The Literary Press

  • Julian Graffy
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


The most remarkable development in Soviet publishing over the last three years has been the breathtaking transformation of the majority of the literary journals. The two currently most exciting journals, Novy mir and Znamia, have been utterly rejuvenated by their new chief editors. The veteran writer, Sergei Zalygin, has been editor-in-chief of Novy mir since the issue for October 1986. At the beginning of 1987 he brought on to the editorial board the journalist and story-writer Anatolii Strelianyi, the poet Oleg Chukhontsev and others. Novyi mir (circulation in January 1988 1 150 000, up from 496 100 in December 1987),1 has published Platonov’s The Foundation Pit (1987, 6), Bulgakov’s To A Secret Friend (1987, 8), Bitov’s Pushkin House (1987, 10–12), Shatrov’s The Peace of Brest-Litovsk (1987, 4), Brodskii’s poetry (1987, 12) and Doctor Zhivago (1988, 1–4). Grigorii Baklanov, another writer-editor, in charge at Znamia since August 1986, has co-opted Vladimir Lashkin, a key figure on Tvardovskii’s editorial board at the old Novyi mir and the urban writer Vladimir Makanin to the board. Unlike Novyi mir, Znamia has no glorious traditions to look back to, and its sudden dynamism has taken readers by surprise. Its 1988 circulation of 500 000 is up from 175 000 in 1985. It has published Alesandr Bek’s A New Assignment (1986, 10–11), Platonov’s The Juvenile Sea (1986, 6), Bulgakov’s The Heart of a Dog (1987, 6), Pil’niak’s The Tale of the Unextinguished Moon (1987, 12), Shatrov’s OnwardOnwardOnward! (1988, 1) and Zamiatin’s We (1988, 4–5).


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Notes and References

  1. 3.
    On Kholopov, see Nataliia Il’ina, ‘Zdravstvui, plemia mladoe, neznakomoe’, Ogonek, 1988, 2, pp. 23–26 (p. 26).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Odoevtseva’s return to the Soviet Union from an emigration that had begun in 1923 was announced by Radio Moscow on 13 April 1987. See Nancy P. Condee and Vladimir Padunov, ‘Recharting Soviet Cultural History’, Framework, 34, 1987, p. 62 and note 8, p. 102.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Wishnevsky, ‘A guide’, op. cit. (note 1) pp. 15–16. See also her ‘A second “Pamyat”’ emerges’, Radio Liberty Research RL 463/87, and ‘Nash Sovremennik talks to Soviet TV viewers’, RL 346/88; and Elena Gessen ‘Bitvy “Nashego sovremennika”’, Vremia i my (New York), 99, 1987, pp. 175–89.Google Scholar
  4. 14.
    On The Fire, see M. Nazarov, “Nado zhit” Grani, 140, 1986, pp. 309–15. On A Sad Detective Story, see ibid., ‘Borot’sia so zlom-znaia ego prirodu’, ibid., 142, 1986, pp. 282–87. On The Executioner’s Block, see R. Porter, ‘Chingiz Aitmatov’s The Execution Block: Religion, Opium and the People’, Scottish Slavonic Review, 8, 1987, pp. 75–90; Katerina Clark, ‘The Executioner’s Block: a novel of the thaw’, The Times Literary Supplement, 26 June 1987, p. 696; and R. Pittman, ‘Chingiz Aytmatov’s Plakha: Novel in a time of change’, The Slavonic and East European Review, 66, 1988, pp. 357–79. Aitmatov himself has apparently suggested that The Executioner’s Block did not appear in the July 1986 issue of Novyi mir because he was simply too busy to check the proofs.Google Scholar
  5. 16.
    The New Assignment is the first work specifically sent abroad for publication to appear later in a Soviet journal. For a useful survey of the fate of this novel, see Mark Kuchment, ‘Twenty years later’, Russian Review, 46, 1987, pp. 433–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 17.
