Emerging from Censorship


J.M. Coetzee


Between the early 1960s and the mid-1980s, the Republic of South Africa operated one of the most comprehensive censorship systems in the world. Called in official parlance not censorship but publications control—censorship was a word it sought to censor from public discourse about itself—it controlled every form in which signs could be publicly disseminated, that is, not only books, magazines, newspapers, films, etc., but T-shirts, key-rings, dolls, toys, shop-signs—anything, in fact, that might carry a forbidden message or representation. Every new T-shirt, key-ring, etc., as well as every new book, film, etc., had to pass the scrutiny of the censorship bureaucracy before it could be released upon the public. In the old Soviet Union there were some 70,000 bureaucrats supervising the activities of some 7,000 writers. The ratio of censors to writers in South Africa was, if anything, higher than ten to one.

When a man reacts to the world around him as though the air is filled with coded messages deriding him or plotting his destruction, we call him paranoid. For decades the South African state behaved in a paranoid fashion. In itself, as a feature of what we can call the mentality of the state, the phenomenon is nothing new. Paranoia is the pathology par excellence of dictatorships. Among modern dictators Stalin was perhaps the most demonstrably and the most extremely paranoid. We can fairly say that of the millions who died at his behest a good proportion were victims of his paranoid delusions.

One of the features distinguishing modern dictatorships from earlier dictatorships is how widely and rapidly the modern dictator’s paranoia, or the paranoia of a ruling clique, can be disseminated to infect the populace as a whole. In fact it has been a positive strategy of government among modern paranoid dictatorships to spread their paranoia. Stalin’s Soviet Union is again the prime example: every citizen was encouraged to suspect every other citizen of being a spy or saboteur; the bonds of human sympathy and trust between people were broken down; and “Soviet society” became in fact just a name for tens of millions of individuals living on individual islands of mutual suspicion and terror of one another.

The Soviet Union was not unique. The Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas wrote of the atmosphere of “unceasing official menace” in his country that made a citizen “not only a repressed person, but also a self-repressed one, not only a censored person, but a self-censored one, not only one watched over, but one who watches over himself.”1 Exemplary punitive action in a context of “unceasing official menace” is an argument hard to resist: one effect to make certain kinds of writing and even speech a guilty activity, thereby reproducing the paranoia of the state in the psyche of the subject. Thus may the state look forward to the day when the censorship bureaucracy can afford to wither away, its function having been, in effect, privatized.

I may seem to fling the word paranoia around rather loosely. The paranoia of the tyrant—yes, perhaps. But if the writer stands a chance of being packed off to a real, objective reeducation camp, why should one call that paranoia rather than justifiable watchfulness?

My answer is, No. The watchfulness of the writer in the paranoid state has a pathological quality that truly tips it over into paranoia. The evidence I call upon here comes from writers themselves. Time and again they record the feeling of being touched and contaminated by the sickness of the state. In a move typical of “authentic” paranoids, they claim that their minds have been invaded; it is against this invasion that they express their outrage.

The Greek writer George Mangakis, for instance, records the experience of writing in prison under the eyes of his guards. Every few days the guards searched his cell, taking away his writings and returning those which the prison authorities—the censors—considered “permissible.” Mangakis recalls accepting his papers back and suddenly “loathing” them. “The system is a diabolical device for annihilating your own soul. They want to make you see your thoughts through their eyes and control them yourself, from their point of view.”2 By forcing the writer to see what he has written through the censor’s eyes, the censor forces him to internalize a contaminating reading; Mangakis’ sudden, revulsive moment is the moment of contamination.

The ultimate proof that something has, so to speak, gone wrong with writers like Arenas or Mangakis is the excessiveness of the language of their response. To put the point in another way: as I use the term paranoia, it is not a figurative way of describing the situation of such a writer. Rather, the paranoia is on the inside, in the language, in the thinking; the terror and rage one hears in Mangakis’ words is terror and rage at the most intimate of invasions, an invasion of the very style of the self, by a pathology for which there may be no cure. I suspect the same paranoia may be felt in my own language, as I write here: in the excessive insistence of its phrasing, in its vehemence, its demands for sensitivity to minutiae of style. The South African censorship began to wind down in the decade of the 1980s; today it is virtually dormant; yet I lived through its heyday, saw its consequences not only on the lives of fellow-writers but on the totality of public discourse, felt in my own person some of its more secret effects, and so must contemplate the possibility that I share (or feel I share) the position of an Arenas or a Mangakis because I too may have been infected with whatever infected them, real or delusional. That is to say, this essay may be a specimen of the same kind of paranoid discourse it seeks to describe.

