Throughout the Soviet century, tamizdat (literally, “published over there,” or abroad) comprised manuscripts rejected, censored, or never submitted for publication at home but smuggled through various channels across the Iron Curtain and printed elsewhere, with or without the authors’ knowledge or consent. Until perestroika, when the curtain began to rust, these publications were used as a weapon on the cultural fronts of the Cold War. In his talk, Yasha Klots will speak about the history of tamizdat as a literary practice and political institution of the Cold War era, as well as about its relevance today, when censorship and political persecution in Putin’s Russia is back, generating another “wave” of emigration from Russia and forcing numerous authors and journalists to publish abroad. He will also speak about the Tamizdat Project, a public scholarship initiative for the study of banned books from the former Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and its conception as an online archive of documents that tell the stories of the wondrous adventures of Russian and East European literatures at home and abroad.
Refreshments will be provided.
Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University.
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