Literature and power. History of Soviet literature of the Stalinist period (1922–1953) on the basis of documentary and archive materials
Seminar
This seminar focuses on the least studied period of Stalinist Soviet literature. For years, we were content to explore a tainted, largely false, image of the artistic life of this period. Recent decades have brought to light new sources, testimonies and documentary material. This seminar is an attempt to examine the tragic history of specific writers and of Soviet literature as a whole from the background of new archival and documentary discoveries. We will demonstrate that Soviet literature existed on two levels: the official level, under the leaden blanket of censorship, and the authentic, uncensored level.
1. RAPP (Association of Proletarian Writers) and ‘poputchiki’ (fellow travellers). Literary wars. Literature of the NEP period.

2. Groups, associations, and magazine battles. 1929: the year of great change.

3. Decree on the destruction of RAPP. ‘The Last Supper’ of Soviet writers - the end of 1932. Boris Pasternak’s “Second Birth”. Bulgakov and Stalin. Writers’ journeys across the country. Afinoguenov’s plays “Fear” and “The Lie”.

4. Writers on the White Sea-Baltic Sea construction site: PR project of the NKVD. First Congress of Soviet Writers.

5. The start of the Second World War. Evacuation of the writers. Tashkent, Chistopol, Almaty.

6. Writers in war and evacuation. Blockade diaries by Olga Berggolts. Evgeny Schwartz’s “The Dragon”.

7. The post-war year. Resolution on “Zvezda” and “Leningrad” magazines. Trial of the cosmopolitans. “Doctor Zhivago” by Boris Pasternak.

8. Murder of Mikhoels. Proceedings against the Anti-Fascist Committee.
Seminar programme: