Russian Neovintage Books: Between Technostalgia and Book Nostalgia

  • Ksenia Papazova

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis explores "vintage" book design through the examination of Russian neovintage books. It is the first extensive study of the new phenomenon of neovintage books in post-Soviet Russia. Since this is largely unexplored in scholarly works, this thesis presents and theorises the subject from different perspectives by means of a number of case studies. The thesis resists the idea that "global" vintage culture is universal and can be applied uncritically to different contexts. Instead, through careful examination of different sources and materials, it argues for recognition of the specificity of geographical regions such as Russia that do not share the same historical context and cultural and economic features as those of the western capitalist world. With the help of the dual framework of book history and vintage studies, and with particular attention paid to technostalgia, the thesis examines two types of primary sources: Russian neovintage books as material objects, and readers' online comments on them. This thesis approaches neovintage books as a specific case of technostalgia, which emerged as a country-specific response to the perceived "perfection" of new media technologies. This study demonstrates how a paratextually "enriched" paper book works as a complex material object, controlling readers' senses, and mediating their experience of reading. It argues that neovintage books resort to hypermediacy in order to make themselves present, inscribe themselves into the present, and embody the passing of time. This study reveals that neovintage books display the evolution of paper books in the face of the threat posed by their digital counterparts and rivals. The thesis thus provides a more nuanced understanding of "global" and "local" vintage cultures, and extends our understanding of technostalgia. It proposes a novel approach to research on book design, which combines theorisation on digital technologies and vintage studies. It expands the applicability of paratextual theory to new (and different) forms of book design made possible by technological innovations. It adds to our understanding of how we read printed books, and of the nature of the book in the digital age.
Date of Award31 Dec 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorStephen Hutchings (Supervisor) & Guyda Armstrong (Supervisor)


  • Russian book culture
  • digital vintage
  • faux vintage
  • vintage paratexts
  • the analogue
  • print culture
  • post-Soviet nostalgia
  • the digital
  • paratextual studies
  • book nostalgia
  • technostalgia
  • Russian book design
  • reading
  • Russian publishing
  • global vintage

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