This introductory chapter discusses the poetry of Ol′ga Berggol′ts. Unable to pretend to accept the values of the Stalin era without reservation, Berggol′ts combined in her poetry idealistic enthusiasm and Party loyalty with feelings of doubt and disillusion which question everything the Soviet establishment purported to stand for. The chapter then sets out the purpose of the book, which is to explore ways in which the poet sets her own individual emotions and experience at the core of her writing, while retaining a strong sense that those emotions and experiences were shared by her readers. The study contends that Berggol′ts succeeds in giving voice to the complexities of the Soviet experience, and that her engagement with these complexities has contributed to critical neglect of her writing.
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