Dreams of terror: dreams from Stalinist Russia as a historical source.
In recent years, personal accounts that purport to provide evidence of the Soviet experience (diaries, memoirs, and other) have been appearing in print in large numbers. Many of them contain dreams; most of the dreams that Soviet people chose to include in their personal accounts have political content. Such publications can be seen as a massive effort on behalf of different people (authors as well as publishers) to open the daily, intimate lives of Soviet citizens-especially in the years of the terror-to the public eye. (4) In this context, political dreams, too, have been presented as historical evidence.
In the pages that follow, I provide interpretations of selected dreams that have been drawn from the recently published autobiographical narratives (mainly diaries) that deal with the Stalinist terror. I treat reported dreams as texts-stories about historically specific experiences. A question arises: in what ways can we speak of dreams as "stories"? And why do dreams seem particularly suited to serve as evidence of living under the terror?
First, I explore these issues by reviewing the theories of dreams that inform my analysis. Sigmund Freud, of course, has left a permanent imprint on our understanding of dreams. Like many others, I have borrowed from Freud his insistence that dreams occupy an exceptional place in psychological and cultural analysis and his hermeneutic approach to dreaming, viewed as a symbolic language of the individual psyche, but in other respects my analysis is not Freudian. (5) I have adopted a notion from the contemporary synthetic approach to dreams: that dreams provide explanatory metaphors that comment on a person's existential situation and emotional concerns. (6) For me, the key word is "metaphor." It has been suggested by psychoanalysts, cognitive psychologists, and philosophers alike that dreaming may be a paradigm or even a source for such operations as the use of images to symbolize thoughts, feelings, and situations; the transformation of one image into an expression of another; the creation of narrative by fusing concordance and discordance; and for the questioning of the reality of our lives (for the idea that "life is like a dream"). (7) In a word, dreaming can be seen as an analogy, or even (as one scholar has put it) the "ur-form of all fiction." Yet a dream is also unlike a fiction "in that it is a lived experience as well as a narrative." (8)
For my purposes-for the historical hermeneutics of dreams-the status of dreams as forms of experience and knowledge is of special importance. (9) As Freud notes, a product of our own psychic activity, the "finished dream strikes us as something alien to us." (10) Jurgen Habermas emphasizes the unique epistemological status of dreams as "texts that confront the author himself as alienated and incomprehensible": after waking, the dreamer, who in some ways is still the author of the dream, does not understand his creation. (11) Thus dreaming may be an experience of confronting one's hidden depth: what one knows, feels, or fears without being fully aware; and what defies control. Dreaming includes the splitting of the subject, and thus the ambivalence of knowledge and feeling. There is a disjunction and an encounter between the non-knowing and knowing self, amplified when the dream is recounted.
Of course, there is another view-the age-old belief in the prophetic nature of dreams, which is relevant for many dreamers to this day. (12) A person who does not believe in prophetic visitations takes a dream for a presentiment, if not a prophecy, by way of the belief that the dream, while evoking things past, refers to a potential action of self or other, and thus to a possible reality of what could happen. Some psychologists believe that in this way dreams play a crucial part in imagining and creating the future. (13)
Whether dreams are viewed as emanations of the self or as visitations, the knowledge they communicate is taken to be genuine and authentic, but from Artemidorus to Freud, and beyond, the meaning of the dream has been a product of interpretation. Moreover, the dreamer seldom believes in the possibility of a satisfactory interpretation. In accounts of dreams, we find a note of surprise and bewilderment: is this really me? where do my dreams come from? what do they mean? Relating a dream in a diary, many a writer stumbles in his or her self-knowledge and self-revelation. In the end, there is a unique relationship to the self that resides in watching oneself dream and in telling one's dreams: the ultimate intimacy and the lack of transparency, the disjunction between "my text" and "my meaning-intention." (14)
I would argue that for this, and other, reasons dreams, as stories and as experiences, are specifically suited to express the aporias of living faced by those who live under political terror. Indeed, since repressive regimes mobilize our ability for self-alienation, self-deception, and ambivalence, dreams can be taken as a structural analogy of self-knowledge under terror. Recall that Freud used the word "censorship" to describe "the violence done to the meaning" in dreams. (15) (From Freud's famous letter to Wilhelm Fliess about dream messages: "Have you ever seen a foreign newspaper which has passed the Russian censorship at the frontier? Words, whole clauses, and sentences are blacked out so that what is left becomes unintelligible.") (16) Moreover, because the dream is the main medium of fear, it can be used as a model of feeling in the subjects of terror regimes. (Suffice it to recall that clinical characteristics of nightmares include the perception of danger, the threat of violence, and the feeling of helplessness.) (17)
Thus it is not an accident that in his methodological statement on the value of dreams for history-the strongest we have-Koselleck draws examples from a collection of dreams compiled in Nazi Germany: Charlotte Beradt's Das Dritte Reich des Traumes (The Third Reich of Dreams). (18) Between 1933 and 1939, Beradt, a Communist (and a Jew) who gathered information for German emigre publications, asked people she met to share their dreams. In 1939 she emigrated to the United States. Her collection, which contains anonymous dream stories accompanied by Beradt's brief interpretative commentary (but devoid of information about her subjects), was first published in 1966 in Munich. (Hannah Arendt, who was Beradt's personal friend, served as an expert reader for the publisher.) At that time, Beradt, who no longer believed in communism, was motivated by a desire to demonstrate the impact of totalitarianism on the human psyche and human condition. (19)
In bringing dreams to the domain of history, Koselleck also followed both an impulse to methodological innovation and a moral imperative: the historian's duty to account for "the daily and nightly world of acting and suffering mankind." (20) As far as the methodology is concerned, his argument is twofold: as "stories" told in the context of National Socialism, dreams tell us about the regime. At the same time, these dreams are themselves "components of the terror": in their effect on the subject (the dreamer's knowledge of what is happening and what might happen, the dreamer's sense of fear and guilt), dreams themselves are instruments, or modes, of "performance of the terror." (21) In speaking of dreams as "stories," Koselleck insists that dreams, when written down, can be counted as fictional texts. Moreover, it is precisely their "poetic quality" (Koselleck argues) that allows us to obtain from dreams messages of the type "that cannot be captured through factual reports" or (I would add) through realistic representations. (22) In the end, dreams lead the historian into the "recesses of the apparently private realm of the everyday" penetrated by waves of terror, and thus disclose "levels that are not touched even by diary entries." (23)
In analyzing dreams of the Soviet terror, I follow similar impulses. Yet my goals do not include theorizing general problems of evidence raised by dreams. Wherever possible, I note similarities and differences between the dreams from Hitler's Germany and the dreams from Stalin's Russia. (The available material is too diverse to allow a systematic comparison). I present the dreams in the thick contexts of both the life experiences and personal narratives in which they are embedded, commenting on various ways in which dreams were produced and used by the subjects. (In this, my work is different from Beradt's.) Aspiring to account (albeit in a small measure) for the daily and nightly lives of thinking and feeling people, I go person by person, dream by dream. I interpret what the dream may mean to the person who chose to record it and what it means to us, distant readers. My initial thesis is simple: the dream narratives people record, the ways they interpret them, the questions they ask about their dreams, and the ways in which they incorporate dreams into their personal narratives-creating an encounter between the intended and unintended meaning-reveal how they relate to the self, to the world, and to the very task of representing the self and the world under the conditions of political terror.
People who lived under Stalin themselves attached a special value to their dreams. Nobody expressed this idea with more force than the literary scholar, editor, and writer Lydia Chukovskaya (1907-96). Throughout her life, Chukovskaya was an avid diarist. In the years of the Stalinist terror she mostly recorded dreams: "My entries on the terror, incidentally, are notable in that the only things which are fully reproduced are dreams. Reality was beyond my powers of description; moreover, I did not even attempt to describe it in my diary. It could not have been captured in a diary, and anyway could one even conceive of keeping a real diary in those days?" (24) Chukovskaya's dream diaries have not survived, but other people's dreams of terror have reached us, mostly in publications from recent years.
