The pursuit of collective happiness was considered a utopian ideal that structured many aspects of Soviet culture, a fact recognized by numerous scholars in various disciplines ranging from cultural and literary studies to sociology and political science. Several groundbreaking studies in the literary and cultural history of the former Soviet Union have changed our understanding of the Soviet past. However, none of these studies has paid attention to an important theme in the cultural history of Soviet society the pursuit of happiness. Although specialists in Soviet culture repeatedly invoke various manifestations of happiness in works of literature and film in their research, it has yet to be investigated as the subject of a full-fledged independent study.Petrified Utopia redresses this inexplicable omission. This collection of essays introduces the Western reader to the most representative ideas of happiness, and the common practices of its pursuit that shaped Soviet everyday life and cultural discourse from the early post-revolutionary years to the later period of Stalinist and post-Stalinist culture. The collection presents different manifestations of happiness in literature and visual culture from childrens literature to the official and high literary cannon, from architecture to fine arts, from postcards to cookbooks, and from the culture of consumerism to product-paradise in Soviet posters. Petrified Utopia features articles by the leading specialists in the study of Soviet culture from the UK, the US, Germany and Italy, and addresses the perplexing lack of scholarship on this important issue.
Happiness Soviet Style