    On these seven works, see Geoffrey Hosking, ‘At last an exorcism’, The Times Literary Supplement, 9–15 October 1987, pp. 1111–12. On Children of the Arbat see also John Barber, ‘Children of the Arbat’, Detente, 11, 1988, pp. 8–11, 38. On Peasants and their women,Google Scholar
  7. see also David Gillespie, ‘History, politics and the Russian peasant: Boris Mozhaev and the collectivization of agriculture’, Slavonic and East European Review 67, 1989, pp. 183–210. On The Buffalo, see also V. T., ‘Pravda i polupravda v novoi knige o sovetskoi nauke’, Russkaia mysl’ 3677, 1978 , pp. 11, 14.Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    On the first books of The Liubavins (1965) and The Eves (1972–76) see Geoffrey Hosking, Beyond Socialist Realism. Soviet Fiction since Ivan Denisovich, London, 1980, pp. 168–70, 67–70.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    On Tvardovskii’s unsuccessful attempt to publish By the Right of Memory in his own journal, Novyi mir, see Iurii Burtin, ‘Vam, iz drugogo pokolen’ia…; Oktiabr’, 1987, 8, pp. 191–202, (pp. 201–2); and below, Section IV.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    On these stories see Ol’ga Martynenko, ‘V polnyi golos. Rasskazy Vladimira Tendriakova v “Novom mire”’, Moskovskie novosti, 1988, 14, p. 15; and Julia Wishnevsky, ‘Roy Medvedev’s figures on victims of collectivisation cited in Novyi mir’ Radio Liberty Research, RL 155/88.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    More than half of Iskander’s novel, including the chapters on Stalin, had not been published in the Soviet Union until the autumn of 1988. According to Iskander these totalled some 600 pages (‘Neizvestnyi Sandro’, a conversation between Iskander and Natal’ia Ivanova, Moskovskie novosti, 1988, 28, p. 11).Google Scholar
  12. 23.
    There is an extremely interesting study of all Shatrov’s plays, David Joravsky, ‘Glasnost Theater’, The New York Review of Books, vol. 35, no. 17, 10 November 1988, pp. 34–39.Google Scholar
  13. On Okudzhava’s new poems, see G. S. Smith, ‘Okudzhava marches on’, Slavonic and East European Review, 66, 1988, pp. 553–63.Google Scholar
  14. 28.
    Iurii Kariakin, ‘Stok li nastupat’ na grabli?’, Znamia, 1987, 9, p. 210.Google Scholar
  15. 29.
    Iurii Afanas’ev, rector of the State Historical Archive Institute, described Shatrov’s plays as a ‘bitter reproach to historians’ in an interview in Sovetskaia kul’tura, 21 March 1987, p. 3. This interview appears in English as ‘We are only beginners’, in Socialist Register 1988, ed. Ralph Miliband et al., London, 1988, pp. 79–89.Google Scholar
  16. The historian Iurii Poliakov, interviewed by Literaturnaia gazeta, 29 July 1987, p. 10, added: ‘Historical scholarship has fallen behind literature, where the appearance of interesting works by Aitmatov, Granin, Rybakov and Dudintsev has revealed negative aspects of the development of our society.’Google Scholar
  17. 34.
    On Tolstaia, see Helena Goscillo, ‘Tat’iana Tolstaia’s “Dome of Many-Coloured Glass”: The world refracted through multiple perspectives’, Slavic Review, 47, 1988, pp. 280–90, which contains, note 2, p. 280, a list of Tolstaia’s journal publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 35.
    See Natal’ia Ivanova, ‘Fal’shivyi Gogol’’, Moskovskie novosti, 1988, 11, p. 3.Google Scholar
  19. 38.
    On Kaledin see Irina Murav’eva, ‘Izlechenie pravdoi’, Kontinent, 55, 1988, pp. 385–93.Google Scholar
  20. 42.
    These and other new poets were represented in Krug, Leningrad, 1985, a selection of the work of the ‘Club 81’ writers. Krivulin’s assessment of this ‘concession’ by an official publishing house is withering: They didn’t really publish our work. They murdered it. A subtle form of murder, but murder all the same. They chose our least interesting work, and they published it in a context that was completely alien to it.’ (Sally Laird, ‘Soviet literature — what has changed?’, Index on Censorship, 1987, 7, pp. 8–13 (p. 11).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 43.
    M. Epshtein, ‘Pokolenie, nashedshee sebia’, Voprosy literatury, 1986, 5, pp. 40–72; ‘Kontsepty… Metaboly… O novykh techeniiakh v poezii’, Oktiabr’, 1988, 4, pp. 194–203; (reprinted as ‘… Ia by nazval eto-“metabola”. Zametki o novykh techeniiakh v poezii’, Vzgliad, comp. A. N. Latynina and S. S. Lesnevskii, Moscow, 1988, pp. 171–96). See also his ‘Life after Utopia: new poets in Moscow’, Index on Censorship, 1988, 1, pp. 12–14.Google Scholar
  22. Slavkin: Serso, Sovremennaia dramaturgiia, 1986, 4.Google Scholar
  23. Galin: Stars in the Morning Sky, Teatr, 1988, 8.Google Scholar
  24. 52.
