Young people in the West don’t know Soviet literature well. Are Soviet youth familiar with the works of Western writers?

Grigori Reznichenko ::: Young people in the USSR. Answers to questions

As in other countries, you get all sorts of people here. Some read a lot, others read less. So familiar­ity with Western literature can differ greatly among different people.

However, there are a number of common features concerning this question. To begin with, since a sec­ondary education is now compulsory, Soviet young people are bound to know more about Western lit­erature than their counterparts in the West know about Soviet literature. That follows from their cur­riculum. Not only are they obliged to, but they are in a position to know it better since far more trans­lations of Western works are available to them, than translations of Soviet works are to people in France, Britain or the United States. Practically all Soviet literary magazines publish works of foreign auth­ors. Apart from that there is one magazine special­izing in such works-"Foreign Literature". It is a monthly magazine with a circulation of more than 600,000.

In fact many Western authors have their works published in the Soviet Union in bigger editions than in their own countries. And Soviet young people on the average read much more than their Western counterparts. A young person in this country who hasn't read Hemingway, Salinger, Faulkner, or Antoine de Saint-Exupery would be considered an "il­literate".