For composer Dmitri Shostakovich and writer Vasily Grossman, the experience of making art in Stalinist Russia was fraught, hazardous, and privileged—not to mention emotionally, politically, and artistically complex. The art they made, at times officially lauded and other times suppressed, resists easy categorization. How can we understand the position of the artist in Soviet Russia, particularly during the period between the Revolution and the final destruction of Nazi Germany? How can we understand the art Shostakovich and Grossman produced? Is it celebratory, dissident, or ambivalent—and why does it matter? In Ambivalence and Revolution, participants explore and discuss the music of Shostakovich and the novels of Grossman, as well as the conditions in which they were made.