«Dark shadows of the past will forever remain with us», or Fathers and Sons: Boundaries and Frontiers, Walls and Bridges in Soviet and Post-Soviet Literature


Soviet literature, post-Soviet literature, Soviet literary history, Russian literary history, intellectuals, writers, prose, poetry, nationalism, identity, Sovietization, communism, anti-communism

How to Cite

1. Кирчанов М. «Dark shadows of the past will forever remain with us», or Fathers and Sons: Boundaries and Frontiers, Walls and Bridges in Soviet and Post-Soviet Literature // Journal of Frontier Studies. 2019. № 2. C. 11-33.


My goal is to provide an analysis of problems created by social, cultural and intellectual boundaries found revealed within differing literary historical periods. Writers, poets and intellectuals such as David Shrayer-Petrov and Maxim Shrayer (1936-1967); Antanas Venclova (1906–1971); Tomas Venclova and Konstantine Gamsakhurdia (1891–1975); and Zviad Gamsakhurdia (1939–1993) are all examples of Soviet, post-Soviet and anti-Soviet literatures.This article focuses upon problems documented in the development and expression of social and ethnic identities found within the texts of intellectuals who belonged to different generations by elucidating the contradictions between fathers and children; and by exploring how different generations in literary history described either their attitudes supporting nationalism or revealed themselves as members of the myriad forced or voluntary adherents to Soviet Communist ideology. In this context, Soviet and post-Soviet literature can be approached as an historical record that describes geographical, experiential, social and intellectual boundaries between people, cultures, and governments – meaning that they are not only poems, essays, or works of fiction, but evidence of the changes in our socio-political structure and therefore a touchstone to changes in our modern history. Representatives of the first and second generations from this literary history either use different languages or write in two languages simultaneously, a in part due to the fact that emigration became an important factor that forced some intellectuals to abandon Russian language in favour of writing in English. Emigration may also have become a stimulus for the emergence and development of transculturalism within the community of intellectuals.



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