Critical Summary: Mazower, Chapters 1-4

Beginning in the 1920s, the first four chapters of Mark Mazower’s Dark Continent describe a Europe traumatized by the First World War and caught in the thrall of a “bourgeois triumph”, heralded by the collapse of Europe’s great empires and their replacement with a “belt of democracies” stretching from the Baltic to the Balkans, each equipped with a constitution enumerating the liberal principles and rights of its citizens and leaders with the express aim of rationalizing governance and reducing politics to the management of institutions responsible for protecting and cultivating the welfare of ordinary citizens (4, 5).… Read the rest here

Battleship Potemkin and Mazower

Watching Battleship Potemkin confronted me with the raw power of a political film with no three dimensional characters. Each individual possesses individuality only inasmuch as they represent a certain aspect of a cause or argument. The child shot by the czarist soldiers and crushed by the stampeding crowd careening down the steps facing the Odessa harbor matters because of the innocence he comes to embody in the face of czarist barbarity. The same goes for the film’s protagonist, the sailor and revolutionary Vakulinchuk, whose life, death, and words all act to symbolize the fundamental goodness of the communist cause, the heroism of its leaders, so unwilling to submit to fear in the face of their totalitarian enemy that their martyrdom suffices to drive crowds into a revolutionary frenzy.… Read the rest here

Comparison of Chapter One from “Dark Continent” and the Film “October” [Revised]

 

‘Dark Continent” was written by Mark Mazower in 1998, about interwar Europe. “October: 10 Days that Shook the World” is a 1928 Russian movie commemorating the October 1917 Revolution in Russia. After giving a brief introduction about Russia in World War One, the February Revolution, and the provisional government that ensued, it goes on to show the conditions under the new government, the heroism of the Bolsheviks and finally the popular victory of Lenin, communism and the proletariat.… Read the rest here