The Stubbornly Jewish Worldview of the Soviet-Era Writer Friedrich Gorenstein

Gorenstein is best-known for his film scripts, written for Andrei Tarkovsky and others. Now, recently published in English for the first time, his own voice can be heard.


Observation
March 5 2019
About the author

Marat Grinberg is professor of Russian and comparative literature at Reed College. His essays and reviews have appeared in the LA Review of Books, Tablet, Cineaste, and Commentary.


Friedrich Gorenstein (1932-2002) is a major figure in the history of 20th-century Russian literature—and a most curious one. On the one hand, his novels blend fiction with religion, philosophy, and politics in a way that is quintessentially Russian, reminiscent of writers from Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy to Chekhov and, in the 20th century, Andrei Platonov. On the other hand, throughout his voluminous body of work, he defiantly tackles those selfsame issues as a Jewish writer, a Jewish thinker, and an uncompromising Jewish voice.

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More about: Arts & Culture, History & Ideas, Literature, Russian Jewry