Valentin Rasputin's life, his literary career, and his forays into political action have attracted the attention of many scholars and m any more commen- tators. Aesthetically, he has moved from standard Soviet journalistic prose, to artistic sketches, to stories and short novels of great artistry, and finally to ethnography and publicistic prose often written in a deliberately archaicized language. His ideological range has been equally great: from early (at least public) acquiescence to Soviet power, to a growing distress at the effect of Soviet policy on the environment and the countryside, to a strongly national- istic — at times chauvinistic — stance that evolved in 1991 to nostalgia for the days when the Party and military maintained order in the country. The drama of his life includes the predictable (arrested father, wartime childhood, and early career struggles) and the surprising (a mugging that almost ended his career). . A mature scholar would have a formidable task in coping with all this in a monograph; it is therefore a pleasant surprise to see a published disserta- tion that is dispassionate, comprehensive, and even readable (that is, if one reads German). The extensive bibliography (running to sixty pages) makes this
Canadian-American Slavic Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1993
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