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Homus Novus: The New Man as Allegory*

Natalia Skradol
This article explores the New Man as a politically and philosophically
charged ideologeme at the end of the 1920s and the beginning of the 1930s
in Germany and Russia. It argues that approaching the New Man as an al-
legory in Walter Benjamins sense of the term is helpful in understanding its
status at the crossroads of the political and utopian discourse of modernity.
This article analyzes the New Man as utopian allegory to reassess some of
the current categories in more recent debates on political utopianism.

From the end of the 1920s to the beginning of the 1930s, the political, intel-
lectual, and popular discourse in both Germany and Russia was permeated
with questions about the construction of the New Man. For both countries,
this was a post-revolutionary era; for both countries, these were the years that
preceded collapse into merciless dictatorship. Russia was nearing the period
of High Stalinism, which expressed itself in an abrupt turn from the relative
freedom of post-revolutionary years to mass terror and strict control of the
party in all spheres of life (Hellebust, Flesh 59; Clark, Petersburg 214, and The
Soviet Novel 92). Germany was in a political and economic turmoil on the
eve of the advent of National Socialism. Terror is more about practice and less
about theory, which is why I focus on the years preceding the periods of great
terror in both countries: I am interested in speculative rhetoric, in descrip-
tions of a close (and supposedly better) future in both societies, and in partic-
ular the figure of the New Man, in which, according to Gottfried Kenzlen,
the Utopian thinking of modern times was always rooted (214).1
The New Man as an ideal citizen and human being of the future
was one of the principal ideologemes in both societies that had been heavily
shaken by the recent war and their respective revolutionary experiences, a
key figure in their discussions of the better future. 2 It was, in Gerd Koenens
words, a topic of the time (Utopie 125). A significant number of scholarly
works has been written on the construction of the New Man, both as a
purely rhetorical figure and its representations in art, literature, and film.
The motif is by no means new: since the dawn of medieval theology, it has
Utopian Studies 20.1 (2009): 4174

regularly come to the foreground of religious, political, and propagandistic

discourse at turning points in the development of societies.3 Vacillations in
the presentation of the New Man in different communities and at different
epochs suggest that the way this figure is envisioned at any given moment
and within any given system is not only indicative of how a more or less ideal
future is presented, but also reflective of the governing patterns of thought
present in the given society at the time. As Raymond Bauer notes, nothing
gives a better idea of the structure of a society than its picture of man and his
position in the universe(13)especially, I would add, of the one man this
society considers to be the ideal (New) man.4
A comparison of representations of the New Man allows us to ex-
plore more thoroughly both characteristic particularities of the two visions of
the future, and some common features characteristic of European modernity
in general. The present article argues that analyzing the New Man as an al-
legory in Walter Benjamins sense of the term is helpful in exploring essential
elements in the construction of this ideologeme. I will also suggest ways in
which an examination of representational practices of the two societies can
offer a new perspective on how representations of concrete realizations of a
better future can be placed in the context of theories of utopia in political
The Russian primary texts analyzed below stem from a range of au-
thors whose work appeared in the numerous journals that flourished after the
Revolution; the German text is Ernst Jngers long essay Der Arbeiter (The
Worker, 1932). This lack of quantitative balance is explained by differences in
the nature of future-oriented discourse in both countries. In Russia, until the
beginning of the 1930s there was a great number of theories about the man
of the future ranging from exercises in spiritual self-perfection to pamphlets
calling for a sweeping reorganization of the very physiology of man. The post-
revolutionary chaos proved fecund ground for an interaction between disci-
plines on all burning issues (Clark, Petersburg 204; Bowlt 37; Rting 195).
In Germany during the Weimar Republic, the idea of the New Man was
expressed most often in the figure of an artificial human being (Biro). Pos-
sible explanations for this difference include, on the one hand, the different
level of technological development in the two countries, which predictably
made it easier to think in technical categories in the more advanced Europe,
andon the otherthe post-revolutionary atmosphere in Russia which de-

Skradol Homus Novus

manded that everything, including human nature itself, be transformed and

ultimately created anew, without there being as yet clear guidelines for such
radical innovations.
Ernst Jnger was among the most prominent thinkers of the tran-
sitional period between parliamentary democracy and Hitlers dictatorship.
His book-length essay is probably the most thorough exploration of the idea
of the New Man of the technologically advanced, but merciless, age that
he saw comingand welcomed wholeheartedly. He never became a mem-
ber of the NSDAP, and his attitude to National Socialism was never free
of certain reservations (Welge 551) although the Nazis borrowed generously
from his writings for their propagandistic purposes. The ambiguities inher-
ent in Jngers political views and his philosophy are reflected in the way he
is often defined in contemporary scholarship: sometimes he is a reactionary
modernist; at other times, he is a conservative revolutionary (Herf 74;
Welge 552). His writings are something of a link between the Weimar culture
and National Socialism, both chronologically and for the simple reason that
their author reflected the spirit of the time with astonishing precision. (See
Biro 75; Herf 74.) More pertinently for the context of the present discussion,
Jnger can also be seen as one of those who prepared a utopian territory that
henceforth comes to be occupied, or fulfilled by the fascist regimes of both
Germany and Italy (Welge 556).
Time showed that the construction of the New Man remained lim-
ited to more or less daring rhetorical exercises, which is by no means to say
that it was a purely theoretical venture. Rather, the opposite is true: the fact
that the New Man never became reality means that his rhetorical repre-
sentations were his only manifestation, albeit in a negative sense. As Stefan
Plaggenborg notes: one element is striking in the descriptions of the New
Man: it is not that the authors did not know that he was not there yet, but
rather how powerfully the new human type was expressed as a construct of
thought, almost realized in flesh and blood, even without being rooted in real
life (37). In this sense, the project was purely utopian, or ratheru-topian, a
realm of non-fact (Fowler qtd. in Holquist 112) which has no place in real-
ity, whose necessary definition [is] through absence, through the description
of what it is not (Naiman, Sex 15), and which, for this very reason, acquires
a special power as a rhetorical construction because the history of phantoms
is no less indispensable than the history of facts. It is, in any case, often more


reliable (Calasso 303).