I stress that the paranoia I am talking about is not the imprint of censorship on those writers alone who have become the objects of official persecution. All writing that in the normal course of events can fall under the censor’s eye may become tainted in the manner I have described, whether or not the censor passes it. All writers under censorship are at least potentially driven to paranoia, not just those who have books banned.

Why should this be so? I can give only a speculative answer. It is an answer based not only on introspection, however: it is also based on a scrutiny (I should caution the reader, however: perhaps a paranoid scrutiny) of the accounts other writers (who may themselves have been infected with paranoia) have given of operating under regimes of censorship.

No one believes any longer that the self is the monadic unit described by classical rationalism. On the contrary, we picture the self as multiple and in many ways divided against itself. We picture it as a zoo, for instance, in which all kinds of strange beasts have residence, over which the anxious, overworked zookeeper of rationality has rather limited control. In this zoo there are few internal bars. At night the zookeeper sleeps and some of the beasts roam about (we call this dreaming).

Which, in this psychoanalytic fantasy, arc the beasts in the zoo of the self? Some have names like figure-of-the-father and figure-of-the-mother; others are memories or fragments of memories in transmuted form, with strong elements of feeling attached to them; a whole subcolony are semi-tamed but still treacherous earlier versions of the self, each with an inner zoo of its own over which it has less than complete control.

Artists, says Freud, are people who move around in the inner menagerie with a degree of confidence and emerge from it when they wish more or less unscathed. Whether Freud’s account of the creative process holds water is not my concern here. I poach from it one element: that artistic creation of a certain kind involves inhabiting and managing and exploiting quite primitive parts of the self. This is not a particularly dangerous activity but it is a delicate one, one that may take a writer years of preparation till he/she finally gets the codes and the keys and the balances right, and can move in and out more or less freely. It is also a very private matter, so private that it almost constitutes the definition of privacy: how I am with myself.

Managing the inner selves, making them work for one (making them productive) is a complex matter of pleasing and satisfying and challenging and extorting and wooing and feeding, and sometimes even of destroying. For writing not only comes out of the zoo but (I become hypermetaphorical now) goes back in again. That is to say, insofar as writing is transactional, the figures for whom and to whom it is done are also figures in the zoo: for instance, the figure-of-the-beloved in the zoo, who may or may not be an idealized representation of some beloved in the real world, though for Freud she is more likely to be a heavily disguised version of a parent.

Let us take the example of a kind of writing that is, in its essence, a transaction with some such figure of the beloved, that tries to please her (but that also tries continually though surreptitiously to revise and recreate her as the-one-who-will-be-pleased); and let us imagine what happens if into this transaction is introduced in a massive and undeniable way another figure-of-the-reader: the dark-suited, bald-headed censor, with his pursed lips and his red pen and his irritability and his censoriousness (for no good reason I present the censor as a rather parodic version of the figure-of-the- father). Then the entire balance of the carefully constructed inner drama is destroyed, and destroyed in a way that is hard to repair. For, as is the way with these psychic operations, the more one tries to ignore (repress) the censor, the larger he swells.

Working under a censorship regime is like being intimate with someone who does not love you, with whom you don’t want intimacy, but who is forced upon you. It is like writing for an intrusive reader, one who forces himself in upon the intimacy of the writing transaction, forces out the figure of the loved or courted reader, reads whatever you write in a disapproving and censorious fashion.

I cite an exemplary case from the Soviet Union, the case of one of Stalin’s principal victims among writers, Osip Mandelstam. It tells several important and appalling lessons about the paranoid state.3

In 1933 Mandelstam, then 42 years old, composed a short but powerful poem about a tyrant who orders executions left, right and center, and relishes the deaths of his victims like a man munching raspberries. Though the tyrant is not named (he is identified only as a Georgian), the reference is clearly to Stalin.

Mandelstam did not write the poem down, but did recite it several times to friends. In 1934 his home was raided by security police looking for the poem. Though they did not find it—it existed solely inside the heads of the poet and his friends—they arrested Mandelstam. While Mandelstam was under arrest, the poet Boris Pasternak had a telephone call from the top man himself, Stalin. Who is this fellow Mandelstam? Stalin wanted to know. In particular, is he a master? (That was Stalin’s word, the same in Russian as in English.)

