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The Future of Nostalgia
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The Future of Nostalgia

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  355 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Combining personal memoir, philosophical essay, and historical analysis, Svetlana Boym explores the spaces of collective nostalgia that connect national biography and personal self-fashioning in the twenty-first century. She guides us through the ruins and construction sites of post-communist cities--St. Petersburg, Moscow, Berlin, and Prague--and the imagined homelands of ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 28th 2002 by Basic Books (first published 2001)
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e smith
Sep 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People who like to read apage and then look out the bus window for 15 minutes.
This is going to break you brains this one. I have to read a page and then think, and then read a page, and then stare into space and contemplate some shit. Anyone who quotes Walter Benjamin, and Donald Winnicott in the same book should get a star. You know how awesome theories and musings on nostalgia are? Pretty fucking awesome.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book. I like reading it for its style. I give it 5 stars for its scholarship. I disliked it for its politics, that in a very subtle way embraces Trumpism ( in a Harvard style)).

However, I am not sure of its content and the kind of politics the book backs. She writes about nostalgia in great detail. This makes the book an interesting read. What irritates me is that she writes about certain specific nostalgias. As if nostalgia is something that only happens to immigrants– to c
Apr 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A whole book devoted to the idea of nostalgia, what it is and how it works in our world. Reminds me a lot of the philosophy/criticism of Walter Benjamin. Not literary criticism per se, but profound and questioning criticism that covers the waterfront. It recalled to me wonderful books like Time and the Art of Living by robert Grudin, Shklovsky and even a bit of Sebald. A look at culture in a way Americans usually aren't exposed to it, not for academics but for anyone interested in looking at our ...more
Oct 15, 2009 is currently reading it
I want to write books like this. Basically.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016, non-fiction, culture
The Future of Nostalgia (2001) este o carte-melanj, o lectură-maraton de 400 și ceva de pagini, care îmbină memoriile personale cu istoria, filosofia și studiile culturale, având miza de a revela resorturile nostalgiei în memoria colectivă a țărilor foste comuniste. Autoarea face un periplu de-a lungul orașelor-centru ale comunismului — Sankt-Petersburg, Moscova, Berlin și Praga — fotografiind și descriind relicvele unui regim totalitar mort și explicând cauzele existenței unei nostalgii după vi ...more
Geoff Bartakovics
Jul 04, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: would-be PhD candidates
Shelves: gb-library
Just started reading, but it's kind of amazing already. seeing as I am the most pathetically nostalgic person I have to listen to in my head all day, this turns me on:

"Tracing the history of 'hypochondria of the heart' from a passing ailment to incurable modern condition, Svetlana Boym has achieved nothing less than a new area of inquiry, a new typology, the identification of a new aesthetic: the study of nostalgia. She guides us through the ruins and construction sites of post-communist cities
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reading-list, top-100
Wonderful book. I particularly liked chapter 5 and the concluding chapter.

I love this passage. It is so true about our need to slow down:

"The extreme version of the eliminational model of progress (which believes, for example, that the e-book will supplant the book altogether rather than that the two can happily cohabit in the same household) presents a kind of tunnel vision of the road toward the future. It presumes that there is no environment around that tunnel, no context, no other streets
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant.
Ron Roberts
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful beautifully written book - and a necessary one to understand the age we live in.
Excellent book to help form a background on the idea of nostalgia (trauma and fracture). I consider buying it to use as future reference :)
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A good academic analysis of nostalgia
An interesting analysis of post-Soviet Russia
Oct 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Boym is a brilliant historian that takes a sentimental, personal approach her research. Part 1 is pretty mind blowing and can be enjoyed by most readers, Part 2 and 3 get a little drier and are probably best appreciated if you have a background in the topics she discusses (Eastern European cities, and Russian literature/art, respectively). It is a long, dense book, and I am always hesitant to recommend academic press to anyone because academic history is inherently boring at times, but there are ...more
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is on my reading list to prepare for my Faculty Enrichment project this summer - looking at the effect of false and shifting borders on the storytelling in Easter and Southeastern Europe. I will be visiting Czech Republic (home away from home), Romania, Slovenia, Croatia (maybe), Serbia (maybe - time and safety allowing...) I'm flexible but that's the general plan.
Jan 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
A little verbose, but also really touching. A rare combination. Rigorously routed in the examination of monumentality, it also offers insight into the political climes and memories of the soviet bloc. I'm just so glad this book was written, even if I couldn't finish it, because it is way too dense.
Dec 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
A lovely essay on nostalgia, on what may be "the hypochondria of the heart", a longing to return to a mythical home and past. Boym focuses on Eastern Europe and Russia, but her look at the imaginary pasts we create and long for applies elsewhere as well--- e.g., the imaginary 1950s of American longing.
Jun 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I had a visceral reaction to this book that left me speechless. READ IT!
Adam Dupaski
Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Totally captivating on a personal level, and encouraging much thought as to how post-Communist nostalgia may be working in Poland.
Jan 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book.
Mar 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Proved the invaluable source of information and ideas I had hoped it would be. A constant and brilliant reference point.
Jul 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
my favorite chapter was the one about dinosaurs and nostalgia. the dinosaur is america's unicorn. but all the stuff about post-soviet architecture is interesting too.
Mar 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teacher-mandated
I actually liked this book, but then, I loved writing my master's thesis, so there's obv. something wrong with me.
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  • On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection
  • Ugly Feelings
  • Memory, History, Forgetting
  • Evocative Objects: Things We Think with
  • Cruel Optimism
  • The Cultural Politics of Emotion
  • Stigmata: Escaping Texts
  • Magic Prague
  • Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings
  • The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society
  • On Collective Memory
  • The Culture of Lies: Antipolitical Essays
  • The System of Objects
  • What Do Pictures Want?: The Lives and Loves of Images
  • Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time
  • Cafe Europa: Life After Communism
  • The Ghosts of Berlin: Confronting German History in the Urban Landscape
  • Weimar Germany: Promise and Tragedy
Svetlana Boym is the Curt Hugo Reisinger Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literatures at Harvard University, and a media artist, playwright, and novelist. She is also an associate of the Graduate School of Design and Architecture at Harvard University.

Boym's written work explores relationships between utopia and kitsch, between memory and modernity, and between homesickness and sickness of hom
More about Svetlana Boym...

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“...nostalgia goes beyond individual psychology. At first glance, nostalgia is a longing for a place, but actually it is a yearning for a different time - the time of our childhood, the slower rhythms of our dreams. In a broader sense, nostalgia is a rebellion against the modern idea of time, the time of history and progress. The nostalgic desires to obliterate history and turn it into a private or collective mythology, to revisit time like space, refusing to surrender to the irreversibility of time that plagues the human condition.” 13 likes
“As for time, it is forever shrinking. Oppressed by multitasking and managerial efficiency, we live under a perpetual time pressure. The disease of this millennium will be called chronophobia or speedomania, and its treatment will be embarrassingly old-fashioned. Contemporary nostalgia is not so much about the past as about vanishing the present.” 8 likes
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