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Socialist Realism: Background information when reading The Valley of Unknowing

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The Valley of Unknowing

by Philip Sington

The Valley of Unknowing
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  • Published:
    Dec 2012, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
Socialist Realism

The fictional character of Bruno Krug gained international fame with a literary blockbuster The Orphans of Neustadt, but when we meet him at the beginning of his story, he is busy writing simple stories - called the Factory Gate Fables - about life in Actually Existing Socialism. These stories represent typical literature in the U.S.S.R and Soviet-occupied countries in the mid-20th century that correspond with the theory of Socialist Realism. Socialist Realism extends to other art forms but was officially adopted by the Congress of Soviet Writers in 1934 and codified the state's expectations for writers. Socialist Realism demanded that authors create literature that depicted man's struggle towards socialist progress in pursuit of a better life. Literature was required to serve the proletariat by being realistic, optimistic, heroic, and complimentary of the State. Any experimental writing was discouraged.

Understandably, many writers struggled with these strict rules, and some were ...

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