Pasternak correctly inferred the second half of the question: Is Mandelstam a master or is he disposable? Pasternak replied, in effect, that Mandelstam was a master, that he was not disposable. So Mandelstam was sentenced to internal exile in the city of Voronezh. While he was living there, enormous pressure was brought on him to pay tribute to Stalin by composing a poem in his honour. Mandelstam gave in and composed an adulatory ode. What he felt about this ode we will never know, not only because he left no record but because—as his wife persuasively argues—he was mad when he wrote it, mad with fear, perhaps, but mad too with the madness of a person not only suffering the embrace of a body he detests, but taking the initiative, day after day, line after line, to embrace that body.

In fact the ode did not save Mandelstam. He was soon rearrested and sent to a labour camp, from which he never returned. There is a great deal that can be said about the fate of this great and tragic poet. All I will comment on are two moments in his persecution: the moment when Stalin asks whether Mandelstam is a master, and the moment when Mandelstam is ordered to celebrate his persecutor.

“Is he a master?” We can be sure Stalin was not asking because he regarded great artists as above the state. What he meant was something like, Is he dangerous? Is he going to live, even if he dies? Is his sentence on me going to live longer than my sentence on him? Do I have to be careful?

Hence the command later on that Mandelstam write an ode (whether the command came from Stalin himself or from the toadies surrounding him need not concern us here). Making the great artists of his day kowtow to him was Stalin’s way of breaking them, of making it impossible for them to hold their heads up—in effect, of showing them who was master, and of making them acknowledge him as master in a medium where no lie, no private reservation, is possible: one’s own art.

To the case of Mandelstam let me add a case from South Africa that is comparable in its dynamic if not in its scale.4

In 1972 the poet Breyten Breytenbach published a poem in Afrikaans entitled “Letter to Butcher from Foreign Parts.” As the poem made clear, the butcher to whom the letter was addressed was Balthazar John Vorster, then Prime Minister of the Republic of South Africa, the man who had done most to create a security-police empire with huge powers over life and death, a police force untouchable by the law, above the courts. Vorster did more than anyone to create an ethos of invulnerability among the police, an ethos whose terrible aftereffects still hang over South Africa. In the custody of Vorster’s security police, scores of political detainees died unexplained deaths. It is important to remember that these people did not “disappear,” as happened in Argentina and Chile. On the contrary, their bodies were produced for post-mortem examination; and, despite clear evidence that they had died under torture, patriotic or perhaps just frightened magistrates accepted the bland explanations produced by the police: that detainees had slipped on bars of soap and fatally concussed themselves while taking a shower, or had hurled themselves out of tenth-floor windows in tits of remorse, or had hanged themselves with their torn-up shirts.

In Breytenbach’s long poem there are recorded the names of many of these victims, as if the poem says of itself, “It is I that will live in history, that will be remembered, not the court record.” But the heart of the poem is a passage addressed to the butcher himself in which Breytenbach asks Vorster in the most intimate of ways what it is like for him to use fingers red with blood to fondle his wife’s private parts. It is a shocking and obscene passage, all the more obscene for addressing the sex-life of a couple in late middle age, public figures in a highly puritanical society.

Some years later, Breytenbach—who had been living abroad when he wrote the poem, and had published it in the Netherlands, publication back home being out of the question—paid a visit to South Africa, using false papers and on a secret military assignment. He was soon picked up by the security police. He was not liquidated, he was not even tortured, but he was given a show trial. The formal charge was terrorism, but his writings, particularly the poem against Vorster, soon emerged as a subtext to the proceedings. The purpose of the trial, as it emerged, was to break him in much the same way as Mandelstam had been broken. In open court Breytenbach ultimately apologized to Vorster for what he called the “crass and insulting” poem he had written and thanked the security police for the humanity with which they had treated him. In return for eating crow he got nothing. The deal he had been promised—a lighter sentence—was reneged on.

There is a puzzling feature about both cases, Brcytenbach’s and Mandelstam’s. Compared with the vast machinery of the state, including its well-developed machinery of censorship, the writer was clearly powerless. Yet the state, and particularly the head of state (the head of the state in which the paranoia buzzes), deemed these writers, these master-writers, important enough in terms of their power—and power is the only quantity that power understands—to lavish much attention on. Why could the two poems in question, however insulting, not have been ignored like the pinpricks they were? Why do the activities of writers concern the state at all?

