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Russia's Dangerous Texts examines the ways that writers and their works unnerved and irritated Russia's authoritarian rulers both before and after the Revolution. Kathleen F. Parthe identifies ten historically powerful beliefs about literature and politics in Russia, which include a view of the artistic text as national territory, and the belief that writers must avoid all contact with the state.
Parthe offers a compelling analysis of the power of Russian literature to shape national identity despite sustained efforts to silence authors deemed subversive. No amount of repression could prevent the production, distribution, and discussion of texts outside official channels. Along with tragic stories of lost manuscripts and persecuted writers, there is ample evidence of an unbroken thread of political discourse through art. The book concludes with a consideration of the impact of two centuries of dangerous texts on post-Soviet Russia.