Prisoners released from the gulags


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Prisoners released from the GULAGs

  • Prisoners released from the GULAGs

  • Opening up the arts: film, poetry

  • Reaching out to the third “non-aligned” world

  • Building of houses, movie theatres

  • USSR becomes a nuclear power



Freedom within limits: jazz underground

  • Freedom within limits: jazz underground

  • Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, forced to refuse Nobel Prize



February 1956: 20th congress of the Communist Party: secret speech denouncing Stalin

  • February 1956: 20th congress of the Communist Party: secret speech denouncing Stalin

  • Stalin removed from the Mausoleum

  • Stalingrad becomes Volgograd

  • Conservative faction plots against Khrushchev…



Russian tanks suppress uprising

  • Russian tanks suppress uprising



  • The USSR leads in the space race…



Fidel Castro takes power in 1959



  • 16 Oct. 1962 Cuban missile crisis

  • October 1964 Khrushchev removed from power – replaced by Leonid Brezhnev.

  • Solzhenitsyn cannot print anything in the USSR.

  • 1966 Show trial of Joseph Brodsky.







  • Studied mathematics at Rostov University

  • Moscow Institute of Philosophy, Literature, and History

  • During war becomes commander of artillery, twice decorated.



9 February 1945 arrested.

  • 9 February 1945 arrested.

  • 1945-53 eight-year term in various GULAGs.

  • 1953 internal exile “for life” in Kazahkstanю Taught mathematics and physics in schools.

  • 1954 Successfully treated for cancer in Tashkent.

  • 1956 released from exile, returns to European Russia.



  • 1961 22nd Communist party congress

  • Solzhenitsyn's A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich published in literary journal Novy Mir, November 1962.

  • Matriona's Home. January 1963.





  • Literature must be realistic (i.e., believable) and didactic.

  • Appeal to the newly literate masses of workers and peasants.

  • “Party-minded” (Marxist-Leninist)

  • Optimistic – apotheosis at end, reflecting Marxist view of history.



“Bildungsroman” – about the education of an individual with whom the reader is supposed to identify.

  • “Bildungsroman” – about the education of an individual with whom the reader is supposed to identify.

  • “young positive hero”of correct class background, i.e., son of worker,

  • overcomes difficulties thanks to help of older Bolshevik, perhaps party member,

  • triumphs over difficulties at the end and has his consciousness raised.



When are these events happening?

  • When are these events happening?

  • What motifs do you find significant? Why?

  • Is the story optimistic or pessimistic?

  • What kind of picture do we get of the Russian countryside under communism?

  • How important is the narrator telling the story?

  • What values does the story reflect? Does the story hint at a political program for Russia?



Didacticism: returns to tradition of “critical realism” of Tolstoy, Turgenev of 19th century

  • Didacticism: returns to tradition of “critical realism” of Tolstoy, Turgenev of 19th century

  • Didactic – but anti-Soviet

  • Tone of restrained irony



  • Pessimistic, treats two taboo themes: the state of the villages, and the GULAG

  • Education of the narrator, hence the reader

  • The final words sum up the moral

  • Extols values of honesty, modesty, hard work – but in the “wrong” character



Creating a Russian national myth as opposed to the Communist international myth

  • Creating a Russian national myth as opposed to the Communist international myth

  • The myth of the Russian narod: personified in the figure of Matriona…

  • Critique of Soviet society: greed, hierarchy, corruption…



  • Image of village post-collectivization: decline, decay, arrogance of director.

  • Linguistic decay of Russian language

  • “khamstvo” with which Matriona is treated.

  • Train and tractor destroy house: mechanization, progress vs traditional values.



Religion

  • Religion

  • Morality

  • Hard work

  • The Russian language

  • = a national ideological program for Russia



  • What have you learned about Russia after Stalin

  • from this reading?

  • How is the story written: is it effective at

  • conveying its message to the reader?





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