Written Here, Published There
Written Here, Published There offers a new perspective on the role of underground literature in the Cold War and challenges us to recognize gaps in the Iron Curtain. The book identifies a transnational undertaking that reinforced détente, dialogue, and cultural transfer, and thus counterbalanced the persistent belief in Europe’s irreversible division. It analyzes a cultural practice that attracted extensive attention during the Cold War but has largely been ignored in recent scholarship: tamizdat, or the unauthorized migration of underground literature across the Iron Curtain. Through this cultural practice, I offer a new reading of Cold War Europe’s history . Investigating the transfer of underground literature from the ‘Other Europe’ to Western Europe, the United States, and back illuminates the intertwined fabrics of Cold War literary cultures. Perceiving tamizdat as both a literary and a social phenomenon, the book focuses on how individuals participated in this border-crossing activity and used secretive channels to guarantee the free flow of literature.
The study stretches from the early literary scandals in Soviet Russia and the human rights movement’s contribution to an increased flow of ideas and information, to intellectual debates on the future of (Central) Europe in the 1980s. Based on extensive archival research, oral history interviews, and contemporary literature, the book deciphers the individual motivations and contributions that allowed literature to penetrate the Iron Curtain. The image that emerges of this largely unknown cultural encounter transcends continuing perceptions of the artificial East-West divide, revealing that tamizdatcontributed to the recreation of a transnational literary community.
List of Illustrations
Introduction: Tamizdat as Cold War Interaction
Chapter 1: Tamizdat on Trial
Chapter 2: Tamizdat: A Transnational Community
Chapter 3: Tamizdat Border Crossings
Chapter 4: Tamizdat: The Writers’ Right to Literature
Epilogue: Beyond the Literary Cold War