Writers' Block
The Paris Antifascist Congress of 1935

Jacob Boas

Legenda (General Series)

Legenda

19 December 2016  •  162pp

ISBN: 978-1-781884-49-2 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-781884-50-8 (paperback, 30 September 2018)  •  RRP £9.99, $12.50, €12.50

ISBN: 978-1-781884-51-5 (JSTOR ebook)

Access online: Books@JSTOR

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In 1935, 230 writers from 38 countries converged on Paris to consider ways of countering the fascist threat to culture. Held against a background of a rapidly changing political climate, the five-day congress attended by some of Europe's foremost writers - André Gide, André Malraux, Bertolt Brecht, Heinrich Mann, Ilya Ehrenburg, Aldous Huxley, among others - ultimately collapsed in a bitter standoff between Soviet and Western conceptions of freedom of expression, literature, and political engagement. Of all such congresses held in the 1930s, none better exemplified the interplay between history, politics, and literature. Writers' Block looks beneath the surface to expose the complex wiring that motivated participants. Clashing ideologies and personalities drive the narrative forward.

Jacob Boas is the author of a number of books on the Holocaust and teaches history at Linfield College (McMinnville, Oregon, USA).

Reviews:

  • ‘[Boas concludes that] this Congress was a 'shining assembly of the princes of the pen' and that it marked the apogee of the Soviet influence in the West, shortly to be eroded by a series of show trials in 1936/38... whereas Western writers suffered no long-term damage to their careers, many Soviet delegates awaited a dire future: Kirshon and Koltsov perished in a GULAG, Babel vanished with- out trace in 1939, and even Boris Pasternak – though surviving the Stalinist era – was eventually denied the Nobel Prize in Literature awarded him in 1985.’ — Jörg Thunecke, International Feuchtwanger Society Newsletter 22, 2017, 66-68
  • ‘Situating his subject against the menacing backdrop of rising totalitarianism in East and West, Jacob Boas provides a compelling narrative of the five-day congress through a series of short, semi-biographical portraits, or vignettes, of some of the key European intellectuals that took part... The book is exceptionally well written and well researched, drawing on an impressive variety of sources, both published and unpublished, in Russian, French, German, Dutch, English, and Spanish. What emerges is a captivating portrait of the state of European intellectual life in the 1930s.’ — Alastair Hemmens, Modern Language Review 113.3, July 2018, 636-37 (full text online)

Contents:

i-vi
Writers' Block: Writers' Block
Jacob Boas
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vii-viii
Table of Contents
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ix-x
Acknowledgements
J.B.
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1-6
Introduction
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7-28
Chapter 1 Prologue
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29-86
Chapter 2 the Congress, 21–23 June
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87-122
Chapter 3 the Congress, 24–25 June
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123-132
Chapter 4 Epilogue
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133-138
Conclusion
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139-145
Bibliography
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146-152
Index
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Bibliography entry:

Boas, Jacob, Writers' Block: The Paris Antifascist Congress of 1935 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2016)

First footnote reference: 35 Jacob Boas, Writers' Block: The Paris Antifascist Congress of 1935 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2016), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Boas, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Boas, Jacob. 2016. Writers' Block: The Paris Antifascist Congress of 1935 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Boas 2016: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Boas 2016: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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