Russian émigrés on paper : a new exhibition online and in the Library’s Entrance Hall

A new exhibition of Russian literary publications featuring handwritten dedications has opened today in the Library’s entrance hall and online.  Out of the shadows : post-1917 Russian emigration rediscovered has been curated by Vera Tsareva-Brauner of the University’s Slavonic Studies Section.  Vera found the first of the dedications while researching Nobel laureate Ivan Bunin, an unearthing which led to the five other inscriptions being brought to light again.  It is wonderful to be able to celebrate these re-discovered treasures.

The six dedications (three by Bunin, one by Teffi, two by Tolstoi)

The exhibition marks the centenary of the start of the Russian Exodus. Following the revolutions of 1917, as many as three million people fled their native land, among them many of the best representatives of early 20th-century Russian culture. Most of the émigrés, including the writers Ivan Bunin, Aleksei Tolstoi and Nadezhda Teffi fled to Western Europe, where their determination to preserve their cultural heritage saw the effective creation of a Russia Abroad. The books which feature in the physical and online exhibition and which have never been shown before have original autographs by Bunin, Teffi, and Tolstoi.

The books will be on display in the Entrance Hall until 30 November 2018.  The permanent online exhibition can be accessed here:  https://exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/outoftheshadows/

Vera Tsareva-Brauner and Mel Bach

 

Wrangel in ink : the October 2018 Slavonic item of the month

The Revolution exhibits

The final items have recently been added to the Revolution : The First Bolshevik Year online exhibition.  I am extremely grateful to the students and librarians who provided many of the captions.  Amongst the latest additions is a book which contains a written dedication by the White commander Petr Vrangel’ (commonly Wrangel) – a fascinating re-discovery.

from ‘Russkie v Gallipoli’

Глубокоуважаемому Николаю Николаевичу Шебеко – повесть о крестном пути тех, кто вынес на чужбину и верно хранит национальное русское знамя. Ген. Врангель

To the esteemed Nikolai Nikolaevich Shebeko – a tale about the via dolorosa of those who brought out to a foreign land and faithfully preserve the national Russian flag. Gen. Wrangel

Shebeko had served as a diplomat under the tsar and fought with the Whites.  By the time this book, on the Russians in Gallipoli, had been published in Berlin in 1923, Shebeko had settled in France.  Wrangel had led the southern White forces and remained a hugely significant figure in emigration.  He eventually moved to Belgium, via Yugoslavia where he founded ROVS, the Russian All-Military Union which served to unite émigré officers and soldiers and which attracted a great deal of Soviet state interest.  Soviet involvement was certainly suspected in Wrangel’s death in Belgium in 1928 at the age of 49.

Wrangel’s writing proved quite a challenge to decipher, certainly for me.  Sincere thanks go to Richard Davies of the Leeds Russian Archive who provided a transcription with little apparent effort and much-appreciated speed.

A higher-resolution image of the dedication can be found here: https://exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/revolutionthefirstbolshevikyear/artifacts/a-trace-of-wrangel/

Mel Bach

Lost and found : two September 2018 Slavonic items of the month

Last week, two 19th-century Russian books were brought to me by a Rare Books colleague who had found by chance that they had no record in the online catalogue. An invisible title is a librarian’s (and reader’s) nightmare – without catalogue records, we may as well be without books.  Now that these two volumes, lost to readers (except those still dipping into the old physical guard book catalogues) for decades, have been found, I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate them in a blog post.

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New electronic resources with a European connection

The ejournals@cambridge blog publicises trial access to and purchase of various databases and ejournals, and it is certainly a blog worth following.  Several purchases over the last few months complement our European collections, so this post gives an overview.  The subjects of these new resources span philology, politics, art history, theology, migration studies, history, and bibliography, and their contents are in English and various European languages.

Composite of samples of ephemera from the Euromaidan Protests database

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Which book and whose uncle? : the May 2018 Slavonic item of the month

A recent addition to the Library’s online Revolution exhibition is a book about the controversial White General Lavr Kornilov who was killed in 1918.  Having identified it in the catalogue by searching for Kornilov, I strangely couldn’t find the record when I later searched by its author.  Our catalogue record, it transpired, was for the wrong book…

The six exhibits for the April 1918 part of the exhibition; the Kornilov book is top left.

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