Multiple reform practices of post-revolutionary Russia as well as late
Weimar Germany have been discussed by scholars as utopian. Thus, Basil
Kerblay goes so far as to say that the strategy of passing from utopia to the
political project and its realization constitutes for some historians the very
content of Russias modern history (97), and Richard Stites claims that it
is no exaggeration to say that almost the entire culture of the Revolution in
the early years was utopian (172). These scholars tend to use the concept
utopian negatively whereas when those actively engaged in the New Man
project in Russia called their project utopian, they did so in the positive
sense of it being future-oriented, daring, and fearless. 5 Gerd Koenen identi-
fies a more complex tendency in the German society of the transitional pe-
riod between the Weimar democracy and National Socialism with a tension
between the images of a past Golden Age and those of a glorious future, with
the utopian impulses . . . which were directed simultaneously forwards and
backwards, erratic progress and abrupt regress in one (Utopie 126).
Before we address the question of the applicability of the concept of
utopia to practices analyzed below, a workable definition is in order. Barbara
Goodwins straightforward [u]topianism depicts an ideal form of social life
which, by definition, does not currently exist has the advantage of being
non-judgmental while it helpfully subsumes a whole range of more elaborate
and more detailed definitions which would be limited to a particular genre
of utopia or a particular historical period (17). Goodwins definition also em-
phasizes a point crucial for our discussion here: at the core of utopian prac-
tices in politics and ideology, there is a depiction in the present of something
postulated as a future reality. The twentieth century saw the appearance of
quite a few landmark works on political dimensions of utopia. Some think-
ers, such as Ernst Bloch, optimistically spoke of the invigorating principle of
hope as the essence of utopian impulses while others, such as Karl Popper,
Isaiah Berlin, and Jacob Talmon, were led by the experience of the Second
World War and bloody dictatorships to identify a direct link between totali-
tarianism and utopian aspirations.
My primary methodological reference in the discussion of rhetori-
cal representations of the not (yet) existing improved version of human be-
ings will be Walter Benjamins category of allegory, which found its fullest
development in his Ursprung des Deutschen Trauerspiels (Origins of German

Skradol Homus Novus

Tragic Drama (1928). For Benjamin, allegory is a principal marker of the

modern age, that armature of modernity that holds together most disparate
experiences and phenomena and whose origin can be traced to practices of
visual expression of the seventeenth-century Baroque (681). Explaining the
difference between allegory and symbol, the two categories which, according
to him, are often confused, Benjamin writes that while the latter signifies
simply a general concept, or an idea which is different from itself, the for-
mer is a sensualized, embodied idea itself. . . . Here, the concept itself has
stepped down into the corporeal world, and we see it in the image, clearly and
directly (341). In the case of representations of the New Man, the concept
stepped down into the world not just as an illustration of an idea but as
an evocation of something which is to come, a means to shaping a certain
mode of convictions in a given society with respect to the futurehence the
socio-political relevance of these representations which, as I will argue, can be
considered allegorical in Benjamins sense.
In his notes on Baudelaire, Benjamin claimed that allegory made
its return as the main mode of representation in the nineteenth century, this
time in the form of commodity (Passagenwerk J 59:10). I would suggest that
the twentieth century saw the reappearance of allegory in numerous reincar-
nations, one of which was the figure of the New Man during the period
between the two World Wars. In a way it, too, was a commodity of a kind,
the promise of a better, as yet unknown, future packaged in the form of an
as-yet unknown human being. It is a characteristic of philosophic writings
that with each turn one stands anew before the question of representation,
writes Benjamin (207). Representation here is not to be understood in the
strictly methodological sense (as a vocabulary and a set of recognizable refer-
ences); rather, Benjamins attention to visual practices suggests that here, too,
he speaks of images that are to become pivotal at any turning point in intel-
lectual history. That for which there are as yet no clear words must first be
evoked as an image; words will come later, as names come for living beings
and objects which find their place in the world at a certain moment in the
futureonce the utopian promise has been realized. A much less theoreti-
cally inclined dictator intuitively sensed this importance of the visual when
he called to his audience to measure the first successes of his party in paving
the way towards a better future: Do not count just the number of new-born
children; measure first of all the appearance of our youth (Hitler 24). Theirs


was a well-ordered appearance, and order is exactly what we are going to

discuss now.

Order and Catastrophe

For Karl Popper, Isaiah Berlin, and Michael Oakeshott, there is a close re-
lationship between reason/ rationality, (technical) knowledge, and (forced)
order which utopian visionaries strive to introduce into society. Popper sees
the ultimate danger of utopian engineering in its tendency to overturn the
whole social structure in the name of some supreme goal, which makes it jet-
tison reason (Aestheticism, Perfectionism, Utopianism 168). Berlin and
Oakeshott, on the other hand, tend to see the core evil in utopians heavy
reliance upon rationality. Berlin warns against absolute faith in rational solu-
tions (29) while Oakeshott speaks disapprovingly of the Rationalist, who
reduces the tangle and variety of experience to a set of principles which
he will then attack or defend only upon rational grounds (10). Regardless
of whether reliance on rational reasoning is seen as potentially destructive
because utopian, or as the only plausible antidote to utopia and violence,
utopian aspirations are consistently regarded as an epitome of order by the
scholars suspicious of totalitarian tendencies. However, the relevant writings
of the first decade of Soviet power make it clear that, even though the end
goal of the proposed innovations may be efficient and ordered, there is a great
degree of disorder inherent in the representations of this goal.
For centuries, in Western Europe the human body had been regarded
as a paradigm of an ideal state order (Vhringer 208; Scheerer 24; Lffler 58;
Iampolskii, A Physiology of the Symbolic 348), the assumption being that it is
a mechanism whose superb coordination is grounded in a smooth execution
of instructions issued by the superior body parts to those whose function it
is to be simple executors. In Russia, however, this image of body politic
as an ideal model for social relations either never developed (Kharkhordin
138n41), or was discarded after the Revolution as a heritage of the long cen-
turies of exploitation or oppression. In the new society, no organ, whether
metaphorical or literal, was to be considered superior to any other. Instead
of modeling their social order on the human body, the Russian revolution-
aries regarded instead the human organism as a copy in miniature of social
relations, from which the natural consequence was that, once this order was
changed, the human body was to change too. The words of the most promi-

