Spring 1980 • Vol. II No. 2 NonfictionApril 1, 1980 |

From “The Oak and the Calf”: Memoirs of a Literary Life

The Wounded Beast A series of coincidences, and not deliberate planning on my part, made November 1966 a very hectic month for me. There are such extraordinary periods in everyone's life, when a variety of external forces unexpectedly come into play at the same time. It was only this interplay of forces, when I was already in its grip, that taught me to conduct myself as provocatively as I could, throwing off all voluntary restraints. I had previously declined to make public appearances? Very well; I would now accept all invitations. I had always refused to grant interviews? Very well; I would now see anybody and everybody. Because I had nothing to lose. They could not possibly think any worse of me than they already did. I had not been the first to disturb my sleeping archives, to dislodge them from their peaceful niche: the KGB had clawed them out.1 But even the KGB had no insight into the hidden meaning of things, the secret springs of events. The KGB and I were only

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