To answer this question, to understand the long history of troubled relations between writers and the state, we need to reflect on authorship as an historical phenomenon cradled in the early modern age, and on the ambitions opened up for the first time in history by a career in authorship.

Scribal culture, the culture of the West before the invention of printing, did not particularly foster the notion that by dint of writing a person could attain fame. This notion belongs to print culture. We begin to see evidence of it quite soon after the invention of printing, as printers begin to make a practice of attaching authors’ names to the books they put out. What does this signing of the book mean? Of course it has legal and commercial implications: the author accepts a share of the legal responsibility for the book as he lays claim to a share of the profits.5 But signing the book also has a symbolic meaning: the author uses the book as a vehicle for projecting his signature—and sometimes his portrait—into the world, in a multiplied form. It is this potentially endless multiplication of traces of himself that gives the author the sense of having the power to cross all spatial and temporal boundaries. In visions of fame and immortality authorship as we know it today is born: authorship and the mystique of the author.6

So much for the author; what of the state?

The people, as a concept in the political philosophy of the West, also goes back to the early modern state. The question may be McLuhanesque, but it is worth asking nevertheless: Which achieved its aims earlier—the state, fitting the concept of a people over the population under its control, or the early printer-publishers, creating a public (a reading public) for their products? Or, to put the question in a milder form: Does the reading public called into being by the invention of printing not constitute a model of the people as imagined in the philosophy of the early modern state?

Whatever the answer, it seems to be no accident that, as soon as printing arrived, state censorship took on a more systematic, widespread and rigorous form, as though in printers and their authors the state had identified not so much an enemy (though in fact that is what they were often labeled) as a rival. From the sixteenth century onward we begin to detect in the language of the state, when it turns to authors and their powers, a note of distinctly modern paranoia. Here, for instance, is England’s Lord Keeper, Sir Nicholas Bacon, speaking in 1567:

These books… [make] men’s minds to be at variance one with another, and diversity of minds maketh seditions, seditions bring in tumults, tumults make insurrections and rebellions, insurrections make depopulations and bring in utter ruin and destruction of men’s bodies, goods and lands. 7

We tend today to think of blanket pre- and post-publication censorship as a feature of absolutist and totalitarian states: the Russia of Nicholas I, Stalin’s Soviet Union. But censorship in early modern Europe was at least as relentless—draconian in its penalties and surprisingly sophisticated in its mechanisms too.8 As early as the sixteenth century we find the state viewing authors and printer-publishers not only as an interest group with a strong (and self-justifying) sense of historical mission but as an elite with an ability to create a mass following, at least among literate people, in a way that is frustratingly similar to the ambitions of the state itself.

The history of authorship and the history of censorship are thus intimately bound together. With the advent of printing and the rapid multiplication of copies, the fortunes of the author rise; he grows in power but also becomes the object of the envy of the state. In the twentieth century, with the invention of radio and television, as the power of the author wanes, so does the state’s interest in him wane. So it is no surprise that the great age of state censorship is the age of the preeminence of the print media.


“Is he a master?” Whether Mandelstam was a master-writer or not, what had Stalin, with the massive means of repression at his disposal, to fear from him? I return to this question in the context of the rivalry I have been discussing: between the power of the state to spread the word of its authority, and the power of the writer through publication to spread his.

The object of the state’s envy, in this account, is not so much the rival content of the author’s word, or even specifically the power he gets from the press to spread that word, as a certain disseminative power of which the power to publish and have read is only the most marked case. While the power of authors in general is slight without the multiplier effect of the press, the word of the master-author has a disseminative power that goes beyond purely mechanical means of dissemination. The master’s word (as we know very well from Russian history) can spread by word of mouth, or from hand to hand in carbon-paper copies (‘samizdat’, literally self-publication); even when the word itself is not spread, it can be replaced by rumors of itself, rumors that spread like copies (the rumor that someone has written a poem about which the boss is furious, for instance).

Furthermore, a logic seems to spring into operation that works to the state’s disadvantage: the more draconically the state comes down on writing, the more seriously it is seen to be taking writing; the more seriously it is seen to be taking writing, the more attention is paid to writing; the more attention is paid to writing, the more its disseminative power increases. The book that is suppressed today gets twice as much attention tomorrow, precisely because it has been suppressed; the writer who is gagged today is famous tomorrow for having been gagged.

