The Transfiguring of Context in the Work of Abram Terts
In particular, I am very interested in the problem of prose, prose as space.
In 1974, soon after his expulsion from the Soviet Union, the literary scholar Andrei Siniavskii once again deferred to his created alter ego, the writer Abram Terts, to pass provocative judgment on the Soviet literary scene. The essay ascribed to Terts, “Literaturnyi protsess v Rossii,” reviews unofficial Soviet literature to highlight its artistic (rather than moral) appeal. As Terts reads it, the punitive context of this literature—established by Stalin and enforced to a less rigorous extent through the Leonid Brezhnev era—inadvertently guaranteed art and the fate of the artist richness and power:
At this moment the fate of the Russian writer has become the most intriguing, the most fruitful literary topic in the whole world; he is either being imprisoned, pilloried, internally exiled, or simply kicked out. The writer nowadays is walking a knife-edge; but unlike the old days, when writers were simply eliminated one after another, he now derives pleasure and moral satisfaction from this curious pastime. The writer is now someone to be reckoned with. And all the attempts to make him see reason, to terrorize or crush him, to corrupt or liquidate him, only raise his literary achievement to higher and higher levels.
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