Skradol Homus Novus

nent Soviet child psychologist of the time, Aaron Zalkind, are representative
in this respect: the development of social reflexes of the human body, i.e. the
increasingly significant part of human physiology, is wholly defined by class
struggle within human society (The Main Problems of Pedology 111). Of
course, it means that real, i.e. scientific, medicine cannot be apolitical. In
order to ensure the precision and systematic character of its ventures, it must
first of all establish what form of social construction, what structure of social
reflexes, what form of the use and development of productive forces are most
efficient for the human body (111).
The logical conundrum was that, while it was to be expected that
the new society would produce new men, those new men were necessary in
order to produce the new society. Nikolai Bukharin warned: The fate of the
revolution now depends on the extent to which we . . . will be able to prepare
human material, which will be in the position to build . . . the communist
society (qtd. in Kosenkova 165). Once this basic premise had been accepted,
however, certainty in the much glorified ends gave way to uncertainty as to
the means needed. The material available for the production of the New
Man (Lunacharsky qtd. in Koenen, Utopie 141) left much to be desired. For
Aaron Zalkind, even the best representatives of the Soviet youth of his time
were but the first embryonic stage on the way to the people of the future
(Die Psychologie des Menschen der Zukunft 676). Alexander Bogdanov,
one of the most popular ideologues of the time and one of the most unortho-
dox interpreters of Marx, was convinced that the man of the new state was
not [yet] a human being but a larva at best (19, 16).
Great hopes in this respect were associated with science. The word
engineer, which stood for a man of practical scientific knowledge, was soon
to become synonymous with both technical and social projects and a glorious
future (Clark, The Soviet Novel 94). A professor at Moscow University, Niko-
lai Melik-Pashaev was optimistic: Science and technology, which have until
now helped people exploit other people, will make it possible in the coming
classless society to obliterate all forms of exploitation, to conquer fatigue,
sleep, old age, to postpone death by means of rejuvenation procedures, to
create a new breed of people with the use of all those means which science
and the social structure of the near future promise us (371). The man of the
future would be capable of working tremendously long shifts, and his body
would be in a nearly perpetual state of lan (Naiman, Discourse Made


Flesh: Healing and Terror in the Construction of Soviet Subjectivity 288).

There was, however, a deep paradox inherent in the image of this
perfect being. For all the vital energy that was supposed to permeate every
minute of the life of the New Man, the many references to him make it
clear that his existence was to a great extent defined by the same spirit that,
according to Benjamin, permeated the experience of the world in the seven-
teenth century, a spirit nourished by a sense of the catastrophic structure
of the world (Benjamin, Passagenwerk 59), a rupture in the continuity of
history. Except that for those who were busy developing theories of the new
world, the drama of the Revolution was by no means tragic; the end of every-
thing old and outdated was propagated as an ultimate gesture of liberation
and an opening to the potential for a better world. The catastrophe signaled
the coming of something better, so that death itself was integrated into the
composite image of the New Man. One of the leading ideologues of the
new state, Nikolai Bukharin put it in the most unequivocal terms: proletar-
ian enforcement in all its forms beginning with executions . . . is a method of
producing the communist man from the communist material of the capitalist
epoch (Bukharin qtd. in Heller 7).
Thus, the new, rationally calculated, scientifically ordered, and pre-
programmed life was to include death as its integral component. Karl Popper
warned his audience of violence as an inevitable outcome of utopian thinking
in politics (Utopia and Violence). The early Soviet references to the New
Man show, however, that deadly catastrophe was part of the very image of
the new and efficient body. Indeed, a body that does not sleep, that hardly
needs breaks from work, and for which the very process of ageing can be re-
versed can hardly be considered alive by common standards.
For all the glorification of the cult of production in the future, the
image of the Soviet New Man did not produce anything. He just expressed.
He was an allegory of the new social order. Interpreters of Benjamins allegory
have noted that its distinctive feature is that it, though expressive of a single
idea, still retains the disparate, often incongruous, and even contradictory
nature of its constitutive parts. Its sense is not grounded in similarity or
analogy, and its shape is determined by contradictory fragments which are
not combinable into an organic unity (Iampolskii, Physiology 381; see also
Arabatzis 58). Such is the early Soviet New Man: he is an expression of the
bright future, its physical reality, its emotional world, its social organization

Skradol Homus Novus

and medical progress, but there is also a promise of death embedded in that
A social order which celebrates life as the primary cult but harbors
death at its very core is far from being perfectly ordered. The anti-utopian
philosophers are right in that dreams of such order are inevitably accompa-
nied by violence, but I would argue that the emphasis in the analysis of the
connection between violence and utopia should be shifted from the future to
the present, that is, to the actual moment of representation. As the early So-
viet examples show, violence and violation of the basic laws of human nature
do not necessarily serve a distant, high ideal; rather, their chief purpose is to
be employed in the presentas tools of conviction, intimidation, or conver-
sion to the right ideology.
In Germany at the end of the Weimar Republic, there was a feeling
of catastrophe, too, but its framing within the intellectual and cultural tradi-
tion was different from that in Russia. The idea of the human body as a useful
paradigm of social order had been present there from the very dawn of the
modern era up to the end of the Nazi reign (Roth and Vogel 7; Krieck 72).
In the inter-war period in Germany, as elsewhere in the rapidly developing
West, there were some voices calling for a total organic reformation of human
nature. Fritz Duprs Weltanschauung und Menschenzchtung (Worldview and
Human Breeding), which appeared in 1926 (that is, a few years before Ernst
Jngers Arbeiter) can be taken as an example of such views. Gmelins 1932
positive review of Duprs book calls on readers to be more receptive to what
might seem like rather unconventional ideas and seeks to calm them by re-
minding them that the people who would be considered suitable for the new
breeding state have not been born yet and must first be bred (328). These,
however, are somewhat exceptional attitudes. Ernst Jngers theory of Ge-
stalt, the new type of human organization that is already making its natural
appearance and should simply be given the freedom to express itself, is more
reflective of the general attitude.
For this famous proponent of reactionary modernity, the magic word
is Eindeutigkeit. The closest English equivalent is probably unambiguous-
ness although the negative prefix un- does not have the associations of the
German prefix ein- (one) suggestive of unity in sameness. His hero of the
future, the Worker (to be understood not in the restrictive, purely produc-
tive sense but as a man of the new era, a being through whom this era realizes


