By Beth Holmgren
During this ground-breaking publication, Beth Holmgren examines how—in turn-of-the-century Russia and its topic, the dominion of Poland—capitalism affected the elitist tradition of literature, publishing, publication markets, and readership. Rewriting Capitalism considers how either “serious” writers and manufacturers of purchaser tradition coped with the drastic strength shift from “serious” literature to market-driven literature.
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Additional info for Rewriting Capitalism: Literature and the Market in Late Tsarist Russia and the Kingdom of Poland (Pitt Series in Russian and East European Studies)
I thank the family and friends who saw me through my own production and marketing phases: Virginia Holmgren, Kenneth Holmgren, Jan Holmgren, Bill Brauer, Elizabeth McKay, Ellen McKay, Steve Levine, and Jane Peppler. My daughter Jessye generously offered to retype the manuscript on numerous occasions and has given me good advice about pink book jackets. Above all, I owe this book to my husband, Mark Sidell. He knows what this project cost me, and he shared that cost with enormous patience and generosity.
Of course, the publishing industry in the West did not level the quality Page 10 and access of print culture, in the main because the reading communities it served were neither uniform nor united. Indeed, as Roger Chartier points out, the market's seemingly democratic push often forced a splinter group reaction, as readers joined by class or taste demanded specifically tailor-made publications. 50 This exemplifies a predictable sort of elite backlash, one that has recurred in Western publishing history and has textured rather than stunted the growth of the print market.
It focused on how the Russian and Polish mass-circulation press packaged the artist at the turn of the century, a period in which these quite distinct "national" cultures, so long dominated by elite production, had to adapt to a fast-developing print market. The last two chapters of Rewriting Capitalism carry out this project on a highly selective basis. Once I began work on this project, I decided to expand its purviewin part to trace the fuller scope of this transformation, in part to analyze texts accessible to American students.