Konstantin Fedin on the State of Soviet Literature, 1957
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It is good to know that recent years have seen an invigoration of Soviet literature. There are many signs of this. Nowadays, one opens the journals, both the long-established and the new literary periodicals and new books with much greater interest, and beyond them you can often hear echoes of the bustling social life in our country. This is because literature is now tackling a wider range of subjects, as a result of the new dimensions of the creative energy and activity of the people. And the new subjects in literature are accompanied by new artistic forms.
At present, Soviet literature is moving away, noticeably so, from naive descriptions of sweet harmony; it no longer evades the conflicts which are part of the drama of life. Sharp conflicts, disputes and collisions are reappearing in literature; it is taking up the urgent questions of human life.
Writers are selecting from reality all that is sound, durable, and beautiful--the things that help to build the future. But the writer is simultaneously a critic. And while selecting the good, he naturally sees the bad, the antiquated lumber. Nor should he conceal from the reader that which hampers man in his pursuit of life--the rotten, the useless, and the ugly. With all the force of conviction, with all his faith in the good, he should indicate the way to victory of the new over the old.
Not to simplify the process of social development, of the life of the people, but to disclose life in all its complexity and so delineate and affirm the foundation on which the future shall be built--such is the duty of the artist.
From: Soviet Literature, No. 6, 1957
See also: Cities and Years by Fedin, a detailed summary and Fedin: a short biography
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