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Reading in Czechoslovakia 1989–1991; A survey of the public's reception of works of fiction

Authors
Journal
The International Information & Library Review
1057-2317
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
Volume
27
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s1057-2317(05)80010-4
Disciplines
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract Reading in Czechoslovakia under Communism did not conform to the official line maintaining that citizens were primarily interested in serious political works. On the contrary, surveys revealed that light fiction and works from the West were the books with the highest public library circulation. The long period of spiritual stagnation led to the degradation of critical ability, one result of which was that some sophisticated and controversial Western works such as John Irving's The World According to Garp were acceptable to Communist authorities because they were mistakenly deemed “light literature”. In the years immediately following the demise of Communism, Czech public library users did not show a radical change in their choice of titles, but the author points out that the recently improved distribution and availability of both “high” and “low” literature may have altered habits considerably in the period since the survey was done.

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