In the "years of stagnation" before glasnost changed the cultural map of the Soviet Union, Iurii Trifonov (1926-1981) defied the rules of censorship. In Invented Truth
, Josphine Woll examines how, within the repressive artistic and political constraints of the Soviet publishing world, Trifonov managed not only to write on controversial tropics such as Soviet history but even to achieve and maintain popular status in doing so.
Woll analyzes the aesthetic strategies Trifonov deployed to transmit his ideas and opinions to Soviet readers and elucidates the major themes of his late fiction: the moral climate that permitted the triumph of Stalinist immorality, the relationship between the Bolshevik revolutionary past and present-day Soviet amorality, and, finally, art's prismatic interpretation of reality. Drawing on both Western and Soviet scholarship, as well as interviews with many Soviet and emigre writers, literary critics, and personal acquaintances of Trifonov, Woll provides detailed background on the Soviet literary milieu and the rules governing literary production.