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The Enigma of Isaac BabelBiography, History, Context$
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Gregory Freidin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804759038

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804759038.001.0001

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Thinned and Diluted

Thinned and Diluted

Babel in Published Russian Literature of the Soviet Period

Chapter:
(p.116) 6 Thinned and Diluted
Source:
The Enigma of Isaac Babel
Author(s):

Marietta Chudakova

Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804759038.003.0006

This chapter presents a fascinating view of Babel's evolution as a writer and stylist in his interaction with the body of Russian and Soviet Russian literature. Contrary to the prevailing view of Babel as a sui generis author with a limited genealogy in Russian letters and practically no following among Soviet Russian writers, it is shown that Babel, in fact, had a tremendous impact on Soviet Russian prose, which absorbed elements of his style even as it diluted its intensity and pungency to “safe” consumption levels. Paradoxically or not, Babel, too, found himself caught up in the “taming of Babel”: as the author of his 1937 story, “The Kiss,” he was coming close to resembling his own Soviet epigones.

Keywords:   Isaac Babel, Russian literature, Soviet Russian prose, The Kiss

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