Join us for a roundtable discussion with the editors of and contributors to a new collection of essays, Russia in Britain, 1880-1940: From Melodrama to Modernism (Oxford University Press, 2013).Russia in Britain offers the first comprehensive account of the breadth and depth of the British fascination with Russian and Soviet culture, tracing its transformative effect on British intellectual life from the 1880s, the decade which saw the first sustained interest in Russian literature, to 1940, the eve of the Soviet Union’s entry into the Second World War.
By focusing on the role played by institutions, disciplines and groups—libraries, periodicals, government agencies, concert halls, publishing houses, theatres, and film societies—this collection marks an important departure from standard literary critical narratives, which have tended to highlight the role of a small number of individuals, notably Sergey Diaghilev, Constance Garnett, Fedor Komissarzhevsky, Katherine Mansfield, George Bernard Shaw and Virginia Woolf.
Drawing on recent research and newly available archives, Russia in Britain shifts attention from individual figures to the networks within which they operated, and uncovers the variety of forces that enabled and structured the British engagement with Russian culture. The resulting narrative maps an intricate pattern of interdisciplinary relations and provides the foundational research for a new understanding of Anglo-Russian/Soviet interaction. In this, it makes a major contribution to the current debates about transnationalism, cosmopolitanism and ‘global modernisms’ that are reshaping our knowledge of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British culture.
Rebecca Beasley is Tutorial Fellow in English at The Queen’s College, Oxford, and University Lecturer in English at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Ezra Pound and the Visual Culture of Modernism (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and Theorists of Modernist Poetry (Routledge, 2007), and is currently working on a book-length study of the impact of Russian culture on British literary modernism. She has also published essays on modernism and translation, the British ‘intelligentsia’, and the history of comparative literature. With Philip Ross Bullock she is the editor of Translating Russia, 1890–1935 , a special issue of Translation and Literature (2011), and Russia in Britain (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Philip Ross Bullock is Fellow and Tutor in Russian at Wadham College, Oxford, and University Lecturer in Russian at the University of Oxford. The author of The Feminine in the Prose of Andrey Platonov (Legenda, 2005), and Rosa Newmarch and Russian Music in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century England (Royal Musical Association Monographs/ Ashgate, 2009), he has most recently edited and translated The Correspondence of Jean Sibelius and Rosa Newmarch, 1906–1939 (Boydell, 2011). With Rebecca Beasley he is the editor of Translating Russia, 1890–1935 , a special issue of Translation and Literature (2011), and Russia in Britain (Oxford University Press, 2013).
Matthew Taunton is Lecturer in English in the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of Fictions of the City: Class, Culture and Mass Housing in London and Paris (Palgrave, 2009), and numerous articles and book chapters on twentieth-century British literature and culture. His present research project explores the cultural resonances of the Russian Revolution (in its various
stages) in Britain, and he is one of the contributors to Russia in Britain (Oxford University Press, 2013).