An Essay in Autobiography

An Essay in Autobiography

An Essay in Autobiography

An Essay in Autobiography

Excerpt

In 1954 there was a plan to publish in Moscow a collection of Pasternak's poems. This was during the first "thaw," which followed Stalin's death in March 1953. During the summer and autumn of that year there was a deep stirring among the writers, the painters, the musicians of the Soviet Union. Wild things were said and great dreams were dreamed. It was no longer necessary for Western sympathisers to speculate about the secret feelings of the Soviet intelligentsia during the last years of Stalin's rule: they told us themselves, sometimes with frightening candour. For example, in the published record of the meeting of the dramatists' section of the Union of Soviet Writers held in October 1953 there could be read harsher and more radical criticism of the blighting influence of Stalin and Zhdanov on the creative arts than anything written in the West.

Writers, long dead, were at least partly rehabilitated and their works brought out in new editions. Still living writers, long silent, were encouraged to . . .

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