Andrei Arzhilovsky: The Peasant Raped by Stalin
Andrei Stepanovich Arzhilovsky (1885-1937), a peasant from the Tiumen' region in the Urals (educated only in a primary school in his village), found it conceivable, even essential, to keep detailed records of his daily life in the years of the terror. Throughout his life he was a social activist (and he dreamt of becoming a writer): during the Civil War, under the "White" government of Kolchak he became a member of the civil committee of inquiry; when the "Reds" came in 1919, he was arrested by the Cheka and sentenced to prison for these activities. Released in 1923, he joined the inspection commission of a rural soviet and edited a wall newspaper. In 1929, he was arrested again and sentenced on charges of agitating against collectivization. In the camp, Arzhilovsky contributed satirical writings to a small-print paper published for the purposes of "reforging" (reforming) the prisoners. Released in 1936, he worked at the Tiumen' woodworking factory Red October. Against his better judgment, he wrote social satire for the factory wall newspaper and sent critical essays to the printed press. He also kept a diary. In his diary, Arzhilovsky expressed his distaste for the coercion, poverty, hypocrisy, and injustice of the Soviet regime. Carefully recorded dreams (about 20 in nine months) form a noticeable part of the diary. When, in July 1937, Arzhilovsky was arrested again, the diary was used as evidence of his counterrevolutionary views. Some passages-including dreams-were underlined in red by the NKVD investigator. The last page contains a note in Arzhilovsky's hand: "This diary was confiscated during a search in my home. It contains forty (40) sheets." Signed: "Arzhilovsky" Dated: "29 August 1937" Seven days later, Andrei Arzhilovsky was executed. In the early 1990s, an employee of the NKVD's successor organization, the KGB, gave the diary to a local writer, who published it in the literary journal Ural. (25) What follows is one of the dreams Arzhilovsky recorded soon after his release:
18 December  You may call it nonsense, but still, dreams too are a fact. I want to write down an interesting dream I had. Someone told me I could see Stalin. A historical figure, it would be interesting to get to see him. And so ... A small room, simple and ordinary. Stalin is drunk as a skunk, as they say. There are only men in the room, and just two of us peasants, me and one other guy with a black beard. Without a word, Vissarionovich knocks the guy with the black beard down, covers him with a she et and rapes him brutally. "I am next," I think in despair, recalling how they carry on in Tiflis, and I am thinking, how can I escape, but after his session Stalin seems to come to his senses somewhat, and he starts up a conversation. "Why were you so eager to see me personally?" "Well, why wouldn't I be? Portraits are just portraits, but a living man, and a great one at that, is something else altogether," said I. Overall, things worked out fairly well for me, they even treated me to some food ... I've had two dreams about Stalin: once before my release and now this time. And in fact, before the revolution I dreamt about Nicholas II. At the time I thought: what is this all about? I had never seen him and wasn't really interested in him. But then during the revolution and after his execution, I found myself often recalling this strange man, the last of his kind. I suppose there is some reason for my Stalin dream. One way or another, this huge comet is destined to leave an especially bright trail across the universe, but it will do so as a comet, not a planet. In any case, I didn't make it up, I'm recording facts, though these are delusional facts [fiksiruiu fakty, kbotia i bredovye]. (26)
Like the historian Koselleck, the peasant Arzhilovsky insists that dreams, their delirious quality notwithstanding, are "facts"-historical facts. His nightmare has the distinct markings of a historical experience. Both the "I" of the dream narrative (who sets out to see a "historical figure") and the diarist who records the dream take it as such. Note that Arzhilovsky calls Stalin "a comet"-a widely known emblem of Napoleon, a quintessential figure associated with history's effect on the average man. (The idea is not as far-fetched as it might seem: in his diary Arzhilovsky mentions Napoleon and quotes Pushkin.) (27) The setting of the dream comes from the stock imagery of the Stalin cult, in which a meeting between the great leader and a simple Soviet man or woman played a prominent role. The powerful image of the rape (probably prompted by the popular belief in Georgians' proclivity for sodomy) is a private symbol, which hardly requires interpretation. (Arzhilovsky does not comment on it). What intrigues him most is the general reason behind his visions of rulers. In committing the dream to paper, Arzhilovsky follows a strong historical impulse. (The last words of his account state: "I am recording [fiksiruiu] facts.") I would claim that this dream allowed the peasant Arzhilovsky to see himself as an actor in a historical drama, operating on the same stage as the ruler, Stalin. Moreover, with the cooperation of the Soviet secret service, which preserved this diary in its archives, Arzhilovsky's dreams have actually become historical evidence. (Curiously, the NKVD official who inspected Arzhilovsky's diary in search of incriminating evidence did not mark this particular dream.)
One dream that the investigator underlined in red as criminal evidence is as follows (italics represent the underlining): "19 April  ... I had a dream about traveling; I can see mountains and a river. On the right is a beautiful church. Could it be a prison? I am afraid of it." (28) To be fair, the investigator had reasons apart from a shared belief in the prophetic value of dreams: Arzhilovsky acted on his dream. Thus, the next entry reads: "1 May. These dreams were starting to frighten me so much that I hid all my literature and held out till 1 May. Apparently this was nothing special; they were just ordinary nighttime fantasies after all." (29) Alas, Arzhilovsky would be proven to be wrong in thinking this was nothing: when he was arrested again, this dream was used as criminal evidence against him. To us, distant readers, this episode exemplifies a curious overlapping of seemingly incompatible principles: the inexplicable logic of dreams and the two different modes of interpretation (both governed by the "hermeneutics of suspicion"). On the one hand, there is folk wisdom that, reading dream images for their displaced meaning (church= prison), attributes predictive power to dreams; on the other, the Stalinist criminal system that judged suspects on the ground of their dreams. The story is full of tragic irony: the overlapping of different "epistemologies" contributed to a situation in which dreams came true.
Another dream draws on the conditions of the daily life Arzhilovsky shared with his wife Liza and their five children (Genya, who figures in the diary entry, is one of them). To give a glimpse of their life, I quote the diary entry that culminates in a dream in full:
28 January . I wake up at 4, Liza leaves for the dairy by five; I light the stove, I took a sledge out to get water, I made it to the gate without incident, but at the gate the high-perched sledge capsized and the tub tipped over the side, It's a good thing I was carrying an extra bucket of water in my hand; at least I had something to show for my labor, Genya went out to get in line for bread; there is some hold up with the bread supply again: huge lines, pushing and shoving, They sell the expensive varieties of bread, which is not good for the proletariat, My side is healing, it's practically back to normal; but now there is something else: I bought myself some hard felt boots that are a little tight and chafed my toe, and now it's bothering me, "When it rains, it pours," But I wanted to write down a strange dream I had last night, I just dozed off when I dreamed I was on some new construction site [novostroika], For some reason I am stoking a stove and I'm all worried: what if the buildings catch fire? Suddenly I hear the sound of an airplane, An enormous, low flying ship appears, it's loaded with huge bundles of dry firewood which, I assume, will burst into flames at any moment, I think "The moment the airplane comes even with the buildings, fire will break out and everything will burn down, including the plane," But the airplane didn't crash: I woke up just as it was flying over my head, with its tail just missing the roofs, What a strange dream! I forgot some of the second one, but in general it was about some newspaper article whose last three lines detailed an insult suffered by a Russian citizen, I even heard the phrase: "You there, here you go, and now wipe up the spit! [Vot i vytris']" Dream thoughts [son-nye mysli], arising in a man's head against his will.... The weather is calm and stable, (30)
The diary entry relates the grisly circumstances of one day in Arzhilovsky's wretched life, starting with stoking the wood stove at five o'clock in the morning. The dream narrative also starts with the image of stoking the stove, though not in the family's cramped shack, but at a construction site--a standard emblem of nascent new life, prevalent in the Soviet iconography of the day. The dream arranges icons of the new life into a plot propelled by anxiety: the giant airplane (another symbol of Soviet progress) brings "bundles of dry firewood," not for the stove in an individual home but for the one Arzhilovsky must stoke for the socialist construction. (Arzhilovsky uses the distinctly Soviet term novostroika.) This creates the danger of general destruction. A catastrophe is avoided when the dreamer briefly wakes up, to be followed in the next dream by another vignette of Soviet life-a newspaper campaign directed against an individual. Such an episode once happened in the dreamer's real life: Arzhilovsky was attacked in the prison camp newspaper, for which he worked as a correspondent. This episode undercut his hope for reintegration into society. Recalling these events elsewhere in his diary, he commented: "It is so natural: they sense the truth and can't forgive us our protest against violence." (31) In this context, it appears that Arzhilovsky's "dream thoughts" entertain the idea of reconciliation with society and reject it as fraught with danger and humiliation.
In these dreams, Arzhilovsky as if watches a film (a fiction) that has taken over his life, both propelling him toward the bright future promised by the regime of technological progress and social advancement and threatening him with destruction. The dream of meeting Stalin and the airplane dream play out scenarios of participation in Soviet life, which remain out of his reach. Placing the subject in key locations of the new Soviet world, these dreams send him a signal of danger. For the reader of Arzhilovsky's diary, these dreams, infused with the emotions of temptation and terror and marked by Soviet symbols, emblematize the diarist's uneasy position in relation to the regime: the overwhelming desire for social participation and historical agency, the distaste for the Soviet government notwithstanding, combined with the fear of destruction.
Many years later, another man recorded the following dream: "I dreamed: the terrifying Stalin ordered me to start a fire in my room. I set it up. It started to burn brightly but I threw in some damp wood, and it went out and now Stalin will order me to be executed." (32) This record was made on 4 January 1971 by the Jewish artist Mikhail Grobman, a member of the underground avant-garde. He, too, lived with wife and children in a drafty shack (near Moscow); and he, too, complained in his diary about the daily chore of stoking the wood stove. Unlike Arzhilovsky, Grobman (born in 1939) had not been a victim of Stalin-led terror. Socially, the two men were worlds apart; yet they shared nightmares. Moreover, while they shared some icons of anxiety (such as the fire) with most people, other images were unique to their common historical position: Stalin invaded their dreams, menacing, threatening, terrorizing them. There is something else: the politicization of fear and hardship, personalized in the image of the ruler. Stalin was dreamed responsible not only for the misfortunes Arzhilovsky experienced in 1937 but also for the daily misery and anxiety Grobman experienced in 1971, testifying to the lasting effect of the terror on emotions and imagination.
Nikolai Bukharin's Dream: Abraham and Isaac
Let us return to the year 1937. There is a rare case in which we know what a prisoner dreamed in his cell. In his prison cell, awaiting trial (which would condemn him to execution), Nikolai Ivanovich Bukharin had dreams or hallucinatory visions of Stalin, on whose orders he was arrested. Unlike Arzhilovsky, he knew Stalin, and knew him intimately. This source is different from others: Bukharin related his dreams in a letter he wrote to Stalin (preserved in the NKVD archives, the letter has recently appeared in print):
When I was hallucinating, I saw you several times and Nadezhda Sergeevna [Stalin's wife, Nadezhda Sergeevna Allilueva] once. She came up to me and said, "What have they done to you, N. I.? I'll tell Joseph to bail you out on his recognizance [chtob on vas vzial na poruki]." It was so real that I almost leaped up and started writing you a letter, so that ... you would bail me out! That is how in my mind reality interlaced with delirium. I know that N. S, would have never believed that I plotted against you, so it is no accident that the subconscious of my poor "I" conjured up these delirious dreams. I talk to you for hours.... God, if only there existed a device that would allow you to see my entire shredded and tortured soul! If only you could see how intimately attached I am to you.... Well, that is "psychology"--sorry. There is no longer an angel that would ward off Abraham's sword, so ominous fates will have to be realized! (33)
In the absence of the "instrument" that could reveal his soul, ripped open by torture, relating a dream-which the well-educated Bukharin, taking a cue from Freudianism, took to be a product of his "subconscious" served a similar purpose. In a language that mixed psychology with myth and religion, Bukharin offered his dream to Stalin as irrefutable evidence of his innocence, that is, of his love for Stalin.
