Vol. 16 (2023): XVI International Symposium Contemporary Issues of Literary Criticism Socialist Realism in Literature and Art
Plenary Session

The Reverse Side of the Socialist Realist Canon: the Experience of Ukrainian Literature

Roman Dzyk
Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University
Liliia Shutiak
Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University

Published 2023-12-11


  • socialist realist,
  • literary canon,
  • socialist realist canon,
  • Ukrainian Soviet literature,
  • Ukrainian literature


The concept of literary canon to be surprisingly organic for description of what has been formed for a long time through totalitarian state mechanisms, in particular, in Ukrainian Soviet literature. Such canon is extremely structured, but not frozen. The totalitarian nature of this canon meant that nothing could exist outside of it. What was outside these limits we mean by the flip side of a socialist realist canon. These are not only the forbidden texts and authors, but also the transformation of the canon itself, when its front side turned into the reverse side; these are different editions of texts; these are textbooks in literary history, and the changes they underwent; counter-discourse in “samizdat” and the diaspora, etc. The normativity of the socialist realist canon only contributes to the reconstruction of its reverse side.