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Catalog Archive / Spring 2020

Faster, Higher, Stronger, Comrades!
Sports, Art, and Ideology in Late Russian and Early Soviet Culture

Winner of the 2021 AATSEEL Best Book in Cultural Studies Prize, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages (AATSEEL).

“This is a lively and engaging study that explores the impact of sports on the cultural world of both pre- and postrevolutionary Russia. The numerous analyses of works from the worlds of literature, film, cinema, and photography are both fresh and insightful.”
—BarryScrr, Dartmouth College

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.


Tim Harte. 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.




“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

“A beautifully researched and significant contribution to our understanding of part of the DNA of early Soviet culture.”
Australian Slavonic and East European Studies

“Provides tremendous insight and analysis. . . . A great read. . . . Harte fills in the gaps of collective historical memory with this examination of athletics and art in a nation shrouded in secrecy for much of the past century. While artistic renditions of Babe Ruth, Jesse Owens, and Rocky Marciano celebrated American culture, we now can learn more about their Russian/Soviet counterparts thanks to Harte’s multidisciplinary efforts.”
Journal of Sport History



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Edited by Julie A Buckler, Julia A. Cassiday, and Boris Wolfson

Faster, Higher, Stronger, Comrades!: Cover art of a painting of men running across a track, with a woman wearing a white dress watching from the side. Above and below the painting are orange blocks, in which the title text is proclaimed in contrasting white font.

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July 2020
LC: 2019044435 GV
328 pp. 6 x 9
30 b/w illus.

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Cloth $79.99 S
ISBN 9780299327705
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