Tomas Venclova – Feeling isolated from society (45/88)

Tomas Venclova – Feeling isolated from society (45/88)


I have to say all of that is connected with
Paris where we are now, because Ginzburg died in Paris and
Gorbanevskaya still lives in Paris… My father was still alive at that time
but he died a little later of heart disease, leaving my mother and me. And all of a sudden things
started to get worse for me because up to that time I had been able to get
some of my own work published – whether it was scholarly articles
or political journalism or poems, not very much, but I had been able
to get some work published. I was able to have my translations published,
I could survive from the income and suddenly they almost completely
stopped publishing me. they almost completely stopped publishing me and the question arose: what should I do? How should I make a living? How to go on, as it were, existing in this society? Because my dissident connections and acquaintances
became very much a problem for the authorities, my views as well which differed very much from
the officially acceptable stance on things, and I didn’t hide that at all. In fact, there were lots of people like that,
who disagreed with the authorities, but they all concealed their views and even publicly
would often support the official point of view. Whereas I didn’t hide and would speak out against,
sometimes publicly, against the authorities. For that reason I wasn’t accepted into
the Writers’ Union, for example. And without the Writers’ Union a person had,
as it were, no place in society, and it wasn’t very clear what he was able to do
in the future and what his fate would be.

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