Why did Bukharin summon Stalin's wife as a dream witness of his innocence? The motivation may lie in his recent experience. After her suicide in 1932, Stalin asked the Bukharins to exchange apartments with him, as if he were haunted by her ghost. In 1937, Bukharin spent the tortured months preceding his imminent arrest mostly in Stalin's former bedroom, in which Nadezhda Sergeevna Allilueva had shot herself after quarreling with her overbearing husband. (34)
As Bukharin knew, Stalin was not likely to accept either spectral or psychological evidence. In the same letter, the Bolshevik party's leading theoretician spoke of his impending death in terms of Hegelian historicism-and in immediate relation to Stalin: "It would be petty to consider my own persona along with the world historical tasks, set primarily on your shoulders." (35)
Like Arzhilovsky's dream of Stalin, Bukharin's dream shows one of the marked features of the Soviet terror: the historical and mythic quality in the subjective experience of suffering. (The dreams from Hitler's Germany collected by Beradt did not display such historical subconsciousness.) This acute sense of the universal (historical, religious, or mythic) significance of their lives and deaths was shared by those who, like Bukharin, lived in the immediate proximity to power and by ordinary people who, like Arzhilovsky, lived far from the Moscow Kremlin. People from both groups personalized their historicism in the image of intimacy with Stalin, internalized in the deepest recesses of their subjectivity--in their dreams, as represented in their intimate writings.
A Happy Dream of Lyubov Shaporina: Children in Prison
Another dreamer, the artist Lyubov Vasilievna Shaporina (1879-1967), worked in a puppet theater for children in Leningrad. In the late 1920s, she returned to Soviet Russia from emigration in France, along with her husband, the composer Yury Shaporin (from whom she soon separated). She, too, kept a frank diary in the years of Stalinist terror. In it, we find a dream (recorded on 28 February 1939). Shaporina dreamed of her daughter, Alyona, who died of natural causes in 1932:
I dreamed of Alyona today: there is a phone call, I pick up the receiver and ask "Who's there?" A voice comes from far, far away: "It's me, Alyona." "Where are you, where are you calling from ?" "From prison," comes her voice, it sounds so very weak, she's speaking in a bass voice, as she used to, for fun. Then a lot of questions of some kind, but I don't hear anything more. I go around to different prisons looking for her, I go into some building and ask a woman in a fur hat who's going in too, "Do you know whether there are any children in this prison?" She doesn't answer. I go down a marble staircase with a red carpet runner. A large room, all kinds of people and suddenly a bunch of children come in, girls, they are walking two-by-two and Alyonushka is with them. She's taller than the others, she's wearing something light-colored. I rush over to her and she gives a shy smile, without looking at me. I kiss her, kiss her hands, she's pale, there are dark rings around her eyes and they are sunk back in their sockets, but she's in good spirits. I ask the girls if Alyonushka is sad, how she's doing. The children all say, interrupting each other, "No, it's fun here, Alyonushka isn't sad." I kiss her, again and again, and then everything disappears. Oh. Lord, that voice coming to me from such a distance, "It's me, Alyona." I'm all alone, so completely alone. To love someone as much as I loved Alyona, and then to lose her. You could smash your own skull, but here you are alive. Alyonushka, my darling, help your poor mama. Such anguish, and it's everywhere, all around me. (36)
The last remark ("such anguish ... all around me") concerns the terror: in her diary, Shaporina regularly recorded the names of people who were arrested.
This dream narrative fuses, without a seam, the other world and the Soviet prison camp. The psychological move that stands behind this image is common to dreams: to explain the child's absence, the dreaming mind opts for a lesser of two evils-not dead, but imprisoned. But, at the same time, the dreamer knows that her daughter is dead. The resulting fusion is prison-cum-paradise, and it acquires the visual trimmings of a Soviet institution. (Like Arzhilovsky, Shaporina draws dream images from the stock of Soviet symbols.) The dream emblematizes the ironies of Soviet life by placing a propaganda image-the "happy Soviet children"-in prison.
Two years earlier, in February 1937, in her diary, Shaporina told a story that might shed light on the emotional significance this dream had for her. Shaporina's friend and neighbor Evgeniia Starchakova (whose alcoholic, abusive husband, the journalist Aleksandr Starchakov, was already under arrest) was arrested. The oldest of their three daughters, the teenager Irina (Shaporina wrote) appealed to the authorities:
"'How are we going to live without our mama?"' The problem was quickly resolved. Shaporina continued:
some people from the NKVD ... picked up the little ones and took them to the NKVD children's placement center at 66 Kirov Street. When they told me that on the phone, I was just shocked. We [the Puppet Theater] had put on shows there before and the teachers had told us about the children. They are delinquents, neglected children. There are children with a long record of incarceration. There are murderers in there.... The poor girls, what they'd had to go through: in the morning their mother is taken away, and then they're picked up and taken to a place that is no better than prison. Irina was shocked, though I tried to reassure her that it's not so bad in there. I don't understand anything, it all seems like a dream to me. (37)
As we see, Shaporina tried to console the girl whose sisters were sent to the NKVD-run shelter, which she knew to be "no better that prison," by telling her that "it's not so bad in there." But to her, the situation with the children felt bizarre and unreal, "like a dream." Two years later, her dream pictured the bliss of recovering her own dead child in such a prison. The diary shows how a kind lie turned into a dream of self-delusion tinged with macabre irony.
Note that this dream fuses natural death and political terror. Placing the dead child in prison, the dream politicizes death as it naturalizes the horrors of political terror.
Many years later, the image of a child under arrest appeared in the dreams of another Soviet mother. In his memoirs, the playright Leonid Genrikhovich Zorin reported hearing about such a dream: "'Every night,' said the woman, 'I have the same dream. One single dream. He is five months old, and they come to arrest him.'" (38) This conversation took place in Moscow in the late 1960s, at the time of the dissident trials. The dreamer was the mother of the young dissident Pavel Mikhailovich Litvinov (born in 1940), the grandson of Stalin's diplomat Maksim Maksimovich Litvinov. (Soon he would indeed be arrested.) The experience of the parents was formed in the years of Stalinist terror. This example seems to indicate that old dreams die hard, if at all.
The Writers' Dreams
Quite a few professional writers used diaries to document the shadowy life that--as they themselves preferred to think--went on as if apart from their public roles and published writings. Assuming that their deepest feelings were hidden behind the persona of a Soviet author, they recorded dreams as evidence of what they believed to be their "true" being. In such narratives, dreams serve as pillars in the construction of the self. In his classic study of autobiography, Georg Misch speaks of "oneiric autobiography"--a genre in which dreams (visions or simply dreams) represent the key events in the narrative of self development. (39) Several diaries and memoirs of Soviet writers might qualify as peculiar "oneiric autobiographies."
Mikhail Prishvin. The voluminous diaries of Mikhail Mikhailovich Prishvin (1873-1954), who specialized in nature-writing, document his highly ambiguous, rapidly changing, and carefully hidden relations with Soviet power. It might not be possible to unravel all the mingled instances of aloofness and complicity, awareness and self-deception, experienced by Prishvin in the course of his long career as a distinguished Soviet writer. Focusing on dreams, I magnify several moments described in his diaries.
Prishvin saw the diary as history-writing, relentlessly pursuing the historical quality of life, whether or not it revealed itself: "You have to write a diary in such a way that the personal is portrayed against the background of a great historical event-that is what makes memoirs interesting. Historical events are always occurring-if they are not visible, you have to find the invisible ones." (40) With this imperative in mind, Prishvin was able to find history in the deepest recesses of his intimate life, including his dreams. Dreams usually appear in Prishvin's diary at pivotal moments in his relations with power.
Prishvin's diary for the year 1930 is suffused with pain and horror at the peasants' suffering caused by forced collectivization. He writes of the "evil," the "terrible crimes," "the horror of this winter, rivers of blood and tears," inflicted in the name of the state and Stalin and performed in the service of politics. (41) He feels threatened by the intensifying campaign against members of the old literary intelligentsia led by the militant Russian Association of Proletarian Writers (RAPP). The horror of "Bolshevik socialism" (Prishvin wrote in his diary) is that there is no longer an "intimate world" or "personal life" into which a person could escape after fulfilling his duty to society; the "new worker" is entirely visible, "as if under x-ray." (42)
Attacked by RAPP critics, he was accused of fleeing the reality of class struggle into a fairy-tale world of his own creation. There were practical consequences: Prishvin felt that he was losing access to publishing. He spent most of the summer and fall in the country, in the isolated nature preserve he called (after his own novel) "Cranes' Homeland" (Zhuravlinaia rodina), trying, in vain, to find relief from a "painful feeling, akin to the pull of persecution." (43) Soon after Prishvin returned from his country retreat, he recorded the following dream:
18 October , Yesterday in The New World [the journal Novyi mir] they announced the list of authors whose work was published over the last year, and the fact that they forgot to mention my name, or left it out on purpose--an utmost trifle!--upset me, Before I went to sleep, I read Novikov-Priboi's amazing, horrifying story "Tsushima," and, afterwards, a killer chased me throughout the night in a dreadful dream, And throughout the night I kept a revolver in my pocket, ready to fire, constantly fearing that it would fire by itself in my pocket.
