Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
originally, a writer in the Soviet Union who was not against the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 but did not actively support it as a propagandist. The term was used in this sense by Leon Trotsky in Literature and the Revolution (1925) and was not meant to be pejorative. Implicit in the designation was the recognition of the artist's need for intellectual freedom and his dependence on links with the cultural traditions of the past. Fellow travellers were given official sanction in the early Soviet regime; they were regarded somewhat like experts who were filling the literary gap until a true proletarian art emerged. In the 1920s some of the most gifted and popular Soviet writers, such as Osip Mandelshtam, Leonid Leonov, Boris Pilnyak, Isaac Babel, Ilya Ehrenburg, and members of the Serapion Brothers were fellow travellers. The period during which they dominated the literary scene is now regarded as the brilliant flowering of Soviet literature. They were opposed bitterly, however, by champions of a new proletarian art, and by the end of the decade the term came to be practically synonymous with counter-revolutionary.