Tamizdat as a Literary Practice and Political Institution of the Cold War Era

Literature and Culture Seminar
Event Format
In person
CGIS South, S354, 1730 Cambridge St

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. 


The Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact us at 617-495-4037 or daviscenter@fas.harvard.edu in advance of your participation or visit. Requests for Sign Language interpreters and/or CART providers should be made at least two weeks in advance if possible. Please note that the Davis Center will make every effort to secure services but that services are subject to availability.