The Columbia Literary History of Eastern Europe Since 1945
Covering Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, East Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine, Harold B. Segel, a longtime scholar of Slavic literatures and of comparative literature, writes a clear, concise, and balanced history of Eastern European literature. Segel not only examines the literary response to the quasi-colonial oppression that stretched across Eastern Europe between 1945 and 1991 but also details the impact of the downfall of communism and the way in which the challenges of the postcommunist period are being met.
Segel's history follows a unique chronological-topical approach that begins with the treatment of World War II in Eastern European fiction and follows with such topics as the postwar imposition of Soviet-style literary controls, primarily in the form of socialist realism; literary responses to the brutal campaign of collectivization after 1945; the impact of the death of Stalin and expectations of change; exile and creativity; strategies of literary evasion and subterfuge; writing born from the experience of prison and labor camps; and the rise of solidarity in Poland. He also handles varieties of postmodernism throughout the region; poetry by women and the continued struggle for freedom of expression; the resonance of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s on imaginative literature; Eastern European writers and their relationship to America; and the major postcommunist trends of new urbanism, nostalgia, emigration, and minority concerns.