Prishvin offers an immediate explication. The etiology of the dream seems clear to him: magnified by the literary images of the defeat in the Russo Japanese War, the dream manifests a well-justified persecution ma nia. He relates his experience to that of a whole class, the "intelligentsia." "Fearing" is a socially induced disease, which Prishvin explains in clinical terms:
Both this disturbed state and this dream are the individual manifestations of the persecution mania currently prevalent among the intelligentsia, I have reached the point of being afraid to open up a new issue of a journal: it constantly seems to me that I will be offended or upset by something, [Manifestations of] an acute form of the common disease of fearing. Of course, there is only one solution to this--to devote myself decisively to work, for which I will need to create good working conditions. (44)
What Prishvin does not seem to notice is that the dream also expresses his awareness of the danger presented by self-defense (the fear that the revolver hidden in the pocket might fire). He is aware, however, that a cure from the epidemic persecution mania, which is to be found in writing, requires "good working conditions."
By 1934, Prishvin's situation had changed. His tormentor RAPP, together with all other literary associations, was dissolved in 1932 by a government decree and replaced by the centralized, state-sponsored, party-led organization, the Union of Soviet Writers. In 1933, Prishvin published, to wide acclaim, a major novel, Zhen'-shen'(Ginseng). At the time, he lived in the small town of Zagorsk (Sergiev Posad) near Moscow, keeping a rural household with his wife, Efrosiniia Pavlovna Smogaleva (a peasant whom he taught to read and write). He frequently roamed the neighboring forests with a hunting rifle. But the high points of his life and work were retreats into the wilderness, such as Cranes' Homeland. However, fleeing from reality (as his communist critics put it) was not easy; for one thing, there were technical difficulties. Early in 1934, Prishvin confronted this problem in a dream:
20 February . I had not spent the last two summers at the Cranes' Homeland because I found it difficult getting there from my place in Zagorsk, even though the distance is only forty miles! ... That is how I ended up staying at home. Two years passed, and I started to miss the swamps, as if I really were a crane who went astray and lost his homeland. One night-in a dream, even-it occurred to me that an automobile would provide a solution in my situation. Forty miles in an automobile would take only about an hour-one hour-and I would reach the Cranes' Homeland. This thought, as it sometimes happens in hunters' dreams, dissolved in a particularly acute and happy feeling of nature, where flying around me were not cranes and not ordinary titmice but some wondrous birds. In the morning, having initially retained in myself only the feeling of having a pleasant dream, little by little, shifting from one bird to another, as if going up a ladder, I recovered the idea of an automobile. It seemed possible to me: we do manufacture automobiles nowadays [teper' ikh delaiut u nas], and if I submit a request now [zaiavliu], they would add my name to the list [menia zapishut v ochered'], and, sooner or later, they would grant [dadut] me a car. (45)
In the dream, step-by-step, Prishvin climbs the ladder of compromise. The fairy-tale imagery of this dream, suggestive of a flying car, brings him-a nature writer at odds with the Soviet regime-to a doubly incongruous idea: to retreat to the wilderness by means of an automobile and to seek assistance in obtaining a car (a luxury item, distributed to the privileged) in the institutions of Soviet power. He expertly describes the necessary procedure in new Soviet terms: delaiut u nas, zaiavliu, menia zapishut v ochered', dadut.
Prishvin made his appeal at the ministry level (Sovnarkom), and the result exceeded all expectations:
Three days later, I had already received a document from Sovnarkom with the order to make a vehicle available to me. In a few more days, having run around to all the publishers, I scraped together the necessary sum of money to pay for the automobile.... Along with receiving the letter from Sovnarkom, I--by nature far removed from machines--started to conceive of myself as a landsman or a craftsman, who won a car in an automobile lottery. That could make a great plot for a story depicting the mentality of a peasant and of a new type of person for our country--the machine operator. I tried to approach this topic many times and with this purpose went to visit large factories. But no! I could not put myself in a situation that would enable me to embrace the machine not merely with my mind but with my entire being.... Now it was turning out that the automobile, like a magic force that could at any point transport me to the birds at the Cranes' Homeland, was becoming a part of my artistic personality. (46)
The dream led to no less than a personality change. With remarkable insight, Prishvin observed that the moment his dream came true he experienced an empathic understanding of a position that had previously been deeply alien and emotionally incomprehensible to him: the situation of a man of the land turned into a man of the machine (a widely accepted emblem of the Soviet project). Soviet writers were called upon to describe such transformations in works of literature; it was to this end that Prishvin (as was the practice of the day) toured factories. In his deliberate attempts to master this theme as a writer expected to work for the regime, Prishvin had failed. But a moment of personal participation in the new civilization, mediated by privilege, brought about a transformation: Prishvin wholeheartedly embraced the machine and, with it, the Soviet regime. As his dream came true-an automobile was ready to transport him into the distant homeland of migrant birds-Prishvin became conscious of a change in the self. (The idea that dreams can bring about or mark a vast change in the self has been suggested by self psychologists.) (47)
Like the peasant Arzhilovsky (who once dreamed of being on a flying sledge speeding faster than an automobile), (48) the writer Prishvin used folktale imagery-something akin to the magic bird carriers of Russian fairy tales-to marvel at the magic quality of modern transportation. He also marveled at the miraculous internal transformation the Soviet regime had brought about in its unwilling subjects.
In the years of high terror, 1936-38, Prishvin made brief records of the public trials of the party officials accused of treason. His horror and scorn are unmistakable, but, judging from some of his comments, he may have believed that the "Trotskyites" and others in what he called "the Jewish trial" were guilty as charged (at least that they were guilty of plotting against Stalin). On 26 August, he pasted in his diary a newspaper cutting with the text of the verdict passed at the First Moscow Trial, complete with a one-line announcement of the same-day execution. He made no comment. Two days later, he recorded a nightmare:
28 August . I had a dream that I, along with some peasants, was riding in a cart that was carrying my mother's coffin, and just across from Khrushchev's estate [the home of the Prishvin family before the Revolution] one of the cart wheels hit a pot-hole, and the coffin flew over to that side, "And the body, tell me, how's the body?" I kept repeating in horror, not daring to look in that direction, "The body came out," they replied, I brought myself to look and saw that my mother's legs were sticking up and were slowly lowering, as if the body were thawing, sinking, Is this hideous dream the free and random play of my dreamy imagination, or an expression of my inner discord, or possibly of my recently especially strong anxiety over the well-being of my motherland? (49)
The dream image of "motherland" as a violated woman is a stable private symbol: the image of a sexually violated woman as an emblem of political violence appears in Prishvin's diary on other occasions. Thus, in April 1939 he dreamed about a Komsomol girl who asked a doctor whether it was possible to restore lost virginity by surgical means. The record is juxtaposed with Prishvin's musings on whether it was possible to hide the traces of the recent terror campaign, or, as he put it, the "act of violence" (akt nasiliia-in Russian the phrase has connotations of sexual violence). (50) I would argue that in Prishvin's dreams the sexual meaning is overridden by the political.
In September 1938 (after a month spent in the forest, hunting), Prishvin recorded another dream of terror:
22 September . Hunting is dear to me because I work with my feet and not my head, but everything that I skip over later comes back into my mind with a force that is impossible to attain in regular life. I had a nightmare that I was among a multitude of people, as if in a forest piled up with dry branches arranged in three layers. People were lying on all sides and even underneath me. I spat down and, glancing in the direction of my spit, saw two doctors cutting into someone's fat leg. I shuddered and gasped with horror. "What a sissy!" sounded a voice from below, "You're still not used to it?" Embarrassed, I came back with a clever retort: "I wasn't horrified because they're cutting a man but because I didn't see them and spit there." And then I noticed that there were big rats everywhere, running across the gray people lying on the ground. One ran across my stomach, another one came closer, and I even pushed it away with my hand. Suddenly it stopped and gave me a terrifying look. It was ready to attack, and I realized that now it had assumed its rat rights, more powerful than human rights, and that I had mortally offended it, and an offended rat may do anything that it wants with me. (51)
Unlike in other cases, Prishvin did not comment on this dream. The key images can be found elsewhere in his diary. Thus, in the summer of 1937, Prishvin undertook an expedition to study the forest habitat-the way each animal kept to its stratum, or, as he called this arrangement, the "forest layers" (etazhi lesa-Prishvin wrote a story under this title). The dream pictures such a layered arrangement, though not of animals but of living human bodies. Another key image, dismemberment, appeared in the diary in the days of the Second Moscow Trial (in January 1937). Prishvin wrote, with unmistakable scorn, that from morning till night the radio broadcasted "people's wrath," and at one factory it was decided that traitors "should be quartered rather than shot." Prishvin notes that his son and the son's friend were "so gripped by it" that they were actually expecting that the accused would "have their body parts cut off, their fingers chopped off, etc." (52) (In the days of the trial, which ended with 13 death sentences, Prishvin worked on a story about the "new man.") Recorded more than a year later, the amputation dream articulates contradictory emotions of the dreaming "I" into a synthesis that does not appear elsewhere in the diary and that may not be possible in rational self-reflection: the visceral horror evoked by the terror (focused on the image of carnage), the hope that violence is a necessary or beneficial measure (the image of medical procedure), the immediacy of personal involvement (the dream makes the "I" an eyewitness), the "embarrassment" at his own discomfort when it is noted by an unseen observer, and the expectation that one can or should get used to the sight of violence. Finally, there is the realization that the slightest gesture of self-protection may offend the attackers. (The concluding image identifies the agents of the terror not as doctors but as rats.) This dream also testifies to the penetration of the terror into the deep recesses of the life Prishvin had hoped to preserve: not only the world of nature (in this dream, the setting of the horrible confrontation), but, more important, the world of his creative imagination (his notion of "forest layers"). Prishvin-the-diarist stands silently outside his dream as an observer of his own, otherwise unexpressed (perhaps inexpressible?), emotions.
