Disseminating Moldovan Identity: Moldovan Writers and Their Audiences during Stalinism
Disseminating Moldovan Identity:
Moldovan W!ters and "eir Au#ences du!ng Stalin%m
Petru Negură, Dr.
The audience(s) of the Moldovan Soviet
Literature during Stalinism
(1928-1940 / 1940-1953)
The target audience: the workers (urban and
The real audience: the educated readers
(teachers, students, komsomol members, etc.)
These two audiences reﬂect the binary
structure of the Moldovan literary
milieu and the contents of the literary
output during Stalinism.They also
explain the evolution of that milieu.
1924-1940 - the
1940-1941, from 1944 -
the Moldovan Soviet
1918-1940 - Bessarabia
- a Romanian province
The consulted sources
The Party CC and the Moldovan Writers'
Interviews with writers and villagers (born in
the late 1920s)
A body of 150 literary texts (100 poems and 50
The Moldovan "workers"
as "target audience"
An object of the Bolshevik ofﬁcial discourse: to be
"emancipated," transformed, educated...
Enlightenment, Marxist, and narodnik ideals of the "New
Man" (and masses as history makers)
"National-cultural building,""cultural revolution,"and the
"engineers of the human soul"
The Soviet (Moldovan) literature: narodnost' and partiinost'
The kolkhozy and kolkhoz workers as literary themes and
The writers and kolkhoz
workers: a missed meeting
The literacy rate in the MASSR:
1926: 63% - illiterates
1937 - 85% - literate, including 20% half-literates
The rural, elderly, female population: the less educated
1924-1940 - 4 linguistic reforms in MASSR
Literacy campaigns and literary soirees in factories and
In Bessarabia, in 1941, more than 50% - illiterates
The literary meetings in
kolkhozes in MASSR
The "literary soiree" in Ternauca village, in
october 1929: a failed meeting
To elevate the "working people" to the level of
the literature or to adapt the literature to the
educational level of the "people"?
In the 1930s - the writers' visits in kolkhozes - a
current practice, then a routine
An unpopular "popular"
1935, in the Kotovski distrikt, only 4 % from the planned amount of
books were sold
1935, in the Ghedirim village, from 1300 books in the village
library, 463 in Moldovan - 40 books (in Moldovan) were
borrowed for reading (30 by pupils, 6 by kolkhoz workers)
1935, in the Rîbnița district, in the city school library - only 9
books in "Moldovan", no books in "Moldovan" in the kolkhoz
libraries and the Rîbnița sugar factory; in the whole district - only 6
subscriptions to the Octombrie review
1935, in Tiraspol, 1695 volumes of Octombrie review and 1010 of
Scînteia leninistă were to be "recycled."
The ambiguous status of
the "real audience"
Young teachers, students, komsomol members,
selkors, and rabkors, actively involved in literary
activities (literary circles, literary meetings /
soirees, reading houses, correspondence with the
Writers' Union and Octombrie review, writing
literature, criticizing the "professional" literature
A pool of new recruits for journalism and the
Moldovan Writers' Union
Tinerimea, the young writers' group (within MWU), 1930
The literary audience in Soviet
Moldavia after '44: further stratiﬁcation
From the late 1940s, young educated people claim
progressively a literature designed for their
interests, reference universe, "horizons d'attente"
From early 1950s, the ﬁrst stories in prose written
for young professionals, teachers, journalists - self-
The "peasant" prose reinvented (Ion Druță)
The literature for children
Instead of conclusion:
The stratiﬁcation of the literary audience reﬂects the double
aim (and logic of action) of the Moldovan literary milieu:
The "social demand" (to educate and to trasform the "working
The aesthetic vocation / function (to instill an aesthetic feeling)
The sub-ﬁeld of large-scale production vs. the sub-ﬁeld of
small-scale production (P. Bourdieu):
The existence of a "real" audience: a premise for literary
The "real audience" as mediator between
writers and the "target audience"
The Moldovan literature became a "mass
literature" starting from the 1950s, due to its
"real audience" (esp. teachers) who spread it