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A case history in theol literary rebellion.
THE INTELLIGENCE OF LITERATURE James V. Ogle
The controversy ln the Soviet Onion involvingwriters Like Ilya Ehrenburg and Yevgenly Yevtusnenko and reacfiing into the highest levels of party and government has dramatically illustrated for the Western public the close link between literature and politics in Soviet society. .To one who has been watching forimilar drama played on
ecame responsible for Hungarian political andJournalst was with the conviction that the trends there which culminated in6 revolt could not have slopped dead, that they must re-emerge in some form. This paper Is an account of how the re-emergence wasandescription of the course taken by these trends as evidenced In the open literary sources.
Perhaps It is still necessary to Justify the study of such matters as an intelligence concern. Obviously, persons like Yevtushenko cannot be regarded as likely recruits for covert operations: tbe fact that they publishegree of acceptance by and commitment to the system. The stance and the influence of dissident and liberal writers is anin and one index to tbe stabilityociety, however,tudy of their ideological motivations and theamong them can be rewarding for intelligence. Changes ln the party line, softening or hardeningide range of questions, are often indicated by shifts in the treatment of literary dissidence, and these shifts cannot be detected if one does not know who the dissidents are.olitical upheaval should occur, like Hungary'study will have given In advance some indication of the direction it mightaspirations of the rebels, those likely to join them, their attitudes toward the West, etc In any case it will lend
key target for specialized
precision to the description of propaganda and appeals.
It may be objected that reading between the lines in oner, sourceserribly indirect method when personal contar is becoming increasingly possible. But the one does notthe other. This kind of dissidence does not reveal itself to outsiders (fear of provocateursarginal commitment, to the systemevout commitmerit^thehomeiand foT bidn fact the discreet and effective dissidence that is important, as distinguished from the lunatic fringe, can be identified only as it is manifested in Internal action and reaction
The first step Intudy is to locate the areas ofareas in which the party line islU defined or laxly enforced. The second step Is to Identify the writers makinij the greatest use of the freedom this ambiguityfor freer publication rights or for freer contact with the West, reviving interest in previously suppressed writers oror expanding permitted criticism into tabu matters, as by Unking consumer shortages to the agricultural policy. Third, although not always necessary, it is sometimesand helpful to identify language differences, "open codes" whereby Uberal or dissident groups set themselves off from the party line while paying it lip service as necessary. The fourth step Is to divide the rest of the writers Into "good guys" and "bad guys" on the basis of attack and support patterns; the "good guys" need not express Uberal or dissident ideas themselves, but they support and defend those who do.analyzing more deeply the writings of those identified in this manner, one can define the ideology of the liberals, the forces and direction of change. In the normal flow of events, of course, this final step does not complete the work of the analyst, because partial victories of the dissidentshange in the party line make it necessary to begin again.
Revival oj the Ferment
The Hungarian regime's cultural policy8 wasby personal vendettasesperate search for alUes. Except for those In prison or In the West, the leading writers were populists, and they were "onhey wereas alUes anyway: populism in Hungarythird road"
ideology, which the Kadar regime then regarded as the most immediate danger. In the first hah"8 theassive attack on the populists, and the high-level campaign against them continued into theyear, abating only In the latter halfut in the meantime, seeking allies, the party rehabilitated the urbanist, avant-garde tradition personified by the poet Attila Jozsef.ommunist but expelled from thea mitted suicide in the fcsWrW"would bVan unoersta to observe that the party line ia this maneuver was ill defined.
The resultreat wave of poems, essays, and short stories which revived and carried forward the Ideology of6oticed first that many stories and poems were permeated by an existentialist despair far removed from the optimistic socialist, realism which the partydesired. Looking more closely at the essays written by the existentialistound certain positive values which wereifferent emphasis than in the party press. Technological efficiency and subjective freedom were posted as supreme values, and it was clearly implied that these were better realized in the West. The materialist dialectic of this ideology argued that the evolution of societies Isby the economic-technological base but that this base itself Is the creation of free. Individual minds. An "open code-consisting of allusions to science, time, the atomic age, and humanism was developed so that the protestations of Marxist purity made by the liberals took on entirely differentfrom those of the conservatives.
Patterns of mutual attack and support revealed that two leading literary editors were associated with the rathergroup of talented liberals, which also enjoyed the support of many older writers and virtually all the youth, as evidenced in the activity of the "literarylmostbut with increasing elicit as tbe party awoke to the danger, these liberals looked for justification and support to the modernists then emerging in the Soviet Union. Thus, contrary to what one would expect after the Soviet crushing of6 revolt and contrary to their own positiveof the West, the "good guys"ronounced Soviet orientation.
Confused by the atmarenUy Mandst character of theand by their Soviet orientation, the party9 the conservaUve-uneral debate tookof an esoteric discourse on the meaninghe "bad guys" attacked modernismand decadent while the "good guys"stylistic trend" and "not anrwriters became In,,
crcasingly political and mcreaslngly outspoken, and in0 they were unanimouslynew spring" in world politics. The events ofhe failure of themeeting and the subsequent hardening of the party line, crushed these hopes.