Veniamin Kaverin. Dreams form the backbone of the memoir of another prominent writer caught between aloofness and complicity, Veniamin Aleksandrovich Kaverin (1902-89). The memoir, The Epilogue, written in the 1970s, was published only in 1989. One of the three dreams prominently featured in his "oneiric autobiography" concludes the chapter entitled "One Day of the Year 1937." In this chapter, Kaverin, who, like many others, felt threatened by the regime for most of his (distinguished) career, created a retroactive diary of sorts: he tried to describe one day at the peak of the terror. But how to convey (he asks) "the feeling of how we lived in the years of the terror": the humiliating fear, habitual caution, all-pervading insecurity, and disturbing silence? Finding himself at a loss, Kaverin repeated what Lydia Chukovskaya said of her diary: "My entries on the terror, incidentally, are notable in that the only things which are fully reproduced are dreams. Reality was beyond my powers of description.... It could not have been captured in a diary." (53) Kaverin ended his description of one day in the year 1937 with the record of a dream he had made at the time:
19 February 1937. I don't remember how it starts. I am in hiding. People who don't know that I need to be in hiding come in, and I easily talk to them. But one of them seems to suspect something. Still, the room is dimly lit, and he can't see me very well. I think that I am alone in the apartment and go from my room (with the door leading onto the street) into another one. But there I see a small man with a large face, a policeman. He asks me something as if I am on trial. I don't answer, return to my room, open the door onto the street, and run. I see lots of people, flocking together, and dozens of cars at the turn. I run as fast as I can, now together with some poor little boy. We run up the road-we are being pursued-when we see a side path, covered with snow, going up into the mountains. We go there. Snow, snow is everywhere, and some man, falling into it, is herding sheep. I yell to him: is it far to the village? He doesn't respond, but we run after him. The sky becomes more and more pink. I realize that it's because of the light coming from below. Then "the arranged chasm" [ustroennaia propast'] opens up. This is a colony of some runaway schismatics [beguny] who have been living here for a long time. We climb down along the ledges. We're not greeted very well, not particularly warmly. Now Iurii is with me. He is led away somewhere. I am talking to these people. Around me are children: happy, noisy, they're playing. This is a village built inside a fortress. They show me where my bunk is, but I first want to find Iurii. I climb up a wooden staircase with thick oak handrails, look for number 42 but do not find it. I climb down and find myself among some local old men. We talk about something, I laugh (discreetly) at some of their bizarre customs. They are self-assured, and they laugh at me. I walk further, along a different staircase, and ask an old woman-servant where room number 42 is. She says: "But that's a foreign-currency room!" [Da ved' eto valiutnyi!] tell her that I don't care, and finally I am shown to the room. I enter without knocking. Sitting at a long table are about eight people; all of them have unpleasant, square, wooden faces. Iurii is asleep. They say that he was tired and fell asleep. I wait. They sit in silence. One should say something but it is best to be silent [nado zagovorit', no luchshe molchat']--maybe then they will leave. And they do leave. Iurii wakes up, and I ask him why they exchanged looks in that way when I came in. He tries to calm me down: it's nothing, it will all work out. Then I write down everything I saw in "the arranged chasm" and, for some reason, put the sheets of paper on the road. They are thick like cardboard. A boy comes running toward me (a different boy from the one I ran here with) and kicks a sheet with his foot. I run and collect the sheets. (54)
As Kaverin notes, this is a typical anxiety dream that draws its material from concrete historical circumstances. The dominant emotion of the dream is, of course, the feeling of persecution. Some images require ex planatory comments, which I will supply. The image of the arranged, or manmade, abyss (it is ambiguous whether it is a refuge or a prison) derives its identity from the Russian schismatic community of beguny (literally, runners/escapees). Danger is shared with Kaverin's intimate friend, the literary scholar and writer Iurii Nikolaevich Tynianov. The dream image of a foreign-currency cell, as Kaverin himself comments, is an "echo" of incarcerations for the purposes of confiscating hidden property (gold or hard currency) widely practiced in the late 1920s and early 1930s (those who surrendered the property were released). As Kaverin also notes, this inspired a chapter in Mikhail Mikhailovich Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita (written in the 1930s, but not published until the 1960s), in which Bulgakov represented this Soviet judicial procedure through the phantasmagoria of a character's dream. Note that at the end of Kaverin's dream the subject sees himself as a record-keeper concerned with the survival of his records ("I write down everything I saw ... put the sheets of paper on the road"). But there is also something else (on which Kaverin does not comment): the dream expresses a double imperative of speech and silence ("one should speak, but it's better to keep silent").
The fear, humiliation, and misery of the 1930s is the topic of another dream story Kaverin included in his memoir. Experienced and recorded on 8 August 1964, long after the end of the terror, this dream also binds the feeling of persecution with the double imperative of action and inaction:
I was dreaming that I have been summoned somewhere, and I have to go there, where they will talk to me and demand that I tell them everything. In a street of an old provincial town, a heavy cart, or an old-fashioned car with large wheels that reminds me of a heavy, tall, unwieldy wagon is moving toward me. Sitting inside are people with strange faces: pale, with flat noses and low foreheads, they are talking loudly and confidently about something relating to the affair for which I was summoned. Along the way, I climb down some slippery stairs to the dirty toilet in the basement, and when I come out, a hunchback leans out and screams after me in a rage: "You should turn off the lights!" I stand on one knee near the entrance to a building, where they invited not only me but also others-people like Ti khonov, that is, the bosses. He nods at me and goes up the stairs, seeming preoccupied and serious. He throws a joke to me, and I respond half-jokingly but think that both of us are going to have problems but that, for him, everything will work out. Finally, I enter. This is the reception area as well as a barbershop, where they're cutting hair and shaving people. On the table are dog-eared magazines and old newspapers. They sit in silence. I sit down, too. It might be possible to walk out, but it can't be done. It might be possible to take a breath, but it can't be done. [Mozhno uiti, no nel'zia. Mozhno vzdokhnut, no nel'zia] I am already in the chair, and they start to cut my hair. An calm, gray-haired, elderly barber does his job carefully. At the same time, from the office where I am supposed to go after my haircut appears one of the people who rode in the wagon. He tells the barber: "I bet, Major Lykov, they picked this one up in Peredelkino." Both of them laugh. I am frightened but I say nothing. I am in the chair, and the major is holding the scissors. In a second, he will bend toward me and start poking at my eyes, but nothing can be done about this [nichego nel'zia sdelat'], I sit and wait. (55)
Like the previous dream, this story articulates the dominant emotion fear--in a sequence of bizarre images typical of a dream. At least some of them can be read as emblems of the peculiar misery of "everyday Stalinism" (whatever else their etiology may be). (56) Thus a raging assault (or political denunciation) from those with whom one shares a dirty toilet (in a communal apartment) can be regarded as a quintessential Soviet experience. As in the previous dream, the threat is cast by a small group of menacing people. The setup suggests preparations for an act of public scrutiny, known in the 1930s as "purging," to take place in the Writers' Union (note the presence of Nikolai Semenovich Tikhonov, an official of the union, and the mention of the writers' summer retreat Peredelkino). But the ceremony of "purging" turns into an arrest by an officer of the secret police ("Major Lykov, they picked this one up in Peredelkino"). Such metamorphoses of images and situations are, of course, typical of dreams, but they are also typical of the Stalinist terror: in this sense, this dream works as a realistic representation of terror.
Let us focus on the trope present in all three dreams featured in Kaverin's memoir (of which I discuss two): the double imperative of speech and silence, action and inaction. What stands out in Kaverin's dream-story is the paradoxical use of modal words (used to express possibility, permissibility, and necessity) and impersonal passive constructions: mozhno uiti, no nel'zia; mozhno vzdokhnut , no nel'zia (roughly: it might be possible to walk out, but it can't be done/it's prohibited; it might be possible to take a breath, but it can't be done/it's prohibited)." Finally: nichego nel'zia sdelat' (nothing can be done). Drawing on the specific grammatical resources the Russian language offers for expressing modality and subjectivity, Kaverin creates phrases in which possibility/permissibility clashes with imp ossibilitylprohibition in a syntactic construction that does not allow for an active subject. (Such impersonal passive constructions are a grammatical feature that is specific to Russian.) (57) The experience of the dreamer captures what linguistic categories can barely grasp, but what is typical for dreams, in which we may discover, with horror, that no matter how much we wish or try, we cannot speak or move. I would suggest that, elaborating this situation, Kaverin's dream emblematizes the position of a subject of the terror regime.
The dreams Kaverin reported in his memoir can be read as stories about the terror. Moreover, hardly any other medium could capture the peculiar experience of the Soviet terror, from the bizarre tranformation of a public meeting into an arraignment before a court to the inexplicable but palpable inability to act in the face of danger--an inability created by an uncertainty about what is possible, impossible, or necessary, and by an uncertainty about personal agency. What Kaverin implies (echoing Chukovskaya) is that, while the reality of terror could not be captured by a diary, it could be captured by a dream experience and reproduced in narratives based on dreams.
There are, of course, examples of fiction that use dreams as a model for narrative. Indeed, narrated by a professional writer, Kaverin's dreams have a distinct literary quality. Consider the image of a small man with a large face in the next room asking questions "as if I am on trial"; or the eight people with square wooden faces silently sitting around the table; or the setting of the trial in a hotel. Consider the intense feeling of dreamlike, seemingly involuntary submission to necessity, up to the final execution in a barber's chair. These, and other, features of Kaverin's dreams come as if from Kafka's Trial.
