ANGLO-RUSSIAN RESEARCH NETWORK: AUTUMN READING GROUP: THE SOVIET UNION IN BRITISH CHILDREN’S LITERATURE OF THE 1930S AND 40S

The autumn reading group of the Anglo-Russian Research Network will be led by Kimberley Reynolds, Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University. All are welcome.

tl_files/images/events/2013/October/K Reynolds photo.jpg Professor Reynolds writes: ‘the material to be discussed is based on a chapter I am writing for a book about the radical children’s books of the early twentieth century that do not feature in established histories of children’s literature. This chapter looks at representations of the Soviet Union in children’s books published in the 1930s and 1940s in the UK. The chapter will also cover books from the USSR that were published here in translation, but I have not included any of these in the extracts for discussion. Most of the works I discuss are forms of travel writing in that the children in them move between different cities, resorts and regions and give their impressions of the people and projects they see. My interest, and where I will particularly appreciate guidance from the group, is in the way the Soviet experiment was being presented to British children.’

The following extracts will be discussed and copies are available in advance from Matthew Taunton (details below):

  • Draft of Kimberley’s chapter on children’s books about the Soviet Union published in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s.
  • Extract from Geoffrey Trease, Red Comet: a Tale of Travel in the U.S.S.R. (1936): chapter 6, ‘A New Kind of Park’
  • Extracts from Marjorie Fischer, Palaces on Monday (1937): chapters 6 ‘Upside Down’, 7 ‘And the Moral of That is’, and 9 ‘Black Boy on the Volga’
  • Extract from Pearl Binder, Russian Families (1942): start from bottom of page 47 ‘Mamma Pavlova’

Kimberley Reynolds is Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University. She has lectured and published widely on children’s literature, most recently in the form of an audio book, Children’s Literature between the Covers (Modern Scholar, 2011) and the volume on Children’s Literature in the Oxford University series of Very Short Introductions (2011).She currently holds a Major Leverhulme Fellowship to research ‘Modernism, the Left and Progressive Publishing for Children, 1910 – 1949’. She is the 2013 recipient of the International Brothers Grimm Award.

Entry is free and all are welcome, but it would be helpful if you could let Rebecca Beasley ( rebecca.beasley@ell.ox.ac.uk ) and/orMatthew Taunton ( M.Taunton@uea.ac.uk ) know if you plan to attend. The discussion will finish at 7, and anyone available is very welcome to join us for dinner nearby.

The Anglo-Russian Research Network organises termly reading groups for people interested in the interactions between British and Russian culture and politics in the period 1880-1950. They are informal events with plenty of discussion and wine. More details of this and the previous reading groups, including podcasts of the last three, are available online HERE.

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