Does Literature Still Have the Power to Irritate Powers-that-be?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Blue Lard by Vladimir Sorokin

By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story Daniel Kalder writes about Russia’s Ad Marginem Press, a “underground” publisher of controversial and politically provocative works of fiction and nonfiction.

Ad Marginem publisher Alexander Ivanov says the press may have something of an advantage in attracting an audience, in so far as “literature [in Russia] may still -– as it did in the ’50s and ’60s in the West -– play the role of a social and cultural ‘irritant.'”

This may be true in countries such as Russia and China, and in the Middle East — places with largely autocratic governments that exert overt or covert censorship. But, is it also true that literature can still be an “irritant” in a place like the United States or Europe, where freedoms ensure that, for the most part, even the most radical positions can be published, broadcast or otherwise amplified?

Or is literature caters to such as small minority that whatever is said largely goes unnoticed by the vast majority?

Tell us what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.