Our Notes & References
Grossman’s first tamizdat novel – banned in Soviet Union until 1989. Although Grossman (1905-64) began his major opus Zhizn i sudba [Life and Fate] before, Vse techet saw light first (and posthumously), in 1970 in Germany. Both works were confiscated together by the KGB in 1961; Zhizn i sudba would be published only in 1980 in Switzerland.
Grossman’s last work, Vse techet… is the story of a Gulag prisoner who returns home, mixed with the author’s reflections on the peculiarities of the Russian history and conscience. “A bitter indictment of the Soviet system, it charges not only Stalin but also Lenin with the ills and evils of Soviet society” (Terras).
Not only was the story censored at home, but it also appeared to be uncomfortable for many Russians abroad, with some either arguing against Grossman’s vision of the Russian history, or not being ready to discuss the vices that the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century fostered in people.
The editorial board of Posev assumed all the rights for publication and translation of the story, hindering its broader circulation: after three editions within 5 years (1970-74), the story was never reprinted abroad. “In the mid-1980s it was already considered a bibliographic rarity” (Bit-Unan, our translation).
Vasilii Grossman (1905-64) was a Soviet writer and war correspondent and was among the first soldiers to set foot in the Polish concentration camps of Majdanek and Treblinka when the Soviet forces liberated them.
Yuri Bit-Unan, Povest V.S. Grossmana «Vse techet…» v otsenke kritiki russkogo zarubezhia 1970–1980-h gg.
Terras, A History of Russian Literature, 590.