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
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
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.