In this text, Vishevsky writes about the popular culture of the Soviet intellectual during the years of post-Stalinist thaw. Hope and faith were in short supply among Soviet liberals by the late 1960s, and irony was the direct product of disillusion and despair over the apparent abandonment of the promising post-thaw ideals and values. This period that ended with the beginning of perestroika and glasnost , Vishevsky believes, was the incubator of many processes now prevalent in the country's literature and culture. Although censorship kept this ironic worldview off the main stage of Soviet literature, it surfaced in peripheral forms - stand-up comedy, songs of the bards , short stories in periodicals and newspapers, radio and TV shows, local cinematography and regional literature. A major part of this book is devoted to the ironic stories that appeared in the late 1960s and 1970s in Soviet humour periodicals and in the humour pages of newspapers and magazines. These stories, each three to ten typed pages, were presumably tolerated by the Soviet authorities because of their brevity and their often unassuming placement in the back pages of magazines. Vishevsky's book includes an anthology of such stories, appearing here for the first time in English, several by Aksyonov, Bitov and the author himself.