‘“Awakening noble feelings with my lyre”: Writers as “masters of minds”’ examines, via examples of Pushkin's work, his views on the expectations of readers and their perceptions of the purposes of literature. How did factionalism emerge within literary society, and how did this promote Pushkin's public image as a ‘master of minds’? How did art and politics impact on each other at this time? How did ideology and fiction clash, and how did different writers attempt to resolve these conflicts? The poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva and Mayakovsky, and others, is discussed. The impact of Socialist Realism on literature is assessed.