Manage episode 375104746 series 2484523
I am joined on “America and Beyond” by historian Peter Fritzsche for an appreciation of The Future of Nostalgia (Basic Books), the landmark book published by the late Svetlana Boym in 2001. I do not use the word “landmark” lightly. The Future of Nostalgia is, first, impressively prescient. Pages, as in Boym’s chapter on “Restorative Nostalgia: Conspiracies and Return to Origins,” sound eerily present day. But even more than that, Boym, who died in 2015 from cancer, at the age of 56, bequeathed a rich vocabulary for plumbing the contemporary meanings of nostalgia. Her essential distinction between restorative nostalgia, the politically-toxic desire to “rebuild the lost home,” and reflective nostalgia, the often-sentimental longing for shards of the personal past, endures. In these terms, nostalgia can be a poison—or a cure. My conversation with Peter Fritzsche, author of the 2004 book Stranded in the Present, revisits Boym’s wonderful work and meanders its way into topics like nostalgia as a frame for grasping Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” movement. Enjoy.
Veteran journalist Paul Starobin is a former Moscow bureau chief for Business Week and a former contributing editor of The Atlantic. He has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many other publications. His latest book, Putin’s Exiles: Their Fight for a Better Russia (Columbia Global Reports) will be published in January.
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