See No Evil: Literary Cover-Ups and Discoveries of the Soviet Camp Experience

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Believing that human actions could be controlled by a totalitarian government, Stalin and his followers subjected millions of Soviet citizens to acts of state terrorism and imprisonment in labor camps. But this was not enough. Seeking to control human thought as well, Soviet authorities provided official words and images to legitimize the gulag, distort its moral nature, and even glorify its "necessary" violence. This book is the first in English to examine official Soviet concentration camp literature from the early 1920s through the mid 1960s. Dariusz Tolczyk probes the evolution of this literature, the totalitarian thinking that inspired it, and the scandalous role played by Russian literary intellectuals who collaborated in its creation.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This scholarly volume examines the official Soviet concentration camp literature from the early 1920s through the mid-1960s. Tolczyk (Slavic languages, Univ. of Virginia) argues that not only did Stalin seek to control human actions, he also sought to control human thought. Thus, Soviet officials went to great lengths to legitimize the gulag by distorting and glorifying its "necessary" violence. Tolczyk also indicts the Russian literary intellectuals who collaborated in creating the official image of the camps put forth by the Soviet government. He examines a range of writings--from Gorky's White Sea Canal to Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich--and discusses how the camps became a taboo subject from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. This is a fascinating and well-written account of a dark time in Russian history. While scholarly in nature, it is recommended for most libraries.--Ronald Ray Ratliff, Emporia P.L., KS Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300066081
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Series: Russian Literature and Thought Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.83 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Fiction and Fear: Totalitarianism between Word and Experience 1
2 From Tragedy to Festival: Revolutionary Violence and Ethical Experimentation in the 1920s 58
3 The Glory of the Gulag: Stalin's Camps as Social Medicine 93
4 Hope Beyond Hope: Communist Martyrology and the Post-Stalinist Thaw 184
5 A Sliver in the Throat of Power: Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and the Boundaries of the Soviet Public Discourse 253
Notes 311
Index 349
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