Earlier this week, Vera Tsareva-Brauner gave a talk at the University Library about Ivan Bunin and other Russian émigré literary figures, and this blog post looks at a couple of recent arrivals to the UL about the émigré Russian world.
The Russian Revolutions of 1917 and the ensuing Civil War saw the departure from Russia of many hundreds of thousands of people, many significant intellectual figures among them. The Revolution-related exodus is commonly named the First (or White) Wave. The Second Wave followed World War 2 and the Third Wave took place in the later decades of the Soviet period.
In 1995, the Dom russkogo zarubezhʹia imeni Aleksandra Solzhenitsyna (the Alexander Solzhenitsyn House of Russia Abroad) opened in Moscow. One of the House’s activities is the publication of various research titles and source material about the various Soviet emigration waves. An advanced search in iDiscover for the keywords Dom russkogo zarubezhʹia Solzhenitsyna in the publisher field brings up, at the time of writing, 14 results. Among these, the newest arrival is 1917 god v istorii i sudʹbe rossiĭskogo zarubezhʹi︠a︡ (1917 in the history and fate of Russian émigrés; C215.c.2825), a set of papers from a conference held in 2017. The book’s cover, featuring a detail from Konstantin Iuon’s stunning Novaia planeta painting (which also provided the cover image for the Royal Academy’s Revolution exhibition catalogue), is shown here. The conference papers are divided into three sections:
- 1916 and Russian émigrés : politics, ideology, culture : historical significance and everyday practices
- The intellectual contribution of Russian émigrés to cultural progress (“развитие цивилизационного процесса”)
- The genealogy of memory : family histories, museums, archives, cemeteries of Russian émigrés
Last autumn, the University Library exhibited several books signed by major Russian authors such as Ivan Bunin. Vera Tsareva-Brauner, of the University’s Slavonic Section, who found the autographs, will talk about her extraordinary discoveries on 28 May at 5pm in the Library. The talk is open to all.
A recent Russian arrival to the University Library takes as its subject tourism in the Soviet Union. Skvoz “zheleznyi zanaves” : See USSR! : inostrannye turisty i prizrak potemkinskikh derevenʹ (Through the Iron Curtain : See USSR! : foreign tourists and the spectre of Potemkin villages; C215.c.1563) is by Igor’ Orlov and Aleksei Popov. Visitors to the Soviet Union normally saw the country in carefully choreographed tours arranged by the state agency Intourist. Such control made sure that the tourists saw strictly what they were meant to see, hence the mention in the book’s titles of Potemkin villages – shorthand for ensuring that appearances support the desired narrative (the term comes from Catherine the Great’s favourite, Potemkin, pulling the wool over her eyes by assembling fake village fronts during a tour).
As I write and you read the 72nd Slavonic item of the month piece, it can seem that some things will never end. This post, however, looks at the satisfying task of bibliographic closure, with several Slavonic book sets recently completed following the receipt of their final volumes.
Letopisʹ zhizni i tvorchestva N.V. Gogoli︠a︡ (Chronicle of the life and work of N.V. Gogol’) came out over the course of 2017-2018 in 7 volumes. Detailed life chronicles of major figures have always been quite major business in East European publishing, and this lengthy record is a good addition to our literary collections. It is also an eye-catching addition, as the photos show; the cover colour of each volume is even reflected internally in the ink.
The centenary this month of the start of the Soviet-Polish war of 1919-1920 provides good grounds for a post about the University Library’s Polish history holdings.