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Prof Katherine Hodgson's Inaugural Lecture

The Future of Soviet Russian Literature

Since the late 1980s a mass of previously unknown material has emerged to challenge Western views of Soviet writers either as conformist hacks obediently following the Communist Party line, or as heroic figures resisting state censorship. This evidence, considered alongside texts previously available to scholars, reveals a picture of literary life which lacks such clear distinctions. As the USSR recedes into memory we can ask whether the literature of the Soviet period was in fact so radically different from what had gone before. 1917 may look like a moment when links with the past were severed, yet plenty of already established writers remained on the scene for decades. The Soviet Writers’ Union was created to replace independent writers’ networks and associations, but the longstanding tradition of informal writers’ circles nevertheless persisted. In the early 1990s some critics felt able to dismiss Soviet Russian literature as ‘of anthropological interest only’.

Event details


Queens Building LT1