Here will be a garden-city: utopian image of a city in the Uralmash plant newspaper

Elena Efremova

Abstract


The article introduces the previously unstudied heavy engineering Uralmash Plant newspaper Za Tyazheloye Mashinostroyeniye published between 1934 and 1937; the newspaper is studied as a meta-text and a historical literary source where the editors and party leaders created a utopian image of an ideal city. During the period in question, L. L. Averbakh was secretary of the plant party committee and later secretary of the Ordzhonikidze district committee of Sverdlovsk, and partook in creative writing and literary criticism. The author analyzes the stylistic peculiarities of the key text underlying utopianism in the newspaper, To Herbert G. Wells. My Country and Uralmash in 1950 that creates an image of a future city based on the comparison of an imaginative future with the most urgent issues of reality. The author makes a supposition that it was L. L. Averbakh who authored the article as he had a substantial experience of editorial work and enthusiastically participated in the newspaper publication process. The article describes the main methods the Editorial Board used to create the image of a socialist city of the future and its introduction to the reader as one existing in reality. The fact that the editors of the newspaper perceived the Uralmash Plant as a single unity is proved by the choice of lexical means employed to characterize it, namely, “the socialist city”, “our city”, “the city of Uralmash”, “the city of Soviet machines”, “the city of happiness”, “Sergo-City”, “beautiful Uralmash”. The article explores the role the Editorial Board assigned to the dwellers of Uralmash district; provided they observed the limits, they were allowed to criticize certain shortcomings, while the authors of articles used a multitude of grammar means (such as plural forms of first person proper pronouns and verbs) to create an illusion of conjoint actions. Together with the image of a new city of happiness, the newspaper of the Plant created a new calendar based on the date the Uralmash was launched which also manifested itself through other memorable dates. The shift to a new calendar is also emphasized by the constant contrast of the old world and the new one as well as the creation of an image of people of a new era. The author analyzes the image of the inhabitants of the utopian city who are described by means of constant metonymies gold and currency fund, and reveals the special everyday life canon of the first developers of the plant and determines the role the newspaper played in the process of Uralmash district population formation with them starting to realize their being a special group of people, standing higher than others up the social ladder. Additionally, the article explores the theme of childhood and the succession of generations in newspaper articles: it was children that were meant to become the lofty aim of the future for whose sake the constructors of the socialist city had to overcome so many hardships. The author singles out a number of lexical units recurrent in the articles such as happiness, joy, rejoicement used in different grammar forms to create the emotional tone of the newspaper. It turning to books published during the 1950s and devoted to the history of the Uralmash plant and to the memoirs of the inhabitants of the district leads the author to conclude that the basic elements of utopia one finds in the newspaper Za Tyazheloye Mashinostoryeniye got deeply rooted in the district’s inhabitants’ minds and formed their identity.


Keywords


utopia; Uralmash; UZTM; socialist city; garden-city; plant newspaper; factory newspaper; Za Tyazheloye Mashinostroyeniye; L. L. Averbakh.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15826/qr.2015.4.126

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