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The Progress of a Manuscript

Historian Catherine Merridale chronicles the tortuous publication of Vasily Grossman’s novel STALINGRAD. By 1949 the novel was finished but Grossman's nightmare was just beginning.

Historian Catherine Merridale chronicles the tortuous journey of Vasily Grossman’s novel STALINGRAD to print. In 1945 there was a need & eager anticipation for a literary treatment of the Soviet people’s experience of a terrible war. A book that was the Red equal to Tolstoy’s War & Peace. By 1949 Grossman was ready, poised to deliver his epic version which he then called STALINGRAD.

He had produced a text of which he was justly proud. A book that was necessary and just. Despite signs of increasing censorship and repression he still believed his novel would find acceptance and a receptive audience. Yet he was canny enough to keep a personal diary of the process of submitting his manuscript-translated into English for the first time it reveals the beginnings of a maddening journey that became an epic battle of wills.

Reader: Anton Lesser
Producer: Mark Burman

23 days left to listen

14 minutes


Life and Fate

Life and Fate

Vasily Grossman's sweeping historical tale set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad.