Remaining Relevant After Communism: The Role of the Writer in Eastern Europe

Front Cover
More than any other art form, literature defined Eastern Europe as a cultural and political entity in the second half of the twentieth century. Although often persecuted by the state, East European writers formed what was frequently recognized to be a "second government," and their voices were heard and revered inside and outside the borders of their countries. This study by one of our most influential specialists on Eastern Europe considers the effects of the end of communism on such writers.

According to Andrew Baruch Wachtel, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the creation of fledgling societies in Eastern Europe brought an end to the conditions that put the region's writers on a pedestal. In the euphoria that accompanied democracy and free markets, writers were liberated from the burden of grandiose political expectations. But no group is happy to lose its influence: despite recognizing that their exalted social position was related to their reputation for challenging political oppression, such writers have worked hard to retain their status, inventing a series of new strategies for this purpose. Remaining Relevant after Communism considers these strategies—from pulp fiction to public service—documenting what has happened on the East European scene since 1989.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 The Writer as National Hero
12
2 19892000 The End of the Golden Age
44
Triumph Tragedy and Farce
73
4 Writers and Nationalism
98
5 The New Internationalism in East European Literature
119
6 Writers and Journalism
140
7 Dealing with Transition HeadOn
166
8 Learning to Love Popular Fiction
189
Conclusion
215
Bibliography
221
Index
229
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Andrew Baruch Wachtel is the Bertha and Max Dressler Professor in the Humanities, director of the Center for International and Comparative Studies, and dean of the Graduate School at Northwestern University. He is the author or editor of numerous works, including Making a Nation, Breaking a Nation: Literature and Cultural Politics in Yugoslavia, which has been translated into Serbian, Romanian, and Slovene.

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