ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: American Pasternaks.

Weekly Note from Volume X, No 50, December 13, 1958.

“Only a few years ago Arthur Miller, an American writer much less critical of our society than Pasternak is of his, was sum-moned before the House Un-American Acti-vities Committee, submitted to humiliating interrogation, and threatened covertly with perjury charges unless he recanted past p olitical views. “Even today the one movie house in Washington which has revived the old Chaplin classics runs an apologetic note in its advertising. “It is easier for a critic or capitalism and the cold war to live in this country than for a critic of communism to live in Russia. But an unofficial blacklist still bars some of our best artists and actors and directors in Hollywood and from radio-TV work. “The closest analogue to Pasternak is Howard Fast, and until he broke with the Communists he was forced to publish his own books. All of us who are more or less heretical in our society are forced to live on its margin, grateful that we are able to speak (at the cost of abnormal exertions) to a small audience. *** “Whatever their folly, let us examine the mote in our own eye and remember that an American Pasternak who accepted a Soviet prize would be hauled up before the Un-American Activities Committee and black-listed in Hollywood and on Madison Avenue. And few, very few, of those who are now praising Pasternak would then say one word in defence of the right to a free conscience.” – ‘I F Stone’s Weekly’, November 3.

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