In the annals of the twentieth-century avant-garde, the decade following upon the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the Armistice of 1918 was distinguished by a significant shift in the relation of modernist art to radical politics. Briefly stated, it was a shift that brought about a close but uneasy and ultimately tragic alliance between modernism in the arts and socialism in politics. From this ill-fated alliance, which had far-reaching consequences for both modernist art and the future of socialist cultural policy, neither the avant-garde nor the political Left escaped unscathed. Indeed, the net effect of the principal experiments in the politicization of the avant-garde in the 1920s was to guarantee that for the rest of the twentieth century modernism would remain a special target of totalitarian cultural repression and thus peculiarly dependent for its growth and survival upon the liberties and patronage accorded by bourgeois democracy. Yet for some seven...


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