Images of Jewishness as ethnic, cultural, and biblical categories in Vladimir Mayakovsky’s works are both plentiful and understudied. The present article attempts to bridge this gap while exploring the mechanisms that guide the poet’s responses to anti-Semitism. I begin by focusing on the function of the Exodus story in Stikhi ob Amerike(Verses about America), and then move to Mayakovsky’s “agitational” works: his collaboration on the film Evrei na zemle(Jews on the Land, 1927), and his poems ““Evrei (Tovarishcham iz OZETa)” (“Jew [To Comrades from OZET],” 1926) and “‘Zhid’” (“‘Yid’,” 1928). I argue that, while Mayakovsky continues the established practice of reshuffling the svoi-chuzhoidichotomy as it pertains to minorities in the 1920s Soviet Union, he also goes beyond it. In battling a rising wave of popular anti-Semitism, the poet both domesticates the Jew through features of the dominant culture and others the anti-Semite by ascribing to him the pejorative markers of a Jewish stereotype. As a consequence of flipping reductionist slurs, the perpetrator is himself converted into a fixed caricature.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: "Vladimir Mayakovsky's Agit‐Semitism," which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/russ.12239. This version will be under embargo until July 2021, and then may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Lavine, Ludmila. "Vladimir Mayakovsky’s Agit-Semitism." (2019) .