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The state of human rights in Soviet Union


Arthur Miller's defending letter
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Well, by the way, Arthur Miller, a well known American playwright, wrote a letter regarding me – I didn’t know about... nobody in Lithuania knew. But I found out about it in a very interesting way. A play by Miller was on in a theatre in Vilnius and suddenly – even though the theatre was always full, it was a popular play – and it was suddenly removed from the repertoire. And we guessed that this was most probably because Miller had said something on my behalf: leave that man in peace and let him leave. Later in the West, I met Arthur Miller, I spoke to him, and he told me, ‘Yes, yes, I wrote that letter defending you’.

Na, tarp kitko, Artūras Mileris, žinomas amerikiečių dramaturgas, irgi įprašytas Brodskio ir Milošo, parašė kažkokį laišką mano klausimu. Aš apie tai nežinojau, ir niekas Lietuvoj nežinojo. Bet sužinojau labai įdomiu būdu. Vilniuje ėjo Milerio pjesė teatre ir staiga, nors jinai ir toliau... buvo pilnos salės, ji buvo populiari pjesė, ji buvo staiga išimta iš repertuaro. Ir mes atspėjome, kad čia tikriausiai dėl to, kad Milošas kažką pasakė mano klausimu, kad palikite tą žmogų ramybėje ir leiskite jam išvažiuoti. Vėliau Vakaruose aš mačiau Artūrą Milleris, kalbėjausi, jis pasakė: taip, taip aš buvau pasirašęs tokį laišką ginantį jus.

Born in 1937, Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian scholar, poet, author and translator of literature. He was educated at Vilnius University and later at Tartu University. As an active participant in the dissident movement he was deprived of Soviet citizenship in 1977 and had to emigrate. Between 1977 and 1980 he lectured at University of California, Berkeley, where he became friends with the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the school, as well as the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. He is currently a full professor at Yale University.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Arthur Miller

Duration: 45 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012