No matter what the state does, writers always seem to get the last word; men and women of letters—the intellectual community, the academic community, even the journalistic community—whose sense of craft-solidarity can be surprisingly strong, are the writers, inter alia, of history. In an important sense it is they and not the state who make history.

This dynamic of reversal, powered by a strong belief among the intellectual community (at least in Judaeo-Christian cultures) in the vindication of the truth in the fullness of time, is clearly to be seen at work in our own age. In South Africa, for instance, writers, no matter how much persecuted, knew that in the long run the censors did not stand a chance—not only because apartheid was doomed to collapse because of its internal contradictions, not only because puritan moral standards were on the wane in a world-wide economy of consumption, but because as a community they would outlast their political foes and, more than that, would write their epitaph.

Writers in South Africa knew all this, and said so, sometimes loudly and publicly, though perhaps with too little explanation of the logic that weighted the outcome so heavily in their favor. Even more questionable was their readiness to embrace the status of victim, victims of the censor, when in fact they had uncensored access to the rest of the English-speaking world. (The South African government never went so far as to attempt to punish writers for publishing abroad, as happened in the Soviet Union, particularly in the 1960s.)

What I therefore ask, in a somewhat skeptical spirit, is whether writers under censorship are wholly disinterested in presenting themselves as embattled and outnumbered, confronting a gigantic foe. And since South Africa, where durable ties exist between (English-language) writers and foreign (principally British) publishers, may be a special case, let me spread my net wider to indicate that ready recourse to David-and-Goliath mythmaking, and in general to the rhetoric of battle, has not been a feature of literary life in South Africa alone.

A few years ago Seamus Heaney published an essay on the poets of Eastern Europe, particularly the Russian poets who suffered under Stalin, and on the impact upon the West of what he sees as their exemplary lives. Tsvetaeva, Akhmatova, the Mandelstams, Pasternak, Gumilev, Esenin, Mayakovsky, says Heaney, have become “heroic names [in]…a modern martyrology, a record of courage and sacrifice which elicits… unstinted admiration.” The refusal by these writers to compromise their art “expose[d] to the majority [of Soviet citizens] the abjectness of their [own] collapse, as they [lied] for security into whatever self-deceptions the party line require[d] of them.” 9

Heaney presents these great persecuted writers as heroes and martyrs despite themselves. They did not aspire to bring about the downfall of the state, he says, they merely tried to be true to themselves. Nevertheless, in being true they drew upon themselves the resentment of those many who had given in to the menaces of the state, and so were left in vulnerable and ultimately tragic isolation.

There can be no question about the power of the life-stories to which Heaney refers to evoke our pity and terror. What I draw attention to is the metaphorics of Heaney’s account, a metaphorics of battle—of the radical oppositions of victory and defeat, suffering and triumph, courage and cowardice. Is not the very staging of the opposition between these writers and the Soviet state in terms of a metaphorics of battle in itself the declaration of a war which strangely betrays what Heaney admires in them: their unshakeable (but not wholly unshakeable—they were human, after all—their nearly unshakeable, and where it was shakeable wholly understandable) fidelity to their calling?

For Heaney’s is of course a particularly intransigent kind of metaphoric, a metaphoric of black and white without shades of grey. It seems to describe an historical dynamic in which there are finally only two positions left open: for or against, good or bad, the self-censored cowardice of the herd or the uncensored heroism of the few. As a reading of life under Stalin, it seems, in its rhetorical violence, to issue a challenge to all grey readings, nuanced readings of those times. It constructs the writer-censor or writer-state relationship as one of rivalry that can only grow more and more naked till it issues in warfare.

