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Literary Criticism Russian & Former Soviet Union

Soviet Literature in the 1970s

Artistic diversity and ideological conformity

by (author) Norman Shneidman

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Dec 1979
Russian & Former Soviet Union, 20th Century, Eastern
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    Publish Date
    Dec 1979
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Although considerable attention has been given to dissident Soviet writers who have been exiled or driven underground, the officially published works of soviet writers are almost unknown in the West. This book concentrates on those writers who have produced works of considerable interest and merit despite editorial controls.


The opening chapter examines recent trends and the relationship between literary theory and practice, particularly in the light of the broadening horizons of official 'socialist realism.' Shneidman traces the creative development of six of the most gifted and popular Russian prose writers of the decade, emphasizing their publications of the 1970sand their diverse themes and styles. Sergei Zalygin sets his work in the revolutionary past, Vasil' Bykov and Iurii Bondarev write on war themes. Iurii Trifonov depicts the ordinary life of the city intelligentsia. Valentin Rasputin's stories are concerned with the fate of the Siberian peasant. Chingiz Aitmatov deals with problems of universal significance in a Kirghiz setting.


This book recognizes the difficulties faced by contemporary creative writers in the USSR, and reflects the intellectual, ideological, and political atmosphere in which they work.

About the author

Norman N. Shneidman is a professor emeritus in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto.

Norman Shneidman's profile page

Other titles by Norman Shneidman