How is the past mediated to the present via stories, and what role do artistic texts play in shaping our picture of the past?
Take a moment to think — what do you know about the Stalin-era Soviet Union?
The answer to this question does not only depend on how well you did in history class. Instead, our understanding of this period is influenced by many different circumstances. These include the society within which we live; the experiences of our friends or people we know, those who saw the time with their own eyes; the stories we have come across in and which have been mediated to us through books, films, and theatrical performances — all of these factors influence how we “remember” the Soviet era.
In this section, we will examine how the past has come to the present through stories, and what is the role of written sources and books in shaping our past.