itself ) is first and foremost eindeutig, and this Eindeutigkeit is realized in the
type in which the transformation begins to manifest itself (116).
For Ernst Jnger, the most expressive realization of this process of
an impending change was what he called organic construction. An organic
construction is an entity in which the artificial and the organic merge with
the precision of elements naturally belonging together but also according to
principles objectively measurable and controllable from the outside: the or-
ganic construction of the twentieth century . . . is a crystal-type formation,
and hence it requires that the type which manifests itself possess a structure
of a completely different sort. As a result, individual life becomes more ein-
deutig, more mathematical. It is, hence, not surprising that number, that is,
a precise figurebegins to play a growing role in life (137). This structure,
which is not easy to imagine, makes its appearance in the figure of a kamikaze
torpedo. Jnger does not conceal his excitement: The thought that lies at
the basis of this organic construction pushes a bit forward the essence of a
technological world by turning man himself into one of its constituent parts,
and this in a more literal sense than ever before (160). Not only man and
machine (the organic and the inorganic) but the very opposites of life and
death come together in this man-guided deadly weapon that is taken to be the
essence of the new age itself: we see that a new mankind advances towards a
decisive turning point. The phase of destruction is replaced with an efficient
and visible order (162). This phase is somewhat similar to how they come
together in the figure of the Soviet new man, who is expected to rise to life
after the last of the enemies of the regime has been shot.
Michael Holquist identifies a simplification, a radical stylization of
something which in experience is of enormous complexity as one of the
central features of literary utopia (110). As it appears, simplification is just
as central in political utopias, of which the combination of the organic and
the inorganic in the New Man ideologeme (with a heavy emphasis on the
latter) is indicative. Helmut Lethen points out that many European intellec-
tuals of the time were fascinated by the form [Gestalt] with simple outlines.
It enter[ed] the stage, free from a complex depth structure of the soul, as a
metallic body relieved of the organic (Lethen 53). And it is in this much
desired Eindeutigkeit that the allegorical nature of the New Man is mani-
fested most clearly as a still-abstract idea expressed in a combination of the
uncombinable, a wholeness which displays the incongruity of its parts, which

Skradol Homus Novus

puts forth the figure of a human being who contains more than his own or-
ganic being.
The striving towards simplification, even at the expense of letting
the non-organic and the deadly outweigh the organic, is part of the urge to
achieve a total unification of experience, which is the basis of the totalitarian
impulse according to such thinkers as Karl Popper. In her critical assessment
of theories linking utopia and totalitarianism, Goodwin points out that Pop-
pers criticism of the utopian world view was primarily methodological (the
same would probably be true of other anti-totalitarian philosophers) insofar
as for him changing society gradually was more scientific and ultimately
more justified than the sweeping, totalizing changes of the scholar associated
with utopian aspirations (Goodwin and Taylor 94). Simplification can be re-
garded as one of these methodological issues with possible consequences for
introducing a new type of order in analysis as well asat a different level
in social structures. It is, however, not just about methodology as a way of
processing information. Insofar as methodology refers to ways in which phe-
nomena are assessed and experience is organized, it ultimately concerns itself
with issues of order, whether in socio-political terms or with reference to the
tools applied. In the specific context of political utopia, the New Man may
be a marker of absence, of the utopian no-fact since he does not exist and is
unlikely to be constructed in the future, but he has an immediate relevance in
the present insofar as this ideologeme announces a certain type of methodol-
ogy, an organization of thought and action in the present. The simplification
of thought and action, the introduction of death in the very core of human
existencethese are models of existence propagated at an actual moment
and, for this particular moment, usually introduced in the most visually ac-
cessible manner in order to make them more convincing.

The Importance of Visual Representation

In an article in published in 1940, Mulford Sibley seeks to make his readers
sympathetic with utopian practice by stating that utopia, in fact, is nothing
more than an attempt to show by concrete illustration in an hypothetical
society how principles of what ought to be would work out (172). Showing
how is, indeed, crucial in utopian discourse even though, as we will see, the
end result of such illustrations is not always harmless. As Russell Berman con-
cludes, it is visual form that will, in Jngers modernist account . . . guarantee


the authority of fascist domination (62). In both Jngers essay and the Rus-
sian texts, a great significance is attached to the issue of the external appear-
ance of the New Man, which is in line with Benjamins model of allegory as
a technique of visual representation, even when the means of communicating
it to the audience is writing rather than painting or sculpture.
The Russian sources are usually quite striking in the precision of their
description of human creatures which, as they themselves confess, are in all
probability not to be expected to appear until the final victory of commu-
nism, which means for at least a few more generations. Aaron Zalkind must
be very confident in his prognosis to devote such a long section of his essay to
the external appearance of the man of the future:
The man of the commune will most probably be
smaller than todays descendants of thousands
of years of physical labor which required
strong bones and muscles. But as he becomes
smaller, the proportionality of his body and
his flexibility will increase, and by means of
a more refined use of his bones and muscles
he will reach a perfection of which we do not
even dare to dream. The sense organs of the
communist man will perfect themselves in an
extraordinarily significant way. The possibility
of acquiring multiple impressions and the
richness of the surrounding world will lead to
the highest refinement of the sense organs.
(Die Psychologie 671)

The psychologist has little reservation about providing such detailed infor-
mation even though he acknowledges the obvious difficulty of imagining a
supreme being so different from his contemporaries since todays man, even
the best one, is still hardly attractive, and, based on todays average human
being, it is very difficult to make conclusions about the man of the future,
for whom we are now breaking our heads, for whom our hearts are beating!
(Die Psychologie 608609). No wonder there is hardly any basis for com-
parison between the man of today and the man of the future, since now it
is difficult even to imagine the tempo of the development of technology, the
very process of work, and the whole life of the man of the future relieved of
the burden of sleep and fatigue (Melik-Pashaev 383).

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So close did the man of the future seem from these descriptions that
some people actually felt the need to take the final step from a detailed ver-
bal representation to an actual visual portrait. Thus, Anton Makarenko (who
was mythologized by later Soviet historiography as the one who turned the
street children of the 1920s into real, new communist men by means of
disciplined labor and communal life) aspire[d] to find finished drawings of
personality types and then work according to them. They d[id] not yet exist
but, Makarenko hope[d], Soviet social science [would] supply them soon
(Kharkhordin 201). Otherwise, Makarenko explained, it was difficult for him
to model his raw material, the teenagers in his care.
Descriptions of the people of the future are many, and most of them
include the admonition that it is by no means easy to imagine these never-
sleeping, always-laughing, tirelessly-working, fearlessly-fighting beings. This
gap between the present moment and the ideal future, or, to borrow Got-
tfried Kenzlens apt phrase, the tension between the already-now and not-
yet (56), constitutes one of the most interesting parts of the Soviet utopian
project in terms of its representational strategy. If the mind of most people
falls short of imagining the external appearance as well as the physiology of
their successors, then it is logical to suppose that a particular social and even
spiritual role must be attributed to those who have the capacity to imagine
the as-yet unimaginable.
As a general comment on representations of the New Man, it can
be said that the greater the gap between the familiar present and the quite
horrifying ideal of the future, the more intense the experience of visual per-
ception is likely to be. As Jacob Talmon has remarked, [t]he higher the valid-
ity claimed for the objective pattern, the wider the powers and the fewer the
men to whom these powers may be granted (9). Here, Talmon discerns one
of the dangers of utopian, and potentially totalitarian, thought. In a simi-
lar vein, discussing the function of sovereignty in the Hobbesian project of
the ideal state, Mikhail Iampolskii notes: the more decisively an organic,
natural similarity disappears, the greater the need of a law-giver to guarantee
the truthfulness of names (Physiology 228). The law-giver to guarantee the
truthfulness of names is none other than an ideologue, the one who has both
the ability and authority to develop otherwise arbitrary attributes and defini-
tions (names) in a way that would bestow upon them the status of law (i.e.,
guarantee the[ir] truthfulness).


