By Isaiah Berlin, Henry Hardy
Isaiah Berlin’s reaction to the Soviet Union used to be critical to his identification, either in my opinion and intellectually. Born a Russian topic in Riga in 1909, he spoke Russian as a toddler and witnessed either revolutions in St. Petersburg in 1917, emigrating to the West in 1921. He first back to Russia in 1945, whilst he met the writers Anna Akhmatova and Boris Pasternak. those formative encounters contributed to shaping his later paintings, specially his security of political freedom and his stories of pre-Soviet Russian thinkers. by no means prior to amassed, Berlin’s writings in regards to the USSR comprise his money owed of his well-known conferences with Russian writers presently after the second one international conflict; the prestigious 1945 international workplace memorandum at the country of the humanities lower than Stalin; his account of Stalin’s manipulative ‘artificial dialectic’; images of Osip Mandel?shtam and Boris Pasternak; his survey of Soviet Russian tradition written after a trip in 1956; a postscript inspired by way of the occasions of 1989; and extra. This assortment comprises essays that experience by no means been released earlier than, in addition to works that aren't widely recognized simply because they have been released lower than pseudonyms to guard kin dwelling in Russia. The contents of this e-book have been mentioned at a seminar in Oxford in 2003, held lower than the auspices of the Brookings establishment. Berlin’s editor, Henry Hardy, had ready the essays for collective e-book and right here recounts their heritage. In his foreword, Brookings president Strobe Talbott, a professional at the Soviet Union, relates the essays to Berlin’s different paintings. The Soviet brain will think its rightful position between Berlin’s works and should turn out beneficial for policymakers, scholars, and people attracted to Russian politics, previous, current and destiny.
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Additional resources for The Soviet Mind: Russian Culture Under Communism
Thus the poet Boris Pasternak told me that when he reads his poetry in public, and occasionally 13 01_SOVMINDCH1. 12/19/03 11:23 AM Page 14 the soviet mind halts for a word, there are always at least a dozen listeners present who prompt him at once and from memory, and could clearly carry on for as long as may be required. Indeed there is no doubt that, for whatever reason – whether from innate purity of taste, or from the absence of cheap or trivial writing to corrupt it – there probably exists no country today where poetry, old and new, good and indifferent, is sold in such quantities and read so avidly as it is in the Soviet Union.
I invented the name of John O. Utis for the ‘Artificial Dialectic’. Outis means ‘nobody’ in Greek & you will recall elaborate puns about this in the Odyssey where Odysseus deceives the one-eyed ogre by this means. , let us say, or a Czech or Slovene cd have: & so, plausible for the author of such a piece. Ascoli & possibly a confidential typist may know the secret. Nobody else; & he will certainly be honourable & lock it in his breast, whatever his feelings about where & how the piece is published.
The Soviet Government cannot be accused of leaving him in any uncertainty in this matter. Western ‘values’, which unless avowedly anti-Soviet or considered reactionary, used at one time not to be thought too disreputable and were left alone, largely glossed over in silence, are once again under attack. The classical authors alone seem to be beyond political criticism. The heyday of earlier Marxist criticism, when Shakespeare or Dante – as well as Pushkin and Gogol and, of course, Dostoevsky – were condemned as enemies of popular culture or of the fight for freedom, is today regarded with distaste as a childish aberration.