Ol′ga Berggol′ts After the War: a Pre-Emptive Response to Zhdanov
University of Exeter
The Slavonic and East European Review
Modern Humanities Research Association
An article on Akhmatova's war poetry, written by Berggol'ts in 1946 but unpublished until 2001, argues that the war has changed people's perspectives and challenges standard Soviet attitudes towards Akhmatova, calling for an objective reappraisal of art and literature since 1900. Berggol'ts's defence of Akhmatova's love poetry is explored in relation to her own writing on the theme, and her arguments in favour of poetic integrity and autonomy are also shown to have a particularly personal resonance. In writing about Akhmatova, Berggol'ts expressed her own understanding of her role as a poet, ideas which would resurface in her own poetry and criticism of the 1950s.