In The Moscow Diary, Walter Benjamin tries to avoid value judgments: he declares his aim is rather to "record" the facts. The objective of this article is to make explicit Benjamin's evaluation of what he sees in Moscow by confronting Benjamin's Moscow observations to his political and aesthetic expectations described in his earlier writings. First of all, Benjamin discovers some alarming political signs in Moscow, the most important of which is the growing bureaucratization. In the Moscow of 1926, neither proletarians nor even "NEPmen" (a "relic" of capitalism) are the ruling class: the power belongs to the Party bureaucracy. Benjamin's concern regarding the political situation coincides with his concern of an aesthetic kind. What Benjamin observes in Moscow contradicts his idea of the "aesthetic revolution" as carnival (see Naples). As argued by the author of The Moscow Diary, the Russian revolution generates forms of alienation even more serious than those generated by the capitalist system. The article analyzes only one motive from The Moscow Diary - that of fragmentation of bourgeois dwellings. Cohabitation in communal apartments occurs due to a lack of alternatives, and is not voluntary. As a result, the inhabitants of Moscow's communal apartments are alienated from their dwellings, and the ideal of the commune as the voluntary cohabitation of people is flouted. Besides that, the fragmentation of bourgeois dwellings coincides with the fragmentation of the "building interior," i.e. the collections of rare objects and pieces of art which were kept there previously. The only acceptable form of transformation of bourgeois interior that Benjamin observes in Moscow is its museification. Only Moscow's museums, where the proletariat feels at home, allows him to hope for a successful outcome of the Russian revolution.
Предметные области Scopus
- Гуманитарные науки и искусство (все)
- Литературоведение и теория литературы
- Вальтер Беньямин; «Московский дневник»; русская революция; буржуазные апартаменты; коммунальные квартиры; музеи.