We thus enter the realm of legitimization, which inevitably plays

a central role in any political practice that endeavors to achieve a total sub-
mission on the part of subjects. Popper in his critique of totalitarian think-
ing draws an opposition between rationalist argumentation and the utopian
desire to introduce sweeping changes, changes which are often backed by
violence or even persuasive propaganda (Utopia and Violence 356). He
suggests that, at least in certain situations, propaganda can be equated with
non-rational, and potentially violent, argumentation. This thesis acquires an
additional dimension when examined in the context of the descriptions of
the New Man in the first post-revolutionary years in Russia and the Soviet
As the images and the many descriptions of the New Man actually
come to be considered as a possible basis for social transformations, they are
used to legitimize utopian endeavors. That is, visions of the future, however
fantastic they may be, acquire the value of a nearly scientific, rational ar-
gumentation once they refer to supposedly scholarly, detailed descriptions.
An Englishman who visited Russia in 1929 pointed out in this connection:
They simply assume the existence of many things which they wish for them-
selves and act as if their assumption were reality (E. J. Dillan qtd. in Plaggen-
borg 29). In this case, the images of the New Man become, indeed, useful
incorporations of an idea, as Benjamin emphasized with relation to the
allegorical constructions, whereby it is, literally, the corporeal, physical aspect
of the images that serves as a point of quasi-scientific, objective reference for
a propaganda of utopian fantasy.
Ernst Jnger believed he could identify the first signs of the old or-
der falling apart in the visual representation of human beings in painting.
In them, he saw none other than images of transience, that is, things of
which degeneration is part . . .signs of degeneration (59). For Jnger, what
is perishing in this crisis is the diversity of expressions of human nature, a
fact which meets with his undisguised approval. Jngers representative of the
coming age is the very opposite of the sensitive, thoughtful, doubting, ner-
vous hero of the previous generations. Probably the most frequently quoted
passage from the book reads as follows:
What first strikes on the simple physiognomic
level is the mask-like rigidity of the face,
which is acquired to the same extent as it is

Skradol Homus Novus

emphasized and increased by means of external

signs such as the absence of a beard, hairstyle,
and closely fitting headgear. This mask-like
feature, which works metal-like in men while in
women it makes a more cosmetic impression,
is indicative of a very significant process. This
can be concluded from the fact that even the
forms through which gender manifests itself
physiognomically are blurred by the mask-like
expression. By the way, it is not a coincidence
that the mask has recently started to play a role
in our daily life yet again. (117)

The author then adds that this mask-like nature is to be observed not only in
the physiognomy of an individual, but in his whole body although he him-
self concentrates mostly on the face (117). This face manifests hardly any hu-
man feelings, and it is understandable why some researchers link the fascist
ego to the Weimar cyborg, and allow us to see him as a source of authoritarian
anxiety and aggression (Biro 75).
Docker and Subhash emphasize that the twentieth century was
perhaps one of the most visual and visualized time-spaces . . . in our his-
tory (2). Both Jnger and Benjamin were sensitive to this particularity of the
age, to the call of the future manifesting itself in technologies of the visual
(Mikhailovskii; Berman; Koepnick 166, 173). Mikhailovskiis statement in
his analysis of Jngers essay is just as applicable to Benjamin: Vision . . . is
not an arbitrary intellectual act; rather, it has an essential character, assuming
that things can be in fact transformed. From this statement, a direct line can
be drawn to the utopian technique of using unexpected visual patterns, in
which Laurence Davis discerns the positive alternative to the devastatingly
monotonous verbal argumentation of contemporary politics: [f ]or what is
required under the circumstances is not simply logic, but a form of persuasive
communication that will reshape the images that people see, and over time
generate in them new habits of vision and new patterns of desire (83).
The Jngerian allegorical structure of the New Man includes a kind
of representational technique which is substantially different from the classi-
cal model of emphasizing the characteristic features of an individual. Jnger
organizes his descriptions of the new breed of men around the concept of
invisibility. Both as a technique of representation and as a feature of external


appearance it is integrated into the very nature of this new creature, whose
face has been replaced with a mask so that those observing him are confront-
ed with a kind of negative contemplation, a contemplation of nothing
(Iampolskii, Physiology 421). To continue Benjamins line of thinking, we can
say that the Baroque allegory with its total visibility is followed by the allegory
of a capitalist commodity with its closed interior which offers its content as a
reward to anyone willing to purchase itthat is, to perform an interpretative
act. In the twentieth century, a third type of allegory appears: a (pre-)totalitar-
ian composite image with all the parts completely exposed but where there is
nothing to see except a total faceless sameness.
Popper borrows the term open society from Henri Bergson, who
used the term metaphorically to refer to a flexible social organization with
transparent social mechanisms (The Two Sources of Morality and Religion, esp.
227229). The topics of transparency, of total visibility, and of openness are
just as central to the cultural discourse of the first half of the twentieth century
as they are basic to the concept of utopia (Gomel and Weninger); remarkably,
it was exactly in the two societies with clearly expressed totalitarian tenden-
cies that the related ideas of transparency and openness (or their opposites)
acquired special popularity. Whether as a biological mechanism open to any
type of transformations, or as a mannequin-like entity with its face an expres-
sionless mask to be observed in the rigid predictability of its movements and
reactions, these New Men are images exposed to anybodys eye and not
expected to have anything intimate or unknown about them, for the simple
reason that there is nothing about them that is alive.
Postulating the New Man as a visible entity thus functions as a
stand-in for practices of an open, i.e. democratic, society with the methods of
creating an ordered system completely exposed. It also poses as a legitimation
of imagination as a political practice whereby the borders between the literal
and the metaphoric/ symbolic/ allegorical are blurred and free space is thus
created for what might seem like a free play of imagination. Postulating that
what looks like a play of fantasy now will find its literal embodiment at some
moment in the future is essentially a utopian strategy. However, as we will see,
here, too, the actual focus is on the present moment rather than the future:
constructing entities of the future is but a strategy which allows the structur-
ing of modalities of thinking in the present.

