The Interval of Freedom: Soviet Literature During the Thaw, 1954-1957
by George Gibian
University of Minnesota Press, 1960
Paper: 978-0-8166-5772-8


The Interval of Freedom was first published in 1960. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

When Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago was published in Europe and America in 1957 and 1958, the Western world was astonished and elated. But Doctor Zhivago is not the only significant literary work to come out of Soviet Russia recently. During four extraordinary years, 1954 to 1957, from Stalin's death to the aftermath of the Hungarian revolt, Soviet Russian authors were able to express their minds with unusual freedom. In this volume Professor Gibian examines various revelations made in Soviet literature during this interval of comparative freedom.

Nearly a score of contemporary Soviet writers are considered in detail. The authors and their works are grouped according to three major subjects to which Soviet writers have devoted much attention: science, love and sex, and the literary villain or "negative" character. Works of the following writers are discussed in depth: Alexander Bek, Leonid Leonov, Daniel Granin, Venyamin Kaverin, Vladimir Dudintsev, Semen Kirsanov, S. Aleshin, Viktor Nekrasov, Nikolai Pogodin, Galina Nikolaeva, Alexander Korneichuk, Alexander Shtein, Alexander Volodin, Nikolai Gorbunov, Nikolai Zhdanov, and Alexander Yahin. An entire chapter is devoted to Doctor Zhivago. In an introductory chapter, the author provides a survey of literary developments during the interval of freedom. In a final chapter he draws conclusions about the nature of the thinking of Soviet literary intelligentsia, comparing it with Western literary thought. The book is illuminating from social and political as well as literary viewpoints.

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