Paper Text – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3186-6

E-book – $39.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3124-8

Cloth Text – $120.00

ISBN 978-0-8101-3123-1
Publication Date
June 2015
Page Count
272 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9


Samizdat Novels and the Quest for Autonomy in Soviet Dissidence
Ann Komaromi

Vasilii Aksenov, Andrei Bitov, and Venedikt Erofeev were among the most acclaimed authors of samizdat, the literature that was self-published in the former Soviet Union in order to evade censorship and prosecution. In Uncensored, Ann Komaromi uses their work to argue for a far more sophisticated understanding of the phenomenon of samizdat, showing how the material circumstances of its creation and dissemi­nation exercised a profound influence on the very idea of dissidence, reconfiguring the relationship between author and reader. Using archival research to fully illustrate samizdat’s social and historical context, Komaromi arrives at a more nuanced theo­retical position that breaks down the opposition between the autonomous work of art and direct political engagement. The similarities between samizdat and digital culture have particular relevance for contemporary discourses of dissident subjectivity.

About the Author

ANN KOMAROMI is an assistant professor of comparative literature at the University of Toronto.


"Ann Komaromi provides a highly innovative and inspiring literary reading of the field of Russian uncensored literature of the 1960s and 1970s."  —The Russian Review

"This is an exceptionally stimulating monograph which sheds much new light on the role and significance of tamizdat and samizdat in what turned out to be the last two decades of the USSR." —The Slavonic and East European Review

"These detailed case studies avoid romanticizing and mythologizing the subject ... instead raising intriguing questions and prompting the reader to reconsider received ideas of dissidence, autonomy and cultural production in the Soviet era." —Slavic Review