Soviet Literature - The “Thaw”

(1303 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

“The Thaw” is the name given to the softening of official attitudes in Soviet Russia towards literature and the arts over the decade or so from 1953. The term also extends to standing for the artistic production (or at least the more liberal elements thereof) over this particular historical-cultural period. The death of Stalin (early in that year) caught the country unexpectedly, and this applied not least to its cultural life. Some slight signs of political relaxation towards the cultural scene had even begun to appear before then, but these were accompanied at the same time by highly sinister developments (the execution of the Yiddish writers; and the so-called “Doctors’ Plot”).

The Thaw period overall is usually …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Cornwell, Neil. "Soviet Literature - The “Thaw”". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 July 2005
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]