Thursday, March 22, 2007

André Gide

On his (1936) travels by train through the vast country he was met at each station by a reception party carrying large banners of welcome in identical words – “The Russian proletariat greets André Gide, writer of genius and friend of the labouring masses” or some such formula. Initially he took this to be just another sign of the growing regimentation of cultural life, that each local party branch had received detailed instructions from Moscow as to exactly how he was to be greeted. Later he discovered that the truth was even simpler: the banners travelled with him in the baggage van of the train.

Enda O’Doherty: Koestler's Anti-Communism


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