By the end0 or the beginning1 the party had reevaluated the situation, offered the hand of friendship to the more passive populists, and proscribed modernism as the chief danger. As they re-emerged, the populists bad developed their own dissident Ideology. Human dignity was made the supreme value, and the third-road political standassive support for the communist regimes In Hungary and the Soviet Union, viewed as necessary evils within the framework of an Ideological fatalism. This proved to be more acceptable to the party, partly because it was less attractive to the youth. Indeed, the modernists eventually became the severest critics of the populists.
Actingestraint more indicative of weakness than of wisdom, the party did not take "administrative" action un-
1 At first the party Insisted on the purely Hungarian word forkorsseruseg, condemning evon motiemseg as tainted by theconcept of modernism. It now accepts modermeg, dennedadherence to "progressive- Ideals, but It still condemnss decadent. Similar halr-apllUieaj took place with the three Bon-tartan words for "peacefulor years the party writers used egymas mellett elei, literally -living one beside theor coexistence in the Khrushchovlan sense while condemning xoenzu-fen-cto as revisionist or Tito 1st. The liberals consistently used egyultelss, Ulerally "livingt the tunc of too Moscow peace coneress. which seemed toeneral broadening of the KhrusbcboYiar. term, the party adopted cpyurfelei and the Uberals began to shut to koeo^Mfcncio.
it had appropriated the slogans ol both dissident groups, party spokesmen reiterated the need for acceptance of what is useful from the West, the need for freedom to experiment, and the need for modemness (as opposed tout In1 several liberal literary editors were removed or demoted. Corning as It did on the heels ofongress of the CPSU. this move was misinterpreted in the West, by
dcstalinlxatlon" process. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. But It is probably true that itsJuxtaposition with the Congress prevented the swiftconsolidation of the situation evidently planned. The ranks of the modernists were swelled by those reacting to the Congress justime when their coherenceroup was being broken, r "
2 confusion reigned as the party sought, with little success, to re-establish control and as the liberals and dissidents sought, with almost as little success, to find an area of ambiguity or modes of expression notby the changing party line. It is Indicative of theof the problems faced by the party that the partyof the Writers Federation was not formed untilate enough date at best, and the secretary of this party organisation, writing indmitted that it could not be expected to function fully until
The Hungarian modernists never reattained the level of purposeful ferment which preceded the change in the party lineut Isolated events Indicate their continuingMost dramatic, perhaps, was the organization of the "Work Community of Young Writers" earlythe young modernists organized this groupin order toommon program by interjecting the "generation concept" (which opposes the "pure" younger generation to those tainted by the Stalinist past) into the modernist ideology described above. This time, however, events in the Soviet Union were against them. Theconcept" was immediately attacked, and some months later the "Work Community" was transformed into an organ of the Communist Youth Federation and new leaders were elected.
the time of this writing, the Hungarian regime scerm motivated by an overriding concern to present itself as the most liberal force in Hungary. This is being accomplished at great cost in terms of ideological purity. The rank-and-file party members are being alienated by the party policies In many areas. Thus, although they have been broken as agroup, the modernists haveictory because It was their pressure, in addition to foreign policywhich has determined the party line. It is nowto Identify new areas of ambiguity. Perhaps the most curious Is the putative link between dogmatism andwhich liberal, or at least anti-dogmatic, historians and literary critics have pretended to discover. The party line on this is not yet clear, but neither is it clear whereypothesis would lead the liberals. It would probably deepen the break between populists and modernists and mightthe youth. One thing, however, is clear. The youngare on the move throughout Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and even if the modernist banner is ripped from their hands they promise to be the spiritual leaders of the future.
Literary Politics Elsewhere?
Ituestion whether such studies are applicable to other societies than the Soviet and East European, which appear peculiarly prone to Links between literature and politics. But It would seem that any societyelatively sophisticated tradition could developinkore primitivesystem Is forced upon it. Thus the trend toward one-party systems in many areas of the world might lead to what one might call non-party politics, or literature asbringing the development of subtly oppositionaland elites whose very existence modifies government programs and whichotential for change. In this case, the intelligence of literature mightore broadly useful pursuit
INSTEADIBLIOGRAPHY Readers Interested In reading the original documents on which this brief analysis is based are Invited to look Into the more than Issues of the Rat tern Europe Press Survey which have been published so far by CIA's Foreign Documents Division. Eastern Europe Fr***
ummary Ho.anuary lfSi.. conetailed discussion of the ideological aspects of Hungarian populism and modernism Most readers, however, will probably be satisfied with the following examples, all from recently published worksoung Hungarian physicist.
rime splits wtrAIn me, Info post ondam the mm of tmpaet, at are all toftoJ bet on. TTinoroUdotol material, nofM'-
1ew lauote lleUar lyittmreate it Soan Molafe itewer late. There it no mercy
ExcerpU from an essay:
I belong to that generation toileto-mart'sa that socialism was no* only the coUectlvuatton oj industrythe good public /alma ot thehe socialismpoetryt Ha Joatf represented tn my microsporia the laiththe only possible socialist behavior
To yotsrevtuthmko retted his psoas. And Il/itnk ol another answer nttpl the new poetry."Original document.