as a reactivation of mythic powers. World fairs, for example, are divorced from the factories that make the products on exhibit. Instead, Mayakovsky and his team seek to reconnect the final consumer good with the stages that go into its production, while defending their own usefulness as poets in the assembly line.

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