Skradol Homus Novus

The Fantasy of Utopia: The Literal and the Metaphoric

There is a fine line between descriptions of the New Mans many enticing
attributes as rhetorical device and the implication that such attributes refer to
actual features of human beings of the future. I would say that it is exactly on
this borderline between the metaphoric and the literal that their significance
for the discourse of the time is best disclosed. Thus, the elements described
are readable both as features of the new body (as not yet existing, part-man
part-machine) and as code names for certain phenomena, as yet unimagi-
nable. Thus, they break the wholeness of any ordered system of references. In
other words, their nature is allegorical par excellence. Conversely, in so far as
the New Man can be regarded as an allegory of the new order, his very be-
ing is essentially language, because allegory is expression, the way language
is expression, or just the way writing is (Benjamin 339). As a creation of lan-
guage, the New Man is firmly planted in the fantasy of those who postulate
his being in the world, those who write, talk, and read about him. In the eyes
of defenders of utopia (Laurence Davis [79] and Michael Holquist [110]),
the need for developed fantasy, playfulness, and vivid imagination in the pres-
ent is exactly the feature that guarantees utopia a place of honor among the
many techniques of introducing productive visions of a better future. Such
views run counter to the opinion of thinkers such as Talmon and Hayek who
were inclined to see political utopia as the absolute opposite of the free play
of imagination (Goodwin and Taylor 94). And in so far as the tools for the
construction of a utopian universe are supplied by the imaginative capacity of
people who live in the present, a complete erasure of the pre-existing order,
which makes anti-totalitarian philosophers such as Karl Popper so suspicious
of utopian thinking, is hardly possible (The Open Society 1:161). However,
this does not mean that utopianism cannot lead to violence. It can, as it
most certainly did in the cases analyzed here. Changes in the extent to which
expressions of the future are literal or non-literal can illustrate the relevant
In his article on Alexei Gastevs role in the creation of the Soviet
myth of the New Man as a metallic body, Rolf Hellebust makes the follow-
ing remark: the real transformation of society into utopia and the individual
into unfettered homo laborans cannot be described in scientific language at
all but can only be symbolized (Aleksei Gastev and the Metallization of the


Revolutionary Body 500). In other words, it can only be constructed by the

power of imagination but with the use of language devices that are recogniz-
able in the present.
Importantly, symbolization is a practice Benjamin mentions in con-
nection with allegorical representation, as both its counterpart and an often-
misunderstood, reductive interpretation of allegory. To return to Benjamins
distinction between the two introduced at the beginning of this article: While
symbol is a direct representation of an idea, a stand-in for a concept, allegory
would be an incorporation, a dynamic embodiment of the same idea or con-
cept. It would, then, be more correct to say that the Soviet homo laborans,
just like the ideal New Man of the German nationalist modernity, could
only be allegorized, that is, expressed as a composite body marked mainly by
its difference from the regular bodily organizations of todays human beings,
a body whose existence is postulated as literally taking place at some mo-
ment in time but as still referring to an idea which is the fruit of present-day
This is not to say that allegorical representation was more powerful
than the practices of symbolization in the Soviet and German societies during
the periods discussed. On the contrary, I would rather venture to suggest as a
working hypothesis the possibility that as the dictatorial regimes were gather-
ing power in all spheres of life, the degree of symbolization was increasing so
that every signifier was firmly associated with a direct, unquestionable mean-
ing. Dobrenkos observation on the dangerous similarity of revolutionary
and totalitarian culture is apposite here. He notes this fixation of symbolic
meaning as the revolutionary discourse develops into a totalitarian world
view: the vocabulary of the Jacobean culture always remains in the ther-
midorian culture though no longer as a living speech but as rhetoric, as an
epos-like language sanctified by power, turned into fundamental vocabulary
(228). Thus, what used to be a somewhat incongruous but enticingly unique
creature of the Russian post-revolutionary consciousness, at some point turns
into the New Soviet Man as a Stalinist slogan, a fixed formula of belonging
to the community. In a similar manner, the poetic, though somewhat hor-
rifying, faceless Gestalt glorified by Jnger is transformed into the symbol of
total self-effacement in the name of the nation as the Nazi militants come
along. This is utopian fantasy betrayed; this is when the composite parts of an
allegory become fixed in limiting, clear-cut symbolism; this is when the talk

Skradol Homus Novus

of the future really turns into the essence of the present. Benjamins definition
of allegory as a sensualized, embodied idea itself is taken as a model for ac-
tion. When Talmon says that [t]he tragedy [of utopia] is that any principle
must be embodied in men, he is referring to exactly this danger in taking the
allegory one step too far, so that the embodiment first becomes predictably
symbolic and is then realized on a direct, often literal, and, thus, limited and
limiting, level (9).
One of the important particularities of totalitarian discourse is that,
for its masters, the transition between the literal and the non-literal does not
present a problem. For them, the world of ideas and its material expression
are one. This, too, can be subsumed under the rubric of methodology, as a
fantasy of the future collapses into present reality. As the theorists of utopia
turned into its practitioners, they usurped the kind of language that Benjamin
identified as the language of God, where the creative (Word) and the rec-
ognizing (Name) moment . . . are identical (Arabatzis 32). In the language
of divine authority, there is no distance between the moment of naming and
the fact of creation: the named comes into existence. Andrei Siniavski, one of
the best known Soviet human rights activists of the 1960s, appealed to what
he probably assumed was a common understanding of the functions of lan-
guage when he said during his trial: If we realize metaphors, it is the end of
the world. We say: the shadow falls, it rains, we speak of shooting stars. If
these things were really happening, a world catastrophe would come (Gadet
and Pcheux 97).
And the catastrophe did come. First it came as a private tragedy for
those who, like the Marxist visionary Alexander Bogdanov, took the popular
metaphor of new proletarian blood literally. Striving to combine Marxism
and eschatological aspirations aimed at transforming physical and spiritual
human nature itself, Bogdanov carried out a whole series of blood transfu-
sions in his institute.7 The scientist and philosopher was hoping to discover
the secret of eternal youth and health by mixing the blood of individuals from
different social backgrounds but always making sure the proportion of prole-
tarian blood was higher than that of representatives of other classes. The brave
experimenter died following the thirteenth blood transfusion he performed
on himself. The perfect allegory of the new order, the new Soviet man: in his
veins, the blood of his spiritual brothers and sisters proved fatal when trans-
posed onto the reality of physical existence. The resistance to smooth whole-


