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Revolution in Yugoslavia as the October Redux for British Political Subjectivation / Tatjana Jukić.

By: Jukić, Tatjana.
Material type: ArticleArticlePublisher: 2017Description: str.Other title: Revolution in Yugoslavia as the October Redux for British Political Subjectivation [Naslov na engleskom:].Subject(s): 6.03 | revolution, modernity, literature, psychopolitics, subjectivation | revolution, modernity, literature, psychopolitics, subjectivationOnline resources: Click here to access online In: One Hundred Years That Shook the World: Failures, Legacies, and Futures of the Russian Revolution. Skup: St. Gallen, Švicarska, 06-07.10.2017Summary: There is an instance in Eastern Approaches, Fitzroy Maclean’s memoir of his political exploits in the 1930s and the 1940s, that testifies to a peculiar profile of the Yugoslav Revolution in the British political imagination. Maclean, who was a British diplomat in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and then spent 1943-1944 in Yugoslavia as Churchill’s envoy, claims that it was only in Yugoslavia that he witnessed a revolution, which was also how he came to realize that his stay in the Soviet Union in the 1930s had not afforded him the revolutionary experience ; instead, the revolution in Yugoslavia was consistent with the Soviet films about the October that Maclean remembered watching as he was preparing for his Soviet post. This calls to mind W. Somerset Maugham’s political mission to Russia during the October Revolution. Maugham reports that the mission was a failure ; nonetheless, it prompted him to articulate a comprehensive narrative theory, which he expounds in the preface to Ashenden, or the British Agent – the book which Walter Benjamin recommended in 1934 to Mrs. Adorno, in their correspondence. I propose to analyze these two British accounts of the socialist revolution in order to explore how the Yugoslav Revolution and the October formed a peculiar psychopolitical assemblage for the British. This is important because the British political subjectivation, profiled around the specifics of the English Revolution, set the tone of many groundbreaking studies of political modernity (to mention only Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hecuba). My contention is that the Yugoslav revolution, coupled with the October, provided the British with a position from where to reconsider their political subjectivation in the 20th century as postrevolutionary in character. Also, I propose to discuss how this reconsideration was premised on acknowledging film and literature as critical instruments in the positions previously occupied by philosophy and/or theology, similarly in fact to Benjamin’s and Schmitt’s understanding of political modernity.
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There is an instance in Eastern Approaches, Fitzroy Maclean’s memoir of his political exploits in the 1930s and the 1940s, that testifies to a peculiar profile of the Yugoslav Revolution in the British political imagination. Maclean, who was a British diplomat in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and then spent 1943-1944 in Yugoslavia as Churchill’s envoy, claims that it was only in Yugoslavia that he witnessed a revolution, which was also how he came to realize that his stay in the Soviet Union in the 1930s had not afforded him the revolutionary experience ; instead, the revolution in Yugoslavia was consistent with the Soviet films about the October that Maclean remembered watching as he was preparing for his Soviet post. This calls to mind W. Somerset Maugham’s political mission to Russia during the October Revolution. Maugham reports that the mission was a failure ; nonetheless, it prompted him to articulate a comprehensive narrative theory, which he expounds in the preface to Ashenden, or the British Agent – the book which Walter Benjamin recommended in 1934 to Mrs. Adorno, in their correspondence. I propose to analyze these two British accounts of the socialist revolution in order to explore how the Yugoslav Revolution and the October formed a peculiar psychopolitical assemblage for the British. This is important because the British political subjectivation, profiled around the specifics of the English Revolution, set the tone of many groundbreaking studies of political modernity (to mention only Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hecuba). My contention is that the Yugoslav revolution, coupled with the October, provided the British with a position from where to reconsider their political subjectivation in the 20th century as postrevolutionary in character. Also, I propose to discuss how this reconsideration was premised on acknowledging film and literature as critical instruments in the positions previously occupied by philosophy and/or theology, similarly in fact to Benjamin’s and Schmitt’s understanding of political modernity.

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