BOOKS AND selected essays
Paulina Bren’s book, The Barbizon, will be published by Simon & Schuster in 2020. It will also be coming out in the U.K. with Two Roads, in Italy with Neri Pozza, and in China with United Sky. The Barbizon tells the story of New York’s most glamorous women-only hotel, and the women — both famous and ordinary— who passed through its doors from the 1920s to the present. It is at once a social history of women, ambition, and Manhattan.
Paulina Bren, a professor at Vassar College, has also written two successful books about communism and everyday life. Prior to her work, no one was writing about the 1970s and 1980s in the Eastern Bloc, and her books helped inform a new field of study.
A history of New York’s premier women-only hotel, The Barbizon. A social history of the women who lived there, and of the city that changed around them.
Winner of the Council of European Studies Book Prize
Winner of the Austrian Studies Association Book Prize
Shortlisted for the Vucinich Book Award
Reviews: Times Literary Supplement: “splendid” Slavic Review: “path breaking and thought-provoking” The English Historical Review: “a witty and thought-provoking analysis of Czechoslovak culture during ‘Normalisation’” Journal of Social History: “In this provocative book, Paulina Bren brings to life the ‘stagnant’ decades of ‘nothingness’ that followed the 1968 Prague Spring.”
Reviews: AHY: “one of the best collections I have ever had the pleasure of reading” European Journal of Communication: “a rich and fascinating collection”
Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall…Is the West the Fairest of Them All? — The politics of pitting a communist lifestyle against capitalist consumption. (Winner of the Stanley Pech Essay Prize.)
Weekend Getaways: The Chata, the Tramp, and the Politics of Private Life in Post-1968 Czechoslovakia — Dissent and conformity played out in the Czech countryside between weekend “tramps,” imitators of cowboy fantasies, and city escapees to their state-sanctioned weekend cottages.
Looking West: Popular Culture and the Generation Gap in Communist Czechoslovakia, 1969-1989 — The tug-of-war between communists and dissidents over images and influences from the West: from Angela Davis to hippies to New Wave punks.
1968 East and West: Visions of Political Change and Student Protest from across the Iron Curtain — How Czech students during the 1968 Prague Spring viewed student revolutionaries across the Iron Curtain with both awe and jaundiced skepticism.