Kafka, known to few people in Russia at the time (sometimes only from hearsay), intrigued Russian readers. On 31 October 1959, Lydia Chukovskaya recorded in her diary:
[Anna Akhmatova] recounted the whole of Kafka's novel The Trial for us, from beginning to end. This is how she spoke of the novel: when you are reading it, it is as if someone takes you by the hand and leads you back into your nightmares. She also told us Kafka's biography. He is immensely famous in the West, but here he is not published. (58)
Whether or not Anna Akhmatova knew this, Kafka took his bad dreams--dreams of persecution, flight from attackers, conflicts with the overbearing father figure, torture, bodily mutilation, filth, and excrement, which he meticulously recorded in his notebooks--as models for his literary writings. It has been suggested that "a kind of sensory knowledge of dreams," based on self-observation, informs Kafka's fiction, including The Trial (written in 1914-15 and published in 1925): the story of a man who is tried and executed according to absurd laws and procedures everybody seems to accept as a necessity. (59) Discussing Kafka with her Russian contemporaries, Akhmatova reversed the process: to her and her contemporaries, Kafka's Trial reads like their bad dreams-dreams inspired by real life under the Stalinist terror. If Kafka's later readers across the world saw in The Trial an uncanny prediction of the real totalitarian terror that was to follow, for Soviet readers, the novel also meant something else. Having shown the power of prediction, the novel--clearly based on dream logic--endowed their real dreams with the status of recognizable representations of their experiences. Dreams could even be seen as more effective representations than documentary writings. (This is how Kaverin understood Chukovskaya's reflections on diaries and dreams of the terror.) Reading Kafka (or hearing The Trial retold by a better informed friend), Russian men and women of letters felt encouraged to treat their dreams as stories about the terror. Thus Kaverin, who used Kafkaesque images, offered his dream from 1937 as the best way to convey the "feeling of how we lived." In his memoir, the writer Kaverin demonstrated this move with complete clarity, but, as I argue, many of Stalin's contemporaries also offered their nightmares as authentic and authoritative representations of their historical experience.
Yakov Druskin: The Philosopher's Dreams
In many ways, Yakov Semenovich Druskin (1902-80) stands apart from the rest. It is hard to define him. Educated as a philosopher, Druskin made a conscious decision to withdraw from academic institutions and academic circles as early as the mid-1920s. Trained as a pianist, he did not perform. For most of his life, he made a living as a teacher of mathematics in secondary schools. Deep emotional ties linked him to his family (father, mother, sister, and brother, the prominent Soviet musicologist Mikhail Semenovich Druskin) and to his circle of intimate friends-esoteric poets and philosophers who called themselves chinari. The circle, now quite prominent in the annals of Russian literary culture, included Leonid Savel'evich Lipavskii, Aleksandr Ivanovich Vvedenskii, Daniil Ivanovich Kharms, and Nikolai Makarovich Oleinikov. Under the conditions of the Soviet regime, Yakov Druskin pursued the classical ideal of the philosopher's life: intensely private, introspective, self-reflective, ascetic, and philosophized through and through. Much of it has been documented in his diary. The diary (kept from 1933 until Druskin's death in 1980) is devoted mostly to his thoughts; daily life is almost entirely absent. But not the dreams. One theme dominates Druskin's dreams: death. All his friends and cohorts, chinari, died between 1937 and 1941 in the terror and the war. In his dreams, the dead visited
Druskin again and again. When, in 1963, Druskin compiled a book of existential philosophy based on his dreams and diaries, Son i iav' (Dreaming and Waking, published only after his death), he devoted a special chapter to dreams of visitations by his slain friends. (60) Such dreams started on the day Druskin learned that Daniil Kharms, who was arrested in the besieged Leningrad in August 1941, died in prison:
10 February . D. I. [Daniil Ivanovich Kharms] died on the 3rd or the 4th. That is what I was told yesterday, and if that is true, then a part of life, a part of the world, is gone. At night I dreamed about it several times. Dreams search for the justification of death, and that night D. L's death was explained in some way, but I don't remember how. I only remember a bunch of twigs broken in two. (61)
By that time, Druskin was the only member of the circle who was left alive. Vvedenskii, arrested in September 1941, also died in prison. Oleinikov had been arrested and executed in the fall of 1937. Lipavskii was killed in the war in the fall of 1941. But in his dreams, until the end of his life, Druskin continued to live in their midst.
As a philosopher, Druskin was intrigued by the comparative ontology of waking and dreaming as two states of consciousness, reflecting on which of them was real. (Known since classical antiquity, this problem had been elaborated by Descartes, Pascal, Schopenhauer, and Sartre, but Druskin, who was certainly familiar with the relevant philosophical sources, did not cite any of them in his diaries or Son i iav'.) The following dream, from 1955, is one of many that develop this theme, inextricably intertwined with the death of his cohorts in terror:
I was accused of something, and I was objecting very harshly. Suddenly I saw L. [Leonid Lipavskii] in the doorway. "That surely can't be a dream," I thought. But everyone present started assuring me that that was a dream, too: he has appeared so many times, and each time in a dream. I got angry: "None of you exist. You are all in my dream, except for L." They offered to test whether L, was in my dream. To do that, they put him on the table and started cutting his chest, and he started to heal his wounds through an exertion of his willpower. I helped him, also using my willpower. Blood stopped flowing, the wounds dried up, only scars remained. "But what does that prove?" I thought, and everyone present, including L., started slowly vanishing. (62)
Within this dream, the "I" tries to reverse the ontological status of waking and dreaming, to establish the dream domain-in which the dead are alive and wounds heal by an effort of the will-as true and real.
Again and again, Druskin recorded dreams that tested the reality of death, but in the end, the dreamer always "remembered" that his cohorts were dead:
[undated] V [Vvedenskii] arrived yesterday, as it turns out. Just now he passed by me, greeted me, but did not even come up to me, and he will leave as early as tomorrow morning. I went to the Lipavskiis. L. [Leonid Lipavskii] was sitting at the table. T. [Tamara Lipavskii] was lying on the table. When I came in, she got off the table and sat down. I said: "V, has changed so much. He has started to resemble a professional Soviet writer. I even mistook him for Sviridov at first." We talked. As I was waking up, I thought: but Vvedenskii is gone. But why haven't I seen Kharms in so long? I should call him, and then I remembered: he is gone, too. Then I will call Oleinikov, but he is gone, too. Only Lionya is left. Now completely awake, I remembered: he perished, too. Wirsindtot. Alles ist tot. (63)
The "alles ist tot" dream is perhaps the saddest of all: the "I" remembers that his friends are dead while still on the border of the dream. But the saddest part is the image of the absurdist poet Vvedenskii, who has changed so much as to be mistaken for an official Soviet writer. (64) This dream is not only a failed attempt to bring the dead to life but also an imaginary extension of interrupted lives. Druskin's dream plays out alternative possibilities. But the final remark (which Druskin might have remembered from literature) annihilates the subject himself, in two steps. (65) Wir sind tot: the "I" may have felt alive, but the "we-self," invested in the intimate group destroyed in the terror and the war, is dead. Apes is tot: transcending the dichotomy of subject and object, the dream asserts an all-embracing condition-death. This is not surprising, since even in his waking life, Druskin (as he noted in his diary) often felt himself to be dead. As he knew well, it was by pure chance that he survived the terror and the war.
Shortly after the end of the war, on 21 August 1945 (at six o'clock in the morning), Druskin recorded a long, detailed, and horrifying dream of loss, death, and murder:
Mama took my things [writings] out of the desk drawer and put them on the couch that was on the riverbank, and they slipped into the river. I said: "What have you done? That is my life!" Then Mama left. Misha [his brother Mikhail] and I are also returning home. Several people, probably assassins, stop us along the road. I keep going-nothing concerns me--but Misha has to face an obstacle: ropes. He skillfully avoids them. The last one has to be cut, and he cuts it. But then for some reason he cuts another rope that is not in his way. I forgot to say that the ropes are connected with knots. The assassins stand in the knots. The head assassin [glavnyi] is outside the knots. As soon as M. cut the rope that was not in his way, I thought: he did something excessive, now he will die. Indeed, the leader pulls out a gun and shoots at one of the killers, saying "you," then at another, "you," and at Misha "you did something excessive." I want to leave unnoticed. The leader turns to me: nothing concerns you; die. I dodge him, try to justify myself, dash to the river, he shoots at me, and I die. (66)
While Druskin did not comment on his dream, the dream invites an allegorical interpretation. The image of murder at the hands of a team of assassins headed by a glavnyi (roughly translated as leader) reads as a symbolic model of the mechanism of Stalin's terror (note the interconnection between murderers and victims and the role of the "head assassin"). The situation of the protagonist and his brother also reads as an allegory. In real life, Mikhail Druskin (with whom Yakov shared musical interests) was an active and successful Soviet professional, a member of the academic establishment. (Note the distinction the dream makes between a necessary and an "excessive" action on the part of the active brother, which represents the difference between life and violent death.) By contrast, Yakov Druskin consciously built his life on the avoidance of public exposure: withdrawing from social connections, he gave up the chance for a professional career. The dream seems to challenge his tactics: in the end, the "head assassin" kills him as well.
But let us continue with the rest of the dream. The subject dies four times, thrice he is murdered, and the fourth death is a suicide:
I was told that I killed myself by stabbing myself in the belly four times, in the interval between my first and second death, having seen the leader and being unable to take the vileness.... I realized that this death did not count. The leader appeared again and killed others. And I, now experienced, having gone through three deaths, gave advice and helped others save themselves. Then the leader's victim appeared--a woman he killed. She was repulsive and was granted the ability to kill. But I already knew what to do. She, seeing that I am not easy to kill, hands me an axe. I know that if I hit her with the axe, I will not kill her, but instead she will receive a new power to kill me. I plunge the axe into the floor and say: disappear. (67)
In the image of the murdered old woman turned murderer, the vampire myth joins hands with the well-known circumstances of life under the Stalinist terror, in which victims were forced to denounce others, in turn bringing about their destruction. But the dreamer stands firm: nothing can incite him to murder.
