chapter  11
5 Pages


WithNadya L. Peterson

The last decade of the Soviet Union witnessed the emergence of a new Russian literature that used the paradigms of Soviet culture and language as building blocks for qualitatively new literary works. In a gesture of self-examination and self-reinvigoration, prompted in part by the cataclysmic occurrences within society, literature began to feed on itself, recombining in its narrative the simulacra of its culture, and demonstrating in the process its own limitations and powers. Literature, like society itself, was shaped by the Soviet redistributive state, yet the distinctive relationship between the writer and the reader continued to enshrine the writer as both social prophet and moral conscience of the nation, guaranteeing a large and serious audience for his or her writings. Writers in the fantastic decade attempted to answer Andrei Sinyavsky's call for a literature "with hypothesis instead of a Purpose." At the same time their writing offered a proof of the sustaining power of the traditional.