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Uncensored: Samizdat Novels and the Quest for Autonomy in Soviet Dissidence
by Ann Komaromi
edited by Gary Saul Morson
Northwestern University Press, 2015
Paper: 978-0-8101-3186-6 | Cloth: 978-0-8101-3123-1 | eISBN: 978-0-8101-3124-8
Library of Congress Classification PG3026.U5.K65 2015
Dewey Decimal Classification 891.7090044

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ABOUT THIS BOOK

2016 AATSEEL Prize for Best Book in Literary/Cultural Studies

Vasilii Aksenov, Andrei Bitov, and Venedikt Erofeev were among the most acclaimed authors of samizdat, the literature that was self-published in the former Soviet Union in order to evade censorship and prosecution. In Uncensored, Ann Komaromi uses their work to argue for a far more sophisticated understanding of the phenomenon of samizdat, showing how the material circumstances of its creation and dissemi­nation exercised a profound influence on the very idea of dissidence, reconfiguring the relationship between author and reader.

Using archival research to fully illustrate samizdat’s social and historical context, Komaromi arrives at a more nuanced theo­retical position that breaks down the opposition between the autonomous work of art and direct political engagement. The similarities between samizdat and digital culture have particular relevance for contemporary discourses of dissident subjectivity.


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