    The editor of Moskva, Mikhail Alekseev, had told the British journalist Sally Laird in May 1987 that ‘Brodsky is not a poet… Also, he is not a Russian’ (Sally Laird, ‘Soviet Literature — what has changed?’, index on Censorship, 1987, 7, p. 10.Google Scholar
  25. 54.
    Natal’ia Ivanova, Moskovskie novosti, 8 May 1988.Google Scholar
  26. Letter from Tat’iana Tolstaia and Viktor Erofeev, Ogonek, 1988, 18, p. 3.Google Scholar
  27. 59.
    A. Bocharov, ‘Pokushenie na mirazhi’, Voprosy literatury, 1988, 1, pp. 72–73. The examples Bocharov gives are Nekrasov’s Frontline Stalingrad, Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Akenov’s A Ticket to the Stars and Vladimov’s The Big Ore.Google Scholar
  28. 60.
    A. Suetnov, ‘Otkuda berutsia “belye piatna”?’, V mire knig, 1988, 4, pp. 85–86.Google Scholar
  29. 61.
    E. Riazanov, ‘Velikodushie’, Moskovskie novosti, 1988, 25, p. 12.Google Scholar
  30. 71.
    Elena Chukovskaia, ‘Vernut’ Solzhenitsynu grazhdanstvo SSSR’, Knizhnoe obozrenie, 1988, 32, p. 15. See also Knizhnoe obozrenie, 1988, 33, pp. 6–7, for readers’ letters unanimously in support of Chukovskaia, and Knizhnoe obozrenie, 1988, 34 for Solzhenitsyn’s correspondence with Zhigulin (see note 22).Google Scholar
  31. See also L. Voskresenskii, ‘Zdravstvuite, Ivan Denisovichl’, Moskovskie novosti, 1988, 32, p. 11, which describes One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich for the benefit of readers who have not been able to get hold of it.Google Scholar
  32. 76.
    See, for example, Elena Gessen, ‘Kommentarii k kommentariiam’, Strana i mir, 1987, 6, pp. 133–38;Google Scholar
  33. N. Kuznetsova, ‘Pokaianie ili preklonenie?’, Russkaia mysl’, 3697, 1987, pp. 10–11, 14; B. Vail’, ‘Stalinskoi ulybkoiu sogreta…’, ibid, 3707, 1988, p. 10, all of which are sceptical about the historical accuracy of Rybakov’s Children of the Arbat. In a hard-hitting piece in Russkaia mysl’, Vladimir Maksimov eloquently describes how some of the present supporters of glasnost’ participated in earlier campaigns against writers (‘Dukhovnoe maroderstvo, ili Komu i za chto stydno?, Russkaia mysl’, 3710, 1988, p. 11).Google Scholar
  34. 77.
    Obviously, different journals are responding to developments with differing degrees of warmth. For a survey of recent appearances by Soviet cultural figures in different émigré journals, see G. Andreev, ‘Vstrechi s deiateliami sovetskoi kul’tury na stranitsakh emigrantskikh gazet i zhurnalov’, Russkaia mysl’, 3735, 1988, p. 10.Google Scholar
  35. 78.
    See ‘O konferentsii v Kopengagene’, Russkaia mysl’, 3718, 1988, p. 12; Julia Wishnevsky, ‘Soviet and émigré academics and writers meet in Denmark’, Radio Liberty Research, RL 102/88; G. Belaia, ‘Dialog vo imia nashei obshchei kul’tury’, Knizhnoe obozrenie, 1988, 20, p. 4. The conference speeches by Afanas’ev, Cronid Lubarskii, Iskander and Siniavskii are in Index on Censorship, 1988, 5, pp. 13–22, 36.Google Scholar
  36. 82.
    On the Stalin prizewinners, see A. Bocharov, ‘Pokushenie na mirazhi’, Voprosy literatury, 1988, 1, pp. 40–77, (p. 51). On pages 50, 51, 54 and 55 of his article, Bocharov lists authors and works he would gladly consign to oblivion. For Vysotskii, see Sovetskaia bibliografiia 1988, 2, pp. 83–86; for Shalamov, see ibid., 1988, 3, pp. 68–70; for Bukharin, see ibid., pp. 58–60.Google Scholar
  37. 83.
