Final Word from Thursday, January 5, 2012

If there were a contest to determine the best publishing house for Eastern Europeandissident literature, it would be a close race between Ardis Publishers of Ann Arbor,Michigan, and 68 Publishers of Toronto. Ardis would probably win by a nose, becauseit had such Russian literary giants as Vladimir Nabokov, Marina Tsvetaeva and JosephBrodsky to work with, but 68 Publishers was no slouch either and was the first of thetwo to see one of its authors win the Nobel Prize in Literature. This happened to JaroslavSeifert in 1984, while Brodsky had to wait for his Nobel Prize until 1987. Czechand Russian literature would have somehow survived Communism anyway, but thesetwo publishing houses helped make them flourish during a very difficult period.Milan Kundera said in Encounter that he was living in exile in Paris but that thanks toJosef and Zdena Škvorecký, the heart of his native land for him was in Toronto.

Glossary of difficult words

dissident literature - this term is used here loosely, because some of the exiled writers did not consider themselves dissidents;

to win by a nose - to win by a small amount;

no slouch - not incapable or incompetent;

to flourish - to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way.


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FS Final Word