Remarkably, Druskin was not the only one to have been tempted to kill an old woman in his dream. Another person caught in the terror, the poet Ol'ga Fedorovna Berggol'ts (she survived an arrest and incarceration in 1938-39), repeatedly dreamed of murdering an old woman (in 1942). (68) The two people were worlds apart. (Berggol'ts, who identified herself with the Revolution, was socially and emotionally involved in the Soviet project both before and after her arrest.) What connected them was the experience of danger and fear. Of course, there was also something else: literature. Indeed, Druskin and Berggol'ts dreamed a dream of their culture: Raskol'nikov's dream. (69) This dream is memorable to every Russian reader: the old woman Raskol'nikov has murdered comes to him in a dream. Taking his axe, he strikes her one blow, then another, bends down to peep into her face and turns cold with horror: the old woman is shaking with noiseless laughter. He begins hitting her on the head with all his force, but the old woman will not die-teasing and mocking him.
In his dream, Druskin sees himself in the situation of Raskol'nikov, who hoped to benefit mankind by murdering one horrible old woman, a pawnbroker (and expropriating her capital). (A common reading is to view Raskol'nikov's act as an allegory of socialist revolution.) But while in her dream, Berggol'ts, like Raskol'nikov, murders the old woman, Druskin seeks another way out: "She was repulsive and was granted the ability to kill. But I already knew what to do." In fact, as a reader of Dostoevskii and as a subject of a socialist state, even in his dream Druskin knows what not to do: violence does not pay. But, taken the specific situation in which he finds himself in the dream, Druskin's dream also says something else: armed resistence to terror does not pay either (it only brings destruction).
It is ironic that Druskin, who had effectively hidden from the social world, shared dreams with his contemporaries, with whom he shared the experiences of the terror as well as a reading list. His dreams implicate him in the life of the community. The dream of the ropes seems to have told Druskin--in the voice of the "head murderer"--that he too was entangled in the common net.
So, what do the dreams mean to those who chose to record them and to us, their distant readers?
Obviously, like any dreams, dreams of the Soviet terror have multiple meanings and functions. First and foremost, while not every dreamer knew how to interpret them, every dreamer wanted to ascribe political reference and historical relevance to his/her dreams, not only to the dreams of anxiety and fear but also to the dreams of desire. Whatever else they mean, politicized dreams signify the irresistible penetration of the terror into the inner and most intimate domains of people's lives. For the dreamers, as well as for their readers, such dreams stand as signals of the all-pervasiveness of the regime and of the futility of any form of escape or resistance. In this sense, dreams serve as indicators of people's reactions to the terror. Moreover, for the dreamers, dreams also served as an instrument of the terror, with which Stalin's subjects terrorized themselves. (In writing about the dreams of the Nazi terror, Beradt described a similar effect.) But dreams also allowed Soviet subjects to see themselves as actors on the social and historical scene; even to confront Stalin personally (Arzhilovsky's rape dream). (I reiterate that the dreams from Hitler's Germany collected by Beradt do not display such historical consciousness.)
Dreams formed an important part in the people's concern with their future. Thus dreams played with the possibilities and the dangers of participation in the new regime (Arzhilovsky's construction-site dream). Dreams served as both indicators and instruments of integration into the regime by way of self-transformation (Prishvin's dream of the flying car). As such, dreams (like some dreams in Beradt's collection) could predict the future: people dreamt of what they could do to adapt before they actually did it or, as Druskin did, they dreamt of what they could not do to adapt.
As may be expected, dreams of Stalin's subjects were infused with the emotion of fear. Dreams maintained fear and guilt in those who escaped prison (Kaverin's dreams). In this sense, too, dreams serve both as indicators of people's reactions to the terror and as instruments of the terror. Moreover, long after Stalin's death, dreams kept even those who did not really live in Stalin's time under the rule of terror (Grobman's dream). Thus, in a way, dreams extended the terror into the future (until at least the 1970s).
The inclusion of dreams in personal narratives of the Soviet experience complicates their meaning. When they included dreams about the terror in their diaries (and, occasionally, in a letter or memoir, creating a moment of diary--like immediacy), Soviet people hoped that, as a means of self-expression, telling their dreams would achieve goals other than telling stories. Within larger self-narratives, dreams marked the experience that remained a mystery and that could not be properly represented in words (this is how Chukovskaya, Prishvin, and Kaverin used their dreams). Indeed, while some were able to convey the terror experience through works of literature--of which Lydia Chukovskaya's remarkable novella Sofia Petrovna is a primary example--leaving a documentary account did not prove easy, even for professional writers. In this situation, they resorted to reporting their dreams as fictions--dramas for which they acted as authors, directors, players, prompters, spectators, and critics. (I echo Jung's famous definition of dreams.) (70) Reporting their dreams in their narratives, their authors put themselves in the position of an onlooker, observing the contradictory emotions and ambivalent judgments that overtook them. Moreover, dreams seemed to offer a mode of representation best suited to deal with the terror. Thus, as the writer Kaverin made clear, the dream experience enacted the subjectivity that rested on the uncertainty about the agency and on the modality that fused possibility, impossibility, and necessity-something that the grammatical resources of language alone, even the Russian language, could barely grasp.
In this (and other) ways, dreams of Stalinist terror can serve as sources for historical understanding of the terror experience.
The author is grateful to Laura Engelstein, Jochen Hellbeck, Hugh McLean, and Alexander Zholkovsky for their critical comments. Translations from Russian are by Jane Shamaeva.
(1) On various use of dreams in historical scholarship, see Peter Burke's pioneering essay, "The Cultural History of Dreams" , in his Varieties of Cultural History (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997), 23-42; see also Daniel Pick and Lyndal Roper, eds., Dreams and History: The Interpretation of Dreams from Ancient Greece to Modern Psychoanalysis (London: Rout ledge, 2004).
(2) Alain Corbin, "Dream Imagery," A History of Private Life, ed. Philippe Aries and Georges Duby, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), vol. 4,514-15,
(3) Reinhart Koselleck, "Terror and Dream: Methodological Remarks on the Experience of Time during the Third Reich" , in his Future's Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985), 218. The phrase "dreams of terror" is Koselleck's.
(4) On such accounts, see Irina Paperno, "Personal Accounts of the Soviet Experience," Kritika 3, 4 (2002): 1-35. In this and in the present study, I have been inspired by the pioneering effort to connect intimacy and terror in Veronique Garros, Natalia Korenevskaya, and Thomas Lahusen, eds., Intimacy and Terror: Soviet Diaries of the 1930s, trans. Carol A. Flath (New York: New Press, 1995)-hereafter Intimacy and Terror; the phrase "intimacy and terror" is Thomas Lahusen's. See xi for a comment on dreams.
(5) What has been largely abandoned, even by psychoanalysts, is Freud's dismissal of the manifest content of dreams as a distortion of their "true," latent meaning; his belief in the impossibility of interpreting dreams unless one has the dreamer's associations; and his insistence that the function of dreams is limited to wish fulfillment. See, for Example, Melvin R. Lansky, "The Legacy of The Interpretation of Dreams," in Essential Papers on Dreams, ed. Lansky (New York: New York University Press, 1992), 3-31; and James L. Fosshage, "The Psychological Function of Dreams: A Revised Psychoanalytic Perspective," Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought 6, 4 (1983): 661.
(6) Loosely after Ernest Hartmann, "The Psychology and Physiology of Dreaming: A New Synthesis," in Dreams 1900 2000: Science, Art, and the Unconscious Mind, ed. Lynn Gamwell (Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press, 2000), 61-75. This understanding implies not that dreams are symbols, but that dreams can be experienced as inherently meaningful and symbolic. See also Harry T. Hunt, The Multiplicity of Dreams: Memory, Imagination, and Consciousness (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), 9, 208, and passim.
(7) See, for Example, Hunt, The Multiplicity of Dreams, 214.
(8) Both statements are from Bert O. States's remarkable study of the rhetoric of dreams, Dreaming and Storytelling (Ithaca, NY Cornell University Press, 1993), 3, 76.
(9) It was Foucault who insisted that dreaming is a specific form of experience and knowledge. See his "Dream, Imagination and Existence," in Michel Foucault and Ludwig Binswanger, Dream and Existence: A Special Issue from the Review of Existential Psychology and Psychiatry, ed. Keith Hoeller (Seattle, 1986), 43 and passim.
(10) Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, vol. 4 of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud, trans, and ed. James Strachey (London: Hogarth, 1967), 112.
(11) Jurgen Habermas, Knowledge and Human Interest, trans. Jeremy L. Shapiro (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), 219-20.
(12) Among others, George Steiner noted the strength of the belief in the prophetic nature of dreams in modern societies; see his "Les reves participent-ils de l'histoire? Deux questions adressees a Freud," Les debats, 25 May 1983, 167
(13) According to the psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas, the dream constitutes a fictional forerunner of reality, in which, based on prior knowledge, dream thoughts "play about" with the possibilities for the future. See Christopher Bollas, Forces of Destiny: Psychoanalysis and Human Idiom (Northvale, NJ: Free Association Books, 1989), 47, Self psychology (associated with Heinz Kohut) goes further, maintaining that, in the waking life, the reaction to dreams catalyzes self-change; the dream thus serves as a bridge to the personal future. These psychological approaches were successfully used in a historical study of revolutionary America: Mechal Sobel, Teach Me Dreams: The Search for Self in the Revolutionary Era (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000).