    It should be stressed that in this endeavour Soviet journals are belatedly following in the courageous footsteps of samizdat and of émigré publishers, in particular the Pamiat’ (Memory — the very title is indicative of their aims) and Minuvshee volumes. Five issues of Pamiat’ appeared first in samizdat and then in New York and Paris between 1976 and 1982. Six volumes of Minuvshee have appeared in Paris between 1986 and the time of writing. These excellently edited volumes remain the major source for the dark places of Soviet literary (and not only literary) history. On literary history in Pamiat’, see J. Graffy, ‘Ogosudarstvlenie’, Sbornik, Leeds, 9, 1983, pp. 97–107.Google Scholar
  38. 89.
    Arkadii Vaksberg, ‘Protsessy’, Literaturnaia gazeta, 1988, p. 12. This study concentrates on the fates of Meierkhol’d, Mikhail Kol’tsov and Babel’. Neither Rudnitskii nor Vaksberg includes certain of the details of Meierkhol’d’s torture provided by the young archivist, Dmitrii Iurasov, at a meeting at the Tsentral’nyi dom literatorov in Moscow on 13 April 1987 (see Russkaia mysl’, 3675, 1987, pp. 4–5). Iurasov has now written briefly in the Soviet press about the tortures inflicted on Meierkhol’d, in a short report on documents he encountered while working as an archivist in Moscow (‘Vernite pravo na pamiat’!’, Sobesednik, 1988, 22, p. 5). There is an extremely interesting article on Iurasov and his activities, V. Chalikova, ‘Arkhivnyi iunosha’, Neva, 1988, 10, pp. 152–62; see also Sovetskaia bibliografia, 1988, 5, pp. 61–7.Google Scholar
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    Daniil Granin, ‘Mimoletnoe iavlenie’, Ogonek, 1988, 6, pp. 9–11, 29.Google Scholar
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    Nikolai Zabolotskii, ‘Istoriia moego zakliucheniia’, Daugava, 1988, 3, pp. 105–16.Google Scholar
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  42. Brodskii’s arrest and trial are briefly mentioned in the afterwords to publications of his poems by Aleksandr Kushner, Neva, 1988, 3, pp. 109–10Google Scholar
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    V. Smekhov, ‘Skripka Mastera’, Teatr, 1988, 2, pp. 97–124. For reader response to this article, see ibid., 1988, 6, pp, 67–70, 7, pp. 138–40. For the transcript of the discussion of Liubimov’s production of Boris Godunov in 1982, see Sovremennaia dramaturgiia, 1988, 4, pp. 196–223. The present director of the Taganka, Nikolai Gubenko, discusses Liubimov in an interview in Ogonek, 1988, 30, pp. 16–19.Google Scholar
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    Iurii Kariakin, ‘Stoit li nastupat’ na grabli? (Otkrytoe pis’mo odnomu inkognito)’, Znamia, 1987, 9, pp. 200–24.Google Scholar
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    Iurii Burtin, ‘“Vam, iz drugogo pokolen’ia…”, K publikatsii poemy A. Tvardovskogo “Po pravu pamiati”’, Oktiabr’ 1987, 8, pp. 191–202.Google Scholar
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    Nataliia Il’ina, ‘Zdravstvui, plemia mladoe, neznakomoe’, Ogonek, 1988, 2, pp. 23–26.Google Scholar
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    Among the most important contributions to this debate are V. Vozdvizhenskii, ‘Pozitsiia. “Novyi mir” shestidesiatikh godov’, V mire knig 1988, 3, pp. 2–5;Google Scholar
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    Iurii Burtin, ‘Vozmohnost’ vozrazit’. (Iz lichnogo opyta)’, Daugava, 1988, 6, pp. 66–79.Google Scholar
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    Vladimir Lakshin, ‘Ne vpast’ v bespamiatstvo. (Iz khroniki “Novogo mira” vremeni Tvardovskogo)’, Znamia, 1988, 8, pp. 210–17.Google Scholar
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    M. Chudakova, ‘O Bulgakove, i ne tol’ko o nem’, Literaturnaia gazeta, 1987, 42, p. 6. See also ‘Writer Mikhail Bulgakov and the fate of his works’, Moscow News, 1988, 5, Supplement, pp. 6–7. On recent improvements in access to State archives, see Argumenty i fakty, 1988, 38, p. 1.Google Scholar
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    M. Chudakova, ‘Vzglianut’ v litso’, in Vzgliad. Kritika. Polemika. Publikatsii, comp. A. Latynina and S. Lesnevskii, Moscow, 1988, pp. 376–404 (especially pp. 400–04). And see her contribution to the debate ‘Aktual’nye problemy izucheniia istorii russkoi sovetskoi literatury’, Voprosy literatury, 1987, 9, pp. 3–78 (Chudakova pp. 10–21).Google Scholar
