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Raping Freedom: Pornography and Politics in the Satirical Journals of 1905-1906

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AbstractEditors of a number of satirical journals deployed images of rape to illustrate their sense that the revolution was lost after the autocracy’s bloody reprisal against workers in Moscow in December, 1905, and subsequent proroguing of the first electoral Duma in June, 1906. Tapping into the Silver Age aesthetics of decadence and eroticism, they cast Freedom as a vulnerable virgin, but did not provide heroes to protect her. Instead, they drew monstrous villains from Russian folklore that in some cases made Freedom complicitous in her violent fate. The Russian male appeared willing to return to his historical impotence, the nineteenth-century’s “superfluous man,” because he did not know what to do with the abstraction of freedom that he had desired for so long.

Affiliations: 1: Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel


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