(14) I am extending and reversing Habermas, who speaks of "the unique relation to self that resides in listening to oneself talk": "the intimacy and transparency, the absolute proximity of the expression animated simultaneously by my breath and my meaning-intention" (Jurgen Habermas, The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity: Twelve Lectures, trans. Frederick G. Lawrence [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987], 176).
(15) The wording is from Paul Ricoeur, Freud and Philosophy: An Essay in Interpretation, trans. Denis Savage (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970), 92-93.
(16) Freud, Standard Edition, vol. 1, 273.
(17) For information on nightmares, I have used John Mack, "Toward aTheory of Nightmares," EssentialPapers on Dreams, 344.
(18) Charlotte Beradt, Das Dritte Reich des Traumes (Munchew Nymphenburger, 1966; 2nd ed. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1981 [with afterword by Reinhart Koselleck]); English translation The Third Reich of Dreams, trans. Adriane Gottwald, with an essay by Bruno Bettelheim (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1968).
(19) Biographical information on Beradt from Martine Leibovivi's preface to the French translation of Beradt's book, Reves sons le III Reich, trans. Pierre Saint-German (Paris: Payot et Rivages, 2002).
(20) Koselleck, "Terror and Dream," 217.
(21) Ibid., 218; "Afterword to Charlotte Beradt's The Third Reich of Dreams ," in Koselleck, The Practice of Conceptual History: Timing History, Spacing Concepts, trans. Todd Samuel Presner and others (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), 335.
(22) After Koselleck, "Afterword to Charlotte Beradt's The ThirdReich ofDreams," 333-34.
(23) Koselleck, "Terror and Dream," 219.
(24) L. K. Chukovskaia, Zapiski ob Anne Akhmatovoi (Moscow: Soglasie, 1997), vol. 1, 11-12; English from Lydia Chukovskaya, The Akhmatova journals, vol. 1, trans. Milena Michalski and Sylvia Rubashova (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1994), 5. The part of Chukovskaya's diaries that has been preserved and published is the chronicle of her friendship with Anna Akhmatova.
(25) Biographical information from A. S. Arzhilovskii, "Dnevnik 36-37-go godov," Ural, no. 3 (1992), 138 (published by Konstantin Lagunov); hereafter Ural; English translation "Diary of Andrei Stepanovich Arzhilovsky" in Intimacy and Terror, 111-12.
(26) Arzhilovsky's diary for 18 December 1936: Ural, 148; Intimacy and Terror, 132-33 (here and below, the translation has been adjusted).
(27) For Napoleon's name see Ural, 141; Intimacy and Terror, 115. For Pushkin, Ural, 144; Intimacy and Terror, 122, Arzhilovsky also showed his historical awareness by writing of arrests as "a replay of the French Revolution" (Ural, 160; Intimacy and Terror, 162),
(28) Arzhilovsky's diary for 19 April 1937: Ural, 159; Intimacy and Terror, 159.
(30) Arzhilovsky's diary for 28 January 1937: Ural, 151; Intimacy and Terror, 139-40.
(31) Arzhilovsky's diary for 31 October 1936: Ural, 141; Intimacy and Terror, 116. This is how he told the story: "that same camp newspaper that had printed my comments ... turned against me.... The newspaper campaign against me dealt a serious blow to my morale; the only conclusion I could come to was: we are cursed to the end of our days and no matter how you try to 'reforge' [perekovat'sia], no one will believe you, and at the first opportunity they'll peck at you and spit at you" (Arzhilovsky's diary for 31 October 1936: Ural, 141; Intimacy and Terror, 115). Both this story and the record of the dream contain the word "spit" (the translation in Intimacy and Terror did not preserve it).
(32) Mikhail Grobman, Leviafan: Dnevniki 1963-1971 godov (Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2002), 469.
(33) "'Prosti menia, Koba ...': Neizvestnoe pis'mo N. Bukharina," Istochnik, no. 0 (1993): 23-24. The letter is dated 10 December 1937
(34) Reported by Bukharin's wife; see A. M. Larina (Bukharina), Nezabyvaemoe (Moscow: APN, 1989), 317; English translation Anna Larina, This I Cannot Forget, trans, Gary Kern, with an introduction by Stephen P, Cohen (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988), 302.
(35) "Prosti menia, Koba," 23-24, The Hegelianism of this appeal has been noted by Jochen Hellbeck in "With Hegel to Salvation: Bukharin's Other Trial," forthcoming in Cahiers du monde russe.
(36) "Diary of Lyubov Vasilievna Shaporina," Intimacy and Terror, 366.
(37) Ibid., 354 (11 February 1937).
(38) L. G. Zorin, Avanstsena: Memuarnyi roman (Moscow: Slovo, 1997), 261.
(39) Jacques le Goff Extended Georg Misch's notion of "oneiric autobiography" (a classic example of which is Augustine's Confessions) in "Christianity and Dreams," in le Goff, The Medieval Imagination, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), 200. According to le Goff, oneiric autobiography is also represented in Romanticism and Surrealism.
(40) M, M. Prishvin, Dnevniki (Moscow: Pravda, 1990), 417 (29 January 1952).
(41) M. M. Prishvin, "1930 god," Oktiabr', no 7 (1989): 146, 161.
(42) Ibid. 164 (18 July 1930).
(43) Ibid., 169 (5 September 1930).
(44) Both adjoining quotes from ibid. 172.
(45) Prishvin, Dnevniki, 209-10.
(46) Ibid., 210.
(47) Heinz Kohut discussed an example from the Hitler era. It concerned the Austrian peasant Franz Jagerstatter who, on the basis of his religious ideals, refused to serve in the German army. Describing how he came to this decision, Jagerstatter related the dream he had in the summer of 1938 (after the Anschluss): he saw adults and children who streamed toward a beautiful railroad train that circled around a mountain; very few resisted being carried along. The voice told him: "This train is going to Hell." After the dream, step-by-step, he came to the idea that death was preferable to surrender. (He was guillotined in 1943) See Heinz Kohut, The Search for the Self Selected Writings of Heinz Kohut, ed. Paul H. Ornstein, 4 vols, (Madison, CT: International Universities Press, 1978-91), vol, 3, 138-39. Mechal Sobel discussed this dream in her Teach Me Dreams, 10-11,
(48) For this dream , see Arzhilovsky's diary for 3 February 1937: Ural, 152; Intimacy and Terror, 141,
(49) M. M. Prishvin, "'Zhizn'stalaveselei ...': Iz dnevnika 1936 goda," Oktiabr', no, 10 (1993): 14,
(50) See the entries for 1 and 3 April 1939; M. M. Prishvin, "Dnevnik 1939 goda," Oktiabr', no. 2 (1998): 153-54.
(51) M. M. Prishvin, "Dnevnik 1938 goda," Oktiabr', no. 1 (1997): 130.
(52) M. M. Prishvin, "Dnevnik 1937 god a," Oktiabr', no. 11 (1994): 148.
(53) V A. Kaverin, Epilog: Memuary (Moscow: Moskovskii rabochii, 1989), 224.
(54) Ibid., 229-30.
(55) Ibid., 191-92.
(56) I borrowed the phrase from Sheila Fitzpatrick's Everyday Stalinism: Ordinary Life in Extraordinary Times. Soviet Ibassia in the 1930s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999); this study describes such Stalinist practices as "purging" and "reforging," mentioned in my article.
(57) I wish to thank Boris Gasparov and Alan Timberlake for linguistic commentary.
(58) Chukovskaia, Zapiski ob Anne Akhmatovoi, vol. 2, 363. The Trial was first published in Russian in 1965.
(59) I used the work of the psychoanalyst Selma Fraiberg, "Kafka and the Dream," in Modern Literary Criticism: An Anthology, ed. Irving Howe (Boston: Beacon Press, 1958), 197 and passim.
(60) Ia. S. Druskin's Son i iav' has not yet been published in full. Excerpts published in Yakov Druskin, Vblizi vestnikov, ed. Genrikh Orlov (Washington, DC: H. A. Frager, 1988). The chapter containing dreams about his dead friends appeared in Sborishche druzei, ostavlennykh sud'boi: A. Vvedenskii, L. Lipavskii, Ia. Druskin, D. Khanns, N. Oleinikov. Chinari v tekstakh, dokumentakh i issledovaniiakh (n.p., 1998), vol. 1, 855-61.
(61) Druskin, Dnevniki (St. Petersburg: Akademicheskii proekt, 1999), 132; included in Druskin, Son i iav', see Sborishche druzei, 857. Kharms died in the prison hospital on 2 February 1942.
(62) Druskin, Dnevniki, 397; included in his Son i iav'; see Sborishche, 860.
(63) I could not find this dream in the published diary. It is included in Druskin's Son i iav'; see Sborishche, 861.
(64) Georgii Vasil'evich Sviridov, mentioned in the dream, is a Soviet composer.
(65) 'Alles ist tot, and wir sind tot," says the German musician Lemm, a character in Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev, The Nest ofthe Gentry (Dvorianskoe gnezdo), chap. 44.
(66) Druskin, Dnevniki, 249-50.
(67) Ibid., 249-50.
(68) Ol'ga Berggol'ts, "Iz dnevnikov," Zvezda, no. 6 (1990): 168.
(69) Alain Besancon, in Histoire et experience du moi (Paris: Flammarion, 1971), calls prototypical literary dreams--such as Raskol'nikov's dream in Dostoevskii's Crime and Punishment--the dreams of the culture." Peter Burke echoed the idea of culturally pervasive dreams in his "The Cultural History of Dreams," 29.
(70) Carl Gustav Jung, Dreams, trans. R. F. C. Hull (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1967), 52.
Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720 USA
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