Novy Mir

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Novy Mir (New World ), a literary, critical, and political journal based in Moscow, was founded in 1925 as part of an official initiative to revivify the Russian tradition of the thick journal in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution. True to that tradition, Novy Mir published political and social commentaries along with its staple of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism. Having come into being during the mid1920s, during the last few years of relative cultural openness in the young Soviet Union, the journal published works by the most prominent writers of the day. The major works of literature published in the journal during this period were Maxim Gorky's novel The Life of Klim Samgin (Zhizn Klima Samgina ) and Alexei Tolstoy's Road to Calvary (Khozhdenie po mukam ).

Like Soviet culture as a whole, from the early 1930s until Stalin's death in 1953, what Novy Mir could publish was severely limited by the strictures of the official doctrine of Socialist Realism, which dictated that all publications must actively support the building of socialism in the Soviet Union. Following the death of Stalin in 1953, however, Novy Mir soon established itself as the most prestigious literary journal of the post-Stalin period. Under the editorship of the poet Alexander Tvardovsky, the journal ushered in the ensuing period of cultural liberalism with the publication of the ground-breaking article by the critic Vladimir Pomerantsev, "On Sincerity in Literature" (Ob iskrennosti v literature), which called for the "unvarnished" portrayal of reality in Soviet literary works. Tvardovsky's first tenure as editor of the journal ended when, in reprisal for his publication of politically questionable works, he was replaced by the prose writer Konstantin Simonov in 1954. Simonov himself, however, fell victim to the uncertain cultural "thaw" of the times and was deposed as editor in the wake of his 1956 publication of Vladimir Dudintsev's controversial novel, Not by Bread Alone (Ne khlebom edinym ). Tvardovsky was reappointed editor in 1958 and led the journal through its most illustrious period.

The journal, with its distinctive pale blue cover, became the leading literary periodical of the cultural relaxation under Khrushchev. Its most historically resonant publication of this period was Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novella, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich (Odin den Ivana Denisovicha ), in 1962. During the years of cultural stagnation under Brezhnev, the limits of the allowable in Soviet literature and culture again tightened. Tvardovsky struggled to maintain Novy Mir' s liberal profile until he was forced by increasing political pressure to resign from the editorship in 1970. The journal came into its own again during the glasnost period. The prose writer Sergei Zalygin assumed the editorship of the journal in 1986 and, like Tvardovsky before him, steered the journal to a leading role in the liberalization of Soviet culture under Gorbachev. The landmark Novy Mir publications of the glasnost period included the appearance in 1988 of Pasternak's novel Doctor Zhivago, which had been rejected for publication in the journal in 1950s. Novy Mir also served as the primary outlet for Sozhenitsyn's previously banned publications during this period. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of a market economy in Russia, Novy Mir, like other major Soviet publications, has struggled to adjust to the changing economic and cultural situation.

See also: glasnost; gorky, maxim; intelligentsia; pasternak, boris leonidovich; simonov, konstantin mikhailovich; socialist realism; thaw, the; thick journals; tolstoy, leo nikolayevich; solzhenitsyn, alexander isayevich


Glenny, Michael, ed. (1967). Novy Mir: A Selection, 19251967. London: Jonathan Cape Ltd.

Spechler, Dina R. (1982). Permitted Dissent in the USSR: Novy Mir and the Soviet Regime. New York: Praeger.

Catharine Nepomnyashchy

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Novy Mir

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