Il'ya Kukulin

is a literature critic and editor of the magazine Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, Moscow.


The regulation of pain

The Great Patriotic War in Russian literature from the 1940s to the 1970s

After 1945, the trauma of war introduced themes into Soviet literature that would have been unthinkable during the 1930s. However, the censors of the Brezhnev regime put an end to the unofficial literature that explored existential doubt; instead, wartime experiences were exploited to legitimize the Soviet myth. Thus, the potential for an aesthetic-ethical literary corpus to match that of the west was extinguished. During the 1970s and ’80s, rock lyrics became the medium for the existential questions, until, in the 1990s, war literature was able to treat its subject matter without euphemism.

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