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  • Print publication year: 2017
  • Online publication date: September 2017

15 - The Zones of Late Socialist Literature

from Part II - Everyday Socialism and Lived Experiences
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The Cambridge History of Communism
  • Online ISBN: 9781316471821
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On the institutionalization of Socialist Realism, see Clark, Katerina, The Soviet Novel: History as Ritual (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), and Dobrenko, Evgenii, Political Economy of Socialist Realism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007). Archive-based studies of the Soviet “Thaw” include: Jones, Polly, Myth, Memory, Trauma: Rethinking the Stalinist Past in the Soviet Union, 1953–1970 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013); Kozlov, Denis, The Readers of Novyi Mir: Coming to Terms with the Stalinist Past (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013); Kozlov, Denis and Gilburd, Eleonory (eds.), The Thaw: Soviet Society and Culture During the 1950s and 1960s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2013). On comparisons of Eastern bloc “Thaws,” see Segel, Harold B., The Columbia Guide to the Literatures of Eastern Europe Since 1945 (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003); Cornis-Pope, Marcel and Neubauer, John (eds.), History of the Literary Cultures of East-Central Europe: Junctures and Disjunctures in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2004).

On the post-Stalinist intelligentsia, see Zubok, Vladislav, Zhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009); Kagarlitsky, Boris, The Thinking Reed: Intellectuals and the Soviet State 1917 to the Present (London: Verso, 1989). Late Soviet cultural politics is currently analyzed mostly in memoirs and Russian-language scholarship, of which the most systematic is Kretzschmar, Dirk, Politika i kulʹtura pri Brezhneve, Andropove i Chernenko, 1970–1985 [Politics and Culture Under Brezhnev, Andropov and Chernenko, 1970–1985] (Moscow: AIRO-XX, 1997). Older studies of Soviet literary institutions (Garrard, John Gordon and Garrard, Carol, Inside the Soviet Writers’ Union [London: I. B. Tauris, 1990]; Dewhirst, Martin and Farrell, Robert [eds.], The Soviet Censorship [Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1973]) still contain valuable insights for the period. Useful overviews of Czechoslovak literary politics include Holý, Jiří, Writers Under Siege: Czech Literature Since 1945 (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2008), and Šimečka, Milan, The Restoration of Order: The Normalization of Czechoslovakia 1969–1976 (London: Verso, 1984), while the normalization-era intelligentsia is analyzed in Bolton, Jonathan, Worlds of Dissent: Charter 77, the Plastic People of the Universe, and Czech Culture Under Communism (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2012), and Bren, Paulina, The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism After the 1968 Prague Spring (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010). Writers’ polemics against official culture include Solzhenitsyn, Alexander, The Oak and the Calf (London: Collins and Harvill, 1980), and Haraszti, Miklós, The Velvet Prison (New York: Basic Books, 1988).

Much valuable analysis of “official” literature appeared during and just after the period. On Soviet literature, see Brown, Deming’s Soviet Russian Literature Since Stalin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978) and The Last Years of Soviet Russian Literature: Prose Fiction, 1975–1991 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), as well as Shneidman, Nicholas, Soviet Literature in the 1970s: Artistic Diversity and Ideological Conformity (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979), and Hosking, Geoffrey, Beyond Socialist Realism: Soviet Fiction Since Ivan Denisovich (London: Granada, 1980). The only book-length study of “Aesopian” language remains Losev, Lev, On the Beneficence of Censorship: Aesopian Language in Modern Russian Literature (Munich: O. Sagner in Kommission, 1984). In addition to Segel, Holý and Cornis-Pope, wide-ranging accounts of Czechoslovak literature include Chitnis, Rajendra, Literature in Post-Communist Russia and Eastern Europe: The Russian, Czech and Slovak Fiction of the Changes, 1988–1998 (London: Routledge Curzon, 2005), and Pynsent, Robert, “Social Criticism in Czech Literature of 1970s and 1980s Czechoslovakia,” Bohemia 27, 1 (1986), 136.

Samizdat is an area of burgeoning interest, thanks to access to documents and interest in alternative public spheres: Behrends, Jan C. and Lindenberger, Thomas (eds.), Underground Publishing and the Public Sphere: Transnational Perspectives (Vienna: Lit, 2014), Komaromi, Ann, Uncensored: Samizdat Novels and the Quest for Autonomy in Soviet Dissidence (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 2015), and two special issues of Poetics Today, edited by Vladislav Todorov, “Publish & Perish: Samizdat and Underground Cultural Practices in the Soviet Bloc,” 29, 4 (2008) and 30, 1 (2009). Tamizdat has received less attention, with the exception of the ground-breaking volumes Kind-Kovács, Friederike, Written Here, Published There: How Underground Literature Crossed the Iron Curtain (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2014); and Kind-Kovács, Friederike and Labov, Jessie (eds.), Samizdat, Tamizdat, and Beyond: Transnational Media During and After Socialism (New York: Berghahn Books, 2013).