ness, which is essential to allegory as a conglomeration of disparate parts,

manifests itself with full force in such attempts at literalization.
The next step is a total closure of the gap between this language and
the surrounding reality so that the transition from slogans to events [be-
comes] almost a matter of synonymity in Stalins representation of Soviet rea-
lia (Naiman, Discourse 299). This observation is just as applicable to Nazi
Germany, where the transition from racial purity as a slogan to the practice of
forced purification was horrifyingly smooth. Once the monosemantic nature
of central references is assured, this second step is not difficult to make, and
soon those who doubt the total correspondence between the world and the
ideologically charged language of a regime are accused of distorting the real-
ity (Gadet and Pcheux 96). As nonsensical as this accusation may sound, it
does make sense within the special reality of utopian politics, with its danger-
ous mixture of two modalities of thought and existence which, as Talmon
maintains, should be kept separate. The two modalities are politics, which,
according to Talmon, is concerned with the careful manipulation of con-
crete data, and utopianism, which postulates a definite goal or pre-ordained
finale to history (8). The former is firmly set in the present while the latter
is oriented towards the future. The disturbed balance between the temporal
dimensions in the presentation and ordering of reality has devastating conse-
quences for the organization of society, and the transition from the allegorical
to the symbolic to the literal is one of the manifestations of this disturbance.

Monster in History
In his work on allegory in Baudelaire, Benjamin writes that the difference
between seventeenth-century allegorical practice and that of the nineteenth
century is that the Baroque allegory sees the corpse only from the outside.
Baudelaire sees it from the inside as well (Passagenwerk J 56:2). It is difficult
to resist the impulse to draw parallels here between the Jngerian presenta-
tion of the New Man and the Baroque emphasis on the exterior, on the one
hand, and the Russian theorists determination to explore and transform the
interior of human beings and the nineteenth-century interest in the inside of
a commodity on the other. The aestheticism of German totalitarianism and
the futuristic zeal of the post-revolutionary terror in Russia can thus be placed
in a broader historical and cultural context.
Both the ideal hero in Jngers essay and the New Man in the

Skradol Homus Novus

Russian texts are likely to be as horror-inspiring as the allegorical corpse in

Benjamins earlier quotation to anyone not yet at home in the world of over-
whelming rationality, faceless happiness, and absolute subjection to technol-
ogy. In one of the sections of his book that deals with the representation of
sovereignty in European culture, Mikhail Iampolskii comments on the effect
produced by those who are beyond the law, be it the outcast or the mon-
arch: the horror inspired by [such a person] is the horror awoken by a living
dead. In some sense, he can be likened to Frankenstein, that composite body
frightening exactly because it is on the borderline between the living and the
dead (Physiology 697). Or, we can add, because he is an allegory come alive.
These New Men are monsters in multiple senses of the word. First,
they are monsters in the strictly etymological sense of mnstrre, meaning to
show, point out, indicate (Marin 400). Represented as anomalous, i.e., as
those whose very appearance runs contrary to the norms of the present real-
ity, they display the most characteristic features which distinguish the man of
the future from the man of the present. At the same time, monstro can also
be translated as to prescribe, to give advice (400). The two dimensions of
the monstrousprescription and admonitionare discussed by Louis Marin
at length in his essay, and they are of relevance for our discussion here. The
moment we introduce the issue of prescription and admonition, we enter the
realm of law, whether in the narrow juridical sense or in the broader sense of
the right to exercise superior authority. The connection between monstrosity
as a transgression of norms and the law was developed by Michel Foucault.
This is what he said about the human monster: the frame of reference for
the human monster is, of course, the law. The notion of a monster is essen-
tially a juridical notionnaturally, in the broad sense of the term, because
what defines the monster is the fact that he is, in his existence and in his form,
not only a violation of the laws of the society but also a violation of the laws
of nature (51).
Foucaults lecture on this double violation of regulating norms is
discussed by Mikhail Iampolskii in his chapter on the allegoric nature of
sovereignty, which springs, paradoxical as it may sound, from the monstrous
nature of the sovereign himself. Like a monster, the sovereign is marked by
an anomaly: the anomaly of the kings body marks a sovereign, symbolically
placing him beyond the law, above the law (Physiology 4647). The mon-
strosity of the sovereign is that his body is a composite structure by definition,


for it includes some elements which are beyond the simply human.
It might seem strange to mention traditional European sovereignty
in the same context as the utopian idea of the New Man. The parallel, how-
ever, is not far fetched at all. These New Men are represented in the texts
analyzed here as those who should be taken as the central point of orientation
today because they will be the true masters of tomorrow. They are beyond the
traditional notions of law just as they are beyond humanity (as Michel Fou-
cault, Giorgio Agamben, and Mikhail Iampolskii might put it) if only for the
simple reason that they are far removed from the present order of life.
These figures may be presented as the true masters of tomorrow, but
today they are but markers of emptiness, a space for carrying out thought
experiments, place holders in the present day in the name of future achieve-
ments. Yet again, there is an interpenetration between the future and the
present moment that leads to a dangerous confusion of values. At this point,
we will do well to remember one of the most famous passages in Benjamins
philosophical uvre, his short piece on Paul Klees drawing Angelus Novus
(known as the Ninth Thesis on the Philosophy of History). Benjamin in-
terprets the somewhat incongruous figure depicted by Klee as the angel of
history, who would like to interfere with the ruins of the past, make whole
that which has been destroyed, and repair the damage. However, he is pro-
pelled instead into the future by the force people call progress. The image is
not a comforting one. What Benjamin identifies as the angel of history is a
disturbing sight, caught as he is in the present, in the tension between the
past and the future.
Arabatzis dwells in great detail on the angels physical appearance
(143). He is both human and angelic, both organic and a repository of artifi-
cial objects. In short, he is a monster of a kindhence his allegorical nature.
He possesses both a superhuman power to introduce order where there is
none and is also a powerless victim of human history, which is something he
has in common with the heroes of the future in Jngers text as well as in the
quasi-scientific utopian fantasies of the Russians.
Importantly, the non-humanity of both Benjamins angel and the
New Men extends into the animal kingdom just as much as it does into that
of sublime superiority. Speaking of the most remarkable features of the New
ManEindeutigkeit and uniformityJnger draws a parallel between the
animal kingdom and the world of the future gradually making its appear-

