Russian Lit Throughout the Soviet Term Paper

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What make both works similar are the attitudes of the main characters: Zhivago and Shukhov each attempt to make the most of what fate and history have to deal them, although both experience decidedly unfavorable fates. "Shukhov is a 'simple heart,' a beloved type in Russian literature from Turgenev to Tolstoy." (Slonim, 333). Solzhenitsyn's character simplistically seeks out the small and minimal pleasures to be found in his deplorable condition. Although the character portrayed was not deemed challenging to Russian authority, the conditions that Solzhenitsyn matter-of-factly depicts eventually came under scrutiny.

Switches in policy and practice have meant that some authors have their work published both openly and as samizdat literature, or that sometimes samizdats become public. Particularly from 1966, when more effective controls were imposed after Khrushchev's 'thaw,' there was a proliferation of samizdats." (Shaw, 120). This has become the case with both Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn's writings. For instance, when Pasternak initially sought to publish Dr. Zhivago in Russia it was declined:

When Soviet journalists declined to publish it, he passed it on to the Italian publisher Feltrinelli, who bought it out in Milan in 1957. This was not a deeply pondered challenge to the cultural monopoly, but the next year, when Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, he was subjected to a campaign of official vituperation at home and expelled from the Writers union.
" (Hosking, 555).

Still later, under Gorbachev, Pasternak's position as a political enemy was reversed: "In 1988 his expulsion from the union was, posthumously, cancelled and the novel published in the U.S.S.R." (Shaw 207). This illustrated the increased openness of official Soviet political policies towards its decline, and particularly concerning issues of education and art.

Solzhenitsyn experienced a similar fate. "Although Soviet authorities allowed him to accept the Nobel Prize in 1970, three years later he was exiled (an exile he maintained voluntarily until his recent return to Russia)." (Fader, 100). In fact, "Formal constraints on literature and contemporary writers did not disappear until glasnost, under Gorbachev. Previously banned books became available, literary journals built circulations in the millions, and new literary prizes were established." (Fader 100). Pasternak and Solzhenitsyn are significant Russian writers not only because of the intense power of their works, but because of the powerful barriers that their writing eventually overcame; and the political precedence they set both in terms of censorship and freedom.

Works Cited

Fader, Kim Brown. Russia: Modern Nations of the World. San Diego: Lucent, 1998.

Hosking, Geoffrey. Russia and the Russians. Cambridge: Harvard University, 2001.

Shaw, Warren and David Pryce. The World Almanac of the Soviet Union. New York: Library of Congress,….....

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