Article published in:Translation and the cultural Cold War
Edited by Esmaeil Haddadian-Moghaddam and Giles Scott-Smith
[Translation and Interpreting Studies 15:3] 2020
► pp. 354–379
Paratext as weapon
The role of Soviet criticism in the cultural Cold War
Although the selection and publication of foreign literature in the USSR was subject to state control, many foreign works were able to reach the Soviet reader, thanks to the clever strategies employed by editors, literary advisers, critics, and translators. This was particularly true in the case of foreign literature written by Western authors, which underwent more rigorous control and often required incisive cultural and ideological domestication in order to comply with the aesthetics of the Soviet literary canon. Through the analysis of a corpus of published and unpublished Soviet critical texts, this article sheds new light on the Soviet system of cultural production by taking into account the strategies implemented, at different levels, by cultural operators, and in particular by critics. This article focuses on the Soviet reception of Western anti-mimetic novels by Italo Calvino and Kurt Vonnegut, illustrating the strategies of critical domestication to which they were subjected.
Keywords: reception of foreign literature in the USSR, Soviet literary criticism and censorship, Italo Calvino, Kurt Vonnegut
Published online: 23 October 2020
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