Conversations in Exile

Russian Writers Abroad

Conversations in Exile

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 14 photographs Published: November 1992

Editor: John Glad

Translator(s): Joanna Robin, Richard Robin

Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

An entire generation of Russian writers have been living in exile from their homeland. Although today's glasnost has special meaning for many of these banished writers, it does not dissolve their experience of forced separation from their country of origin. In Conversations in Exile, John Glad brings together interviews with fourteen prominent Russian writers in exile, all of whom currently live in the United States, France, or Germany. Conducted between 1978 and 1989, these frank and captivating interviews provide a rich and complex portrait of a national literature in exile.
Glad's introduction situates the three distinct waves of westward emigration in their historical and political framework. Organized by genre, the book begins with discussions with the older generation of writers and then moves on to more recent arrivals: the makers of fantasy and humor, the aesthetes, the moralists, and the realists. Each voice is compelling for its invaluable testimony--some reveal startling insights into the persecution of dissidents under Soviet rule while others address the relationship between creativity, writing, and conditions of exile. Taken together these interviews reveal the range of modern Russian writing and document the personalities and positions that have made Russian writers in emigration so diverse, experimental, and controversial.

The Writers: Vasily Aksyonov, Joseph Brodsky, Igor Chinnov, Natalya Goranevskaya, Frifrikh Gorensetin, Roman Goul, Yury Ivask, Boris Khazanov, Edward Liminov, Vladimir Makisimov, Andrei Siniavsky and Maria Rozanova, Sasha Sokolov, Vladimir Voinovich, Aleksandr Zinoviev

John Glad: You're a Russian poet but an American essayist. Does that bring on any measure of split personality? Do you think you are becoming less and less Russian?
Joseph Brodsky (recipient of 1987 Nobel Prize for Literature): That's not for me to say. As far as I'm concerned, in my inner self, inside, it feels quite natural. I think being a Russian poet and an American essayist is an ideal situation. It's all a matter of whether you have (a) the heart and (b) the brains to be able to do both. Sometimes I think I do. Sometimes I think I don't. Sometimes I think that one interferes with the other.



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Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

1. The Older Generation

Igor Chinnov 31

Yury Ivask 39

Roman Goul 50

2. Makers of Fantasy and Humor

Vasily Aksyonov 69

Vladimir Voinovich 85

3. The Aesthetes

Joseph Brodsky 101

Boris Khazanov 114

Andrei Siniavsky and Maria Razanova 141

Sasha Sokolov 174

4. The Moralists

Fridrikh Gorenstein 189

Aleksandr Zinoviev 204

Natalya Gorbanevskaya 222

5. The Realists

Vladimir Maksimov 239

Edward Limonov 258

A Chronology 271

Glossary of Names 295
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1298-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1277-2
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