The revival of the Olympic games in 1896 and the subsequent rise of modern athletics prompted a new, energetic movement away from more sedentary habits. In Russia, this ethos soon became a key facet of the Bolsheviks' shared vision for the future. In the aftermath of the revolution, glorification of exercise persevered, pointing the way toward a stronger, healthier populace and a vibrant Socialist society. With interdisciplinary analysis of literature, painting, and film, Faster, Higher, Stronger, Comrades! traces how physical fitness had an even broader impact on culture and ideology in the Soviet Union than previously realized. From prerevolutionary writers and painters glorifying popular circus wrestlers to Soviet photographers capturing unprecedented athleticism as a means of satisfying their aesthetic ideals, the nation's artists embraced sports in profound, inventive ways. Though athletics were used for doctrinaire purposes, Tim Harte demonstrates that at their core, they remained playful, joyous physical activities capable of stirring imaginations and transforming everyday realities.
About the Author
Timothy Harte is a professor of Russian at Bryn Mawr College. He is the author of Fast Forward: The Aesthetics and Ideology of Speed in Russian Avant-Garde Culture, 1910–1930 and the coeditor of Women in Soviet Film: The Thaw and Post-Thaw Periods.
“This is a lively and engaging study that explores the impact ofsports on the cultural world of both pre- and postrevolutionary Russia. The numerous analyses of works from the worlds of literature, film, cinema, and photographyare both fresh and insightful.”—Barry Scherr, Dartmouth College
“An exciting, thoughtful volume, with a wide-ranging purview, impressively thorough research, original perspective, eloquently bold collocation of pertinent texts, and many fascinating aperçus. This eminently readable study is a must for Slavists and lovers of sport.”Helena Goscilo, The Ohio State University