Earlier in this essay I wrote of the paranoia of the state. But in the figure of the writer as the hero of resistance, the one who implacably attends to the voice of his daimon and goes on writing, is there not the potential for a certain megalomania? Paranoia on the one hand, megalomania on the other: not as unlikely a couple as may at first seem. Let me quote Mario Vargas Llosa:

The congenital unsubmissiveness of literature is much broader than is believed by those who consider it a mere instrument for opposing governments and dominant social structures: it strikes equally at everything [that] stands for dogma and logical exclusivism in the interpretation of life, that is, both ideological orthodoxies and heterodoxies. In other words, it is a living, systematic, inevitable contradiction of all that exists.10

This extraordinary claim is made in the name of literature, but I take the liberty of reading it as a claim in the name of writers as a group. Let us be clear against whom Vargas Llosa speaks here. More than against the bureaucrat censor in the pay of the tyrant, he is speaking against the enemy of the tyrant, the revolutionary who hopes to employ the writer in the fight against the tyrant and thus draw the writer into his camp, enrolling the writer as a soldier in the grand army of the revolution. In their relations with the writer, says Vargas Llosa, tyrant and revolutionary are in fact more alike than they are different; or, to put it in another way, the dynamic of their opposition is a dynamic of illusionary differences. It is a dynamic in which the writer will not participate. His “unsubmissiveness” consists in being in “systematic…contradiction” at all times. In other words, true opposition consists in being in opposition to systems of opposition.

The maneuver practised by Vargas Llosa here of shifting his own opposition to a logical level one floor higher than the ground-level political battle cannot succeed in removing him from the play of oppositions. His claim that the writer occupies a position that simultaneously exists outside politics, rivals politics, and dominates politics, seems to me truly megalomaniac.


There is nothing that raises the hackles of writers like the threat of censorship, no topic that calls forth a more pugnacious instinctive response. In the first part of this essay I have tried to indicate why the threat of censorship is felt so intimately by writers, and in the second I have cast a skeptical look at the rhetoric in which their response is often cast.

The subject I have addressed has been a deliberately restricted one. When I have spoken of writers I have had in mind writers who originate their own work, and the censorship I have had in mind has been state censorship, pre- and/or post-publication, backed by the force of the law. I have thus not addressed the instance of writers in the employ of institutions that retain a contractual right to censor the work they pay for; nor have I had in mind the censorship of information through official press controls, though I acknowledge that the distinction between “writing” and information is not always easy to maintain.

I have particularly not addressed the question of whether there are circumstances in which legally enforced censorship may be justifiable, and in specific the question of whether language that is felt by broad groups of people to insult and demean them ought to be permitted public airing. This is part of a political debate about the relative weight of individual and group rights about which I will say nothing here except that, coming from a country in which political censorship was for decades carried out under the pretense of protecting ethnic and religious sensitivities, I may perhaps be excused a jaundiced view.



  1. Quoted in Carlos Ripoll, The Heresy of Words in Cuba (New York: Freedom House, 1985), p. 36.

  2. George Mangakis, “Letter to Europeans” (1972), in They Shoot Writers, Don’t They?, ed. George Theiner (London: Faber, 1984). p. 33.

  3. The story of Mandelstam and Stalin is more fully recounted in my essay “Osip Mandelstam and the Stalin Ode,” Representations no. 35 (Summer 1991). pp. 72-83.

  4. See my essay “Breyten Breytenbach and the Censor,” Raritan 10/4 (1991), pp. 58-84.

  5. Lucien Febvre and Henri-Jean Martin, The Coming of the Book, trans. David Gerard (London: New Left Books, 1976), pp. 160, 84, 261; Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1979), vol. 1, p. 230; Alain Viala, Naissance de l’écrivain (Paris: Editions de minuit, 1985). p. 85.

  6. As regards this mystique, we may note that even well-educated people misunderstood the etymology of the word author, believing that it went back not only to Latin augeo, to add something to something else—which it docs—but also to Greek autos, self which it does not. Thus there grew up around the word a field of connotations: the author was a man of authority, and his authority was backed by a certain parthenogenic power to create out of himself. See Viala, p. 276.

  7. Quoted in D. M. Loades, “The Theory and Practice of Censorship in Sixteenth-Century England,” Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, fifth series, vol. 24 (London: Royal Historical Society, 1974), p. 142.

  8. The authorities in Tudor England, for instance, maneuvered writers into a position of censoring themselves, and even invented the ploy of refusing to spell out the conventions of silence they expected writers to follow (in other words, imposing a silence about the conventions of silence). See Annabel Patterson, Censorship and Interpretation (Madison: U. of Wisconsin P., 1984), pp. 10-11.

  9. Seamus Heaney. The Government of the Tongue (London: Faber, 1988), p. 39.

  10. Mario Vargas Llosa, “The Writer in Latin America” (1978), in Theiner, ed., p. 166.