Designing the Bolshevik "interior": Walter Benjamin, 20th Century Moscow and the question of Soviet demarcation

Brenna Rose Santacroce


This essay looks at Benjamin's “Moscow Diary”, the record of his trip to the Soviet city in 1926-1927.  While Benjamin may have left Russia with an interest in what it allowed him to say about Europe (Gilloch, “Benjamin's Moscow”, 165), this essay will take the opposite approach, and look at what his understanding of 19th century Europe reveals about the Russian notions of the interior and the exterior in the 1920s. Moreover, it will suggest that this complex moment eluded Benjamin's framework of understanding: he approached the city from the perspective of modernity – a frame of mind that is always difficult in the Russian context.

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