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    Nikolai Karamzin, ‘Istoriia gosudarstva rossiiskogo’, in Moskva, all issues from January 1988.Google Scholar
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    On Stalin’s son see Nikolai Dorizo ‘Iakov Dzhugashvili, Byl’ i legenda. Tragediia’, Moskva, 1988, 2, pp. 53–62, 3, pp. 27–41. On genetics see ‘Chto im trebovalos’ dokazat’? Poslednii akt tragedii genetiki’, Teatr, 1988, 3, pp. 58–80.Google Scholar
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    Nikolai Shmelev, ‘Avansy i dolgi’, Novyi mir, 1987, 6, pp. 142–58; ‘Novye trevogi’, ibid., 1988, 4, pp. 160–75. On these articles see John Tedstrom, ‘Soviet economist sounds the alarm over Perestroika’, Radio Liberty Research, RL 199/88.Google Scholar
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    Vasilii Seliunin, ‘Istoki’, Novyi mir, 1988, 5, pp. 162–89. On Seliunin see Vera Tolz, ‘Soviet journalist passes verdict on Russian and Soviet history’, Radio Liberty Research, RL 244/88.Google Scholar
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  83. Among other important contributions to the debate are ‘Pamiat’ i “Pamiat’”’, a debate about history and the present between G. I. Popov and Nikita Adzhubei, ibid., 1988, 1, pp. 188–203; N. Shemelev and V. Popov, ‘Anatomiia defitsita’, ibid., 1988, 5, pp. 158–83; O. Latsis, ‘Perelom’, ibid., 1988, 6, pp. 124–78; Anatolu Anan’ev, ‘Zemlia’, Oktiabr’, 1987, 9, pp. 3–14; V. Baliazin, ‘Vozvrashchenie’, ibid., 1988, 1, pp. 146–71 (a study of the economic theories of A. V. Chaianov).Google Scholar
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    Konstantin Simonov, ‘Glazami cheloveka moego pokoleniia (Razmyshleniia o I. V. Staline)’, Znamia, 1988, 3, pp. 3–66; 4, pp. 49–121; 5, pp. 69–96.Google Scholar
  85. For a jaundiced reaction see Efim Etkind, ‘S chetyrekh storon ogorozhennyi’, Vremia i mir, 100, 1988, pp. 198–203. See also ‘I.V. Stalin glazami ego sovremennikov’, Literaturnyi Kirgizstan, 1987, 10, pp. 116–34, for extracts from Leon Feuchtwanger’s book, Moscow 1937 and the famous ‘Letter to Stalin’ of 17 August 1939 by Fedor Raskol’nikov.Google Scholar
  86. This version of the letter is far longer than the one in V. Polikarpov, ‘Fedor Raskol’nikov’, Ogonek, 1987, 26, pp. 6–7, but omits the last half sentence (included in the Ogonek version) in which Raskol’nikov calls Stalin ‘a traitor to socialism and revolution, the chief wrecker, a true enemy of the people, organiser of the famine and the judicial forgeries.’ This sentence was restored in the third publication of the letter, in Nedelia, 1988, 26, pp. 6–7, which gives the letter in full. Raskol’nikov’s story ‘Rasskaz o poteriannom dne’ is in V mire knig, 1988, 3, pp. 59–63, his ‘Bratanie’ in Knizhnoe obozrenie, 1987, 45, pp. 8–10.Google Scholar
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    Aleksei Adzhubei, ‘Te desiat’ let’, Znamia, 1988, 6, pp. 81–123; 7, pp. 80–133.Google Scholar
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    Mikhail Romm, ‘Chetyre vstrechi s N.S. Khrushchevym’, Ogonek, 1988, 28, pp. 6–8, 25–26.Google Scholar
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    Iurii Kariakin, ‘“Zhdanovskaia zhidkost’” ili protiv ochernitel’stva’, Ogonek, 1988, 19, pp. 25–27.Google Scholar
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  92. and V. Amlinskii, ‘“Na zabroshennykh grobnitsakh”’, Iunost’, 1988, 3, pp. 50–61 (on Bukharin). Bukharin’s speech at the first congress of the Union of Soviet Writers in 1934 is in Pod’’em, 1988, 7, pp. 106–34. In this area the work of the thick journals and such weeklies as Nedelia, Moskovskie novosti, Ogonek and Literaturnaia gazeta, which have carried several studies of leading politicians, is thus complementary.Google Scholar
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© School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London 1989

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  • Julian Graffy

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