Ann KomaromiJun 8, 2023
Imagining a New Society
Cornell University Press 2022
Soviet Samizdat: Imagining a New Society (Cornell UP, 2022) traces the emergence and development of samizdat, a significant and distinctive phenomenon of the late Soviet era that provided an uncensored system for making and sharing texts. In bringing together research into the underground journals, bulletins, art folios, and other periodicals produced in the Soviet Union from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s, Ann Komaromi reveals how samizdat helped to foster new forms of imagined community among Soviet citizens. Komaromi’s approach combines literary analysis, historical research, and sociological theory to show that samizdat was not simply a tool of opposition to a defunct regime, but a platform for developing informal communities of knowledge. In this way, samizdat foreshadowed the various ways in which alternative perspectives are expressed to challenge the authority of institutions around the world today.
Ann Komaromi is a Professor within the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Acting Director of the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. Her interests include alternative publishing, underground networks and nonconformist literature and art, especially in the Soviet Union after Stalin.
Iva Glisic is a historian and art historian specialising in modern Russia and the Balkans.