By Angus Mather
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Earlier than his demise in March, 1976, A. H. Lightstone added the manu script for this ebook to Plenum Press. simply because he died prior to the editorial paintings at the manuscript was once accomplished, I agreed (in the autumn of 1976) to function a surrogate writer and to determine the undertaking via to of entirety. i've got replaced the manuscript as low as attainable, changing yes passages to right oversights.
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Not coincidentally, too, the Lenin cult instituted upon the leader’s death in 1924 began to subside in favour of an emphasis upon ‘Soviet patriotism’, centred round ﬁgures whose glory reﬂected and enhanced that of the ‘coryphaeus of all knowledge’, Stalin himself. The centenary of Pushkin’s death in 1937 came at a crucial stage in this set of processes, and was itself used in order to enforce a new, and entirely circular, identiﬁcation of artistic merit and political progressiveness. During the 1920s, Pushkin had been perceived as an artist of supreme Russian Literature talent but dubious opinions; from 1937, he began to be seen as an 10.
Authors’ royalties depended on prestige (for which read congeniality to the Party authorities) rather than numbers of copies sold; sinecures were paid to established ﬁgures who were members of the Writer’s Union without regard to how well or even how much they wrote. And commemoration of important authors was always of a ‘cultured’ kind (to use the Soviet term) – that is, contrived in a manner that could be held to contribute to intellectual self-improvement on the part of the masses. A typical item was a set of post cards intended for 21 ‘I have raised myself a monument’ bookshops about their lackadaisical attitude to selling his publications.
By the late Soviet period, the greatest reward that a recognized writer such as Pasternak could imagine was being allowed to live out his life in decent obscurity. But what one of Pasternak’s biographers has termed his ‘choreographed self-effacement’, the elusiveness that he shared with Western Modernist poets such as T. S. Eliot, Robert Frost, or Elizabeth Bishop, was relatively rare in a culture where writers risked being effaced whether they wished it or not. A much more customary strategy was the grandiose rejection of ofﬁcial commemoration and the 28 substitution of a magniﬁcently egotistical alternative cult of self.