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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: May 2011

10 - Post-Soviet Literature between Realism and Postmodernism


Perestroika in literature

The rapid revival of Russian literary life in the late 1980s and 1990s was a consequence of two significant events: the democratic reforms launched by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987–1991, and especially the politics of glasnost´ (openness), which created the opportunity for public critique of Soviet ideology and politics; the latter process, after the collapse of the Communist regime in 1991, led to the complete elimination of censorship. One of the most striking signs of this perestroika in literature was the return of numerous previously banned literary works. In this avalanche of masterpieces, artistically complex works such as the novels of Andrei Platonov, Vladimir Nabokov, Sasha Sokolov, Venedikt Erofeev, the poetry of Joseph Brodsky, along with classical texts of Russian, European, and American modernism, as well as ´emigr´e and underground literature, now became available to readers. It is significant, however, that the most heated critical discussion was triggered not by these works, but by more conventional novels that dealt with political issues and offered an anti-totalitarian vision of the Soviet past; these latter received the greatest critical attention and generated the most excitement among the reading public.

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The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century Russian Literature
  • Online ISBN: 9780511975806
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