Bates, John Michael
The PUWP's preferences in the contemporary Polish novel, 1959-1985.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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The thesis seeks to account for the development of the Party's views of the contemporary novel and its expectations of the form after Socialist Realism (1949-1955). The course of development of Party requirements of the form is traced from 1959, when the Party announced its new operative ideology at the Third Congress, to its last major statement of demands at the Party Writers' Conference of February 1985. One of the salient features of the thesis is the attempt to reconstruct Party thinking on the novel through access to hitherto unknown materials for the period from the Party and Censorship Office archives. This enables the lack of specificity inherent in the Party's formulations after the demise of Socialist Realism to be countered, and a more definite account of the progression of Party thinking to be delineated.
Chapter 1 defines, firstly, the administrative structures within which writers were required to operate - the Writers' Union, Ministry of Culture, the Central Committee's Cultural Department and, finally, the Censorship Office. Secondly, it considers the positive mechanisms devised by the state to encourage novel-writing on favoured topics, and thirdly, the aims of the Party's cultural programme.
Chapter 2 provides a general cultural background of the period, describing the development of the term 'committed literature', which was most frequently used by writers and politicians in their deliberations on the nature and direction literature was to take. This development was influenced by the increasing restrictions which the authorities placed upon writers' freedom of interpretation. These concerned, above all, the problem of alienation in socialist society.
Chapter 3-5 discuss six works in relation to the administrative structures and the major political issues of the period. In Chapter 3, the question of the Party's initial definition of the extent of freedoms is considered in relation to Roman Bratny's Szczes lwi, torturowani (1959) and Jerzy Putrament's Pasierbowie (1963).
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