By Michael Kirkwood, Philip Hanson
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Extra info for Alexander Zinoviev as Writer and Thinker: An Assessment
55 The limitations of his literary sensibility are evident when he tells us that 'Of War and Peace I accept only the historical sketch, and of Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita only the part dealing with Christ and Pilate. ' 56 Zinoviev clearly sees his own works, particularly Yawning Heights, as 'adequate' to their time. His social and literary background fit the prototype advanced above. The experience of his researches as a logician into the language of science and ideology, he tells us, assisted him greatly.
As far as the ideas of his characters are concerned, Zinoviev at one moment states baldly, 'Overall the thoughts of all the characters in the book are my own thoughts which have merely been distributed among the various characters'. 73 Then he concedes the characters some degree of traditional autonomy to argue among themselves, to contradict each other, adding in apparent self-contradiction, 'People often ascribe the sentiments of my heroes to me. Sometimes I agree, sometimes not. ' 74 At the same time, Zinoviev makes clear his position as a moralising author: overall he stands firmly behind the 'author' whom the reader will deduce from reading Yawning Heights, but he is not preaching any fixed creed.
NSNRNB, p. 55. 4 Ideology in the Works of A. A. Zinoviev Michael Kirkwood It is tempting to begin this chapter with a quotation from Zinoviev's latest book 1 which might well serve as an epigraph: 'Ignore official ideology. Any attention paid to it only strengthens it. ' 2 This is a piece of advice which one finds from time to time in Zinoviev's work, expressed less succinctly, but no less adamantly. 3 It is advice which he has not taken himself. Discussions of ideology are to be found in many of his works and he has, indeed, recently written a whole book on the subject.