Everything is corrected: Corruption, terror, intelligentsia, and the state in Edvard Radzinsky's Conversations with Socrates

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In this essay, I will examine two absences within the text of Edvard Radzinsky's Conversations with Socrates: the absence of a proper name for the First Disciple and the lack of any references to male same-sex desire. I argue that these absences are meaningful and interconnected features in the text that, in the context of Russian history, complicate Radzinsky's own cherished position as a gadfly of the state and deface his portrait of Socrates as an analogue for the heroic intelligentsia. Ultimately, I suggest that the absence of same-sex desire functions as a pathology, as a hidden metonym for the historic guilt of the Russian intelligentsia and its role in the excesses of the Soviet regime. Finally, I argue that such erasures are implicated in the geopolitical oppositions and gendered/sexualized national identities that inflected and constituted the Cold War.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-191
Number of pages24
JournalModern Drama
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009



  • Conversations with Socrates
  • Edvard Radzinsky
  • Homosexuality
  • Russian drama
  • Russian intelligentsia
  • Socrates
  • Soviet Union

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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