Matters of State, Matters of Consciousness: Literature Censorship in Poland and the DDR under Stalin


Dissertation Fellowships in East European Studies




Between the end of World War II and Stalin’s death, an unprecedentedly far-reaching and ambitious system of censorship was established in Poland. Its actual function, though, was far less uniform than was often been thought. A companion of the censorship of literature and the humanities in the GPR and Poland, for instance, reveals striking divergences. The paradox is that, while Poland had a censor’s office and East Germany officially had a free press, the German state restricted printing more harshly. By comparing the two, it is possible to move away from the uniformity of totalitarian narratives, and explore the significance of the state’s own understanding of its priorities and weaknesses. Such inquiries could open new perspectives on the state’s understanding of class, on the role of the intelligentsia, and on the gap between the façade of power and its inward fears.