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The Soviet Journal “LOKAF” on Foreign Literature: How not to Become a Remarquable

Alla O. Burtseva


The article deals with the editorial work of the Soviet literary journal “LOKAF” (the future “Zmania”) considering foreign writers in the early 1930s in the context of military propaganda in literature. Translations published in “LOKAF” and the commentaries on them are considered as a factor of Soviet defense literature (as the members of Literary Assotiation of Red Army and Navy called it) canon formation. Among other foreign writers Erich Maria Remarque and Charles Harrison were out in the specific light. Their works (particularly “Der Weg zurück” and “Generals Die in Bed”) were given special attention. The writers were accused of so-called “remarquism”, and this concept expanded beyond the borders of foreign literature. The necessity of editorial notes was motivated by the viewpoint that Soviet defense authors had to learn from negative examples and take them into account. Remarque systematically received harsh criticism. He was accused of misunderstanding “imperialistic war”, “pacifism” and “bourgeoise humanism”. The situation of Harrison was more complicated. He was considered as an author who gradually evolves towards “proletarian artist”. The concepts of “pacifism”, “humanism”, “remarquism” and others formed specific rhetorical patterns and had to show the Soviet defense authors landmarks to go by. These definitions moved beyond literature itself and were at fact a part of the whole ideological background in the military propaganda of the 1930s.


DOI: 10.31168/2305-6754.2021.10.1.15


Soviet defense literature; literary propaganda; LOKAF; remarquism; Erich Maria Remarque; Charles Harrison; Soviet literary criticism


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