Skradol Homus Novus

ance: it is the same uniformity which makes it very difficult to recognize

individual differences within animal or human races (116). But where there
are such close similarities, an interpenetration between the animal and the
human is also inevitable, and a monster emerges: so one can say that he is a
monster in whom there is a mixture of two kingdoms . . . when one can read,
in one and the same individual, the presence of an animal and the presence of
the human species (Foucault 59). Such a figure of powerful mastery points
not just to the future, but to a u-topian organization of existence, i.e., to that
which defines itself through a negation of the familiar and the mundane and
ultimately frees space for new exercises of fantasy and practices of control.
However, despite the implied references to the animalistic, Jngers
new type of man has as little from an animal as he has from a human being.
Technology is Jngers idol, and his New Man finds his primary expression
in technology-related activities: Technology is the way in which the gestalt
of the Worker mobilizes the world (149). The popular Nazi slogan hart
wie Kruppstahl is a continuation of the same tradition. In the early Soviet
discourse, metaphors of metal were most widespread, as Rolf Hellebust has
demonstrated. Remarkably, however, even the most zealous supporters of
technological advance such as Alexei Gastev, a sworn Taylorist, were often in
the habit of endowing the ideal Soviet citizens of the future with animalistic
characteristics and demanding that every Soviet citizen must be educated so
that he can see with true devils eyes and hear with dogs ears (Gastev, qtd.
in Vhringer 93). The 1926 project of the biologist Ilya Ivanov to cross man
with ape was bold but nothing out of the ordinary for the period (Vhringer
218). And Leon Trotsky, who was anxious to put the theory of creating the
New Man into practice as soon as possible, spoke not only of the ideologi-
cal and spiritual transformation of the people but also of transformations in
the blood and of the work of the most hidden forces of the body which
characterize the revolutionaries (Trotsky qtd. in von Klim and Rolf 35).
The suspicion that some kind of monstrosity is likely to emerge as
a result of the implementation of utopia is the basis of most criticism of
utopia. As we have seen, however, monstrosity does not necessarily have to
be the horrifying end of reckless utopian undertakings; rather, it is inherent
in the very nature of utopian thinking and representation as an element of
non-humanity, a new kind of order, an enticing incongruity that disturbs the
accepted norms and prepares the ground for (usually urgent) change.


We are, thus, back where we started: There is a disorder inherent in

the utopian order. Both critics and defenders of utopia agree on this count,
but while the former see in it a strong enough reason to exclude utopia from
politics, the latter, on the contrary, celebrate it as a free flow of fantasy and a
potential for change. Thus, there is little common ground on which the two
parties can fruitfully share their arguments for or against utopian practices.
When Goodwin points out that the utopians belief in unfalsifiable postu-
lates about the nature of man is exactly what makes Popper suspicious of
utopian practices, she is right (94). For the proponents of utopia, human
nature is inherently monstrous, in every sense of the term: both as a subject
that demands urgent change, that needs to be set right, and as the epitome
of a new structure on which these very changes should be modeled.
This utopian monster does indeed share crucial traits with Benja-
mins angel of history. Like the angel, the monster is a figure signaling the
coming of a future with all its unexplored potential. Also like the angel, the
monster appears monstrous because he is caught in the present where there
is disorder and chaos, which were, quite possibly, caused by his being there.
The unresolved balance between striving towards the future and being in the
present is at the core of the havoc brought about by utopian politics.

Representations of the man of the future played a central role in the two con-
texts examined in this article so that one feels inclined to agree with Goodwin
and Taylor when they say, in the preface to their monograph on the politics
of utopia, that utopianism as a tendency is a key ingredient of the whole
process of modern politics, from theoretical conception to fruition in politi-
cal practice (9). The utopian images introduced visions of a supposedly more
ordered future into the quite-chaotic present and thus both justified the mea-
sures that were to be taken in order to achieve the desired goals and created
a sense of discomfort in the present political and social situation. However,
contrary to the postulates of both critics and defenders of utopian thinking,
the utopian images themselves were far from being completely harmonious
and ordered. It appears that the true danger of utopian politics lies not neces-
sarily, or not only, in striving to achieve absolute unity in thought and action
but in the lack of balance between basic categories such as the literal and
the metaphoric, present and future, imagined and real. Examining the New

Skradol Homus Novus

Man ideologeme as an allegory allows us to explore the multiple contradic-

tions and disorders inherent in this figure, which, when applied to real life,
led to disastrous consequences.

*My thanks are due to the Minerva Foundation of Munich, whose
financial support made this research possible. I would also like to thank my
colleagues at the Zentrum fr Zeitgeschichtliche Forschung, Potsdam, and
at the Center for German Studies of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem for
their ongoing support and encouragement.
A minor terminological clarification is in order here. Throughout
the article I will be speaking of the New Man, which runs contrary to to-
days principles of gender-neutral languages. The reason is simple: This is the
way this figure had been traditionally designated in the English language and
since, in the pages that follow, I attempt to frame the discussion in a gen-
eral cultural context, the New Man seems more adequate than the New
Human Being. Both in German and in Russian, the relevant wordsder
Mensch and chelovekare masculine grammatically but can refer, theoreti-
cally at least, to both man and woman. The general male orientation of popu-
lar and scientific discourse of the time isthough an intriguing subject of
discussionbeyond the scope of this article.
There is a truly vast amount of scholarly literature on the subject.
As representative examples one can name Gerstner et al, Baureithel, Bowlt,
Welge, and Koenen.
See Benz; Kenzlen; Kohn-Wchter; and Leterrier. For the religious
roots of the idea of the New Man, see Gerstner. Steinberg p. 113 is a good
reference for the typically Russian religious background.
Here and elsewhere translations from foreign languages are mine.
On vacillations of the attribute utopian in Russia, from the un-
questionably positive immediately after the Revolution to neutral to ideologi-
cally suspicious to unquestionably negative in the time of Great Terror, see
Gnther 221; Kosenkova 160; and Clark, The Soviet Novel 98.
For a detailed exposition of Bogdanovs philosophy and his work at
the Institute for Blood Transfusions in Moscow, see Vhringer.


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