Conscience is the writer's production tool. If he has not got that, he has not got anything. All the artistic fabric crumbles and frays at the first touch. - Iurii Dombrovskii
Iurii Dombrovskii (1909-1978) was a Soviet writer of immense courage and integrity, whose life and literary career were repeatedly disrupted by unjust arrests and long periods of imprisonment. Born and educated in Moscow, he was first detained in 1932, and spent a total of twenty-three years in exile in Alma-Alata and in Siberian labour camps. Even after his rehabilitation in 1956 he was never free from surveillance and harassment by Soviet authorities. Only able to publish infrequently, he was forced to eke out a meagre existence yet produced original works of high quality.
This book is the first full-length monograph on Iurii Dombrovskii, widely acclaimed in recent years as a writer of major importance and interest, following the publication in Russia and the West of his last novel The Faculty of Unnecessary Things. The book is based on a thorough study of published materials by and about Dombrovskii and on research into unpublished archive sources, to which no previous Western scholar has had access. Iurii Dombrovskii: Freedom under Totalitarianism provides a detailed overview of the writer, and lays the foundations for further research. Peter Doyle gives the most substantive account of Dombrovkii's biography yet written, along with detailed interpretive studies of his main prose works, an assessment of his little known poetry, and a comprehensive bibliography.
'A foundation for subsequent research into the life and work of this relatively unknown literary figure….This fine study shows that Dombrovskii may very well emerge as a major Russian writer of the 20th century.' - Choice