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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

Eastern', 'Communist', 'Soviet', 'Bolshevik', and even 'Cold War', and 'regime', 'system', and 'totalitarian' are concepts frequently used in both academic and popular studies of the region, but individual authors rarely agree on their definition. The study of language, literature, and other areas of the arts remained separate from the socio-economic mainstream, a fact that had severe consequences for research on cultural or-to put it in orthodox Marxist terms-superstructure issues. The study of cultural and, more specifically, book-related issues may more than just complement macro-analyses and even help to undermine some misleading assumptions about the 'totalitarian' and 'transitional' social contexts. This book is divided into three parts, which more or less chronologically trace the intellectual and political origins of controlled book production and reception; its theories and practices applied under the centrally controlled regimes; and a discussion of the processes and the actors involved in its turnover and aftermath.

Keywords: centrally controlled regimes; cold war Europe; totalitarian culture

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