Aleksandr Zinov’ev: Ziiaiushchie vysoty [The Yawning Heights]

(2417 words)

Ziiaiushchie vysoty was published in the West in 1976 by a writer who was hitherto unknown outside his own academic discipline. Almost immediately after the work appeared its author was being compared to writers such as Rabelais, Sterne, Swift, Voltaire, Hobbes, Orwell, Anatole France, Saltykov-Shchedrin and Kafka. The work itself was hailed by a variety of sovietologists and literary critics as “a marvellous book”, “a rich and devastating satire”, “a larger than life satire”, “a Soviet Satyricon”. (Later, when the work was published in Russia in 1990, it had a print run of 250,000.) The title is a pun on the Soviet cliché “siiaiushchie vysoty (kommunizma)” [“the g…

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Kirkwood, Michael. "Ziiaiushchie vysoty". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 05 May 2008
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Dystopian and Apocalyptic Fiction