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Article

Общество по борьбе с ханжеством: Об одной незамеченной тенденции в литературе 1950-х годов

Using newly-discovered archival docu­ments, this article reconstructs the cohesive aesthetic and social conception of children’s literature that lay behind the public appearances of writer, critic and editor Lydia Chukovskaya (1908-1994) between 1953-57. This conception rested on the idea of “truth” as a synonym for psychological authenticity and as an overcoming of the estrangement created by the clichéd mental constructions of socialist realism. The author shows that Chukovskaya’s In the Editor’s Laboratory (1960) synthesized her thoughts over the previous decade on literature and the future of Soviet cul­ture, in the form of a utopian conception of literary editing as a means of social-moral therapy for post-Stalinist society. This conception had a noticeable effect on several young writers of the “Thaw” period. The article includes an appendix of three previously unknown speech outlines for talks Chukovskaya gave at literary discussions in the 1950s.