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Literature

Literature

The literature collection includes Russian and Soviet fiction, poetry, drama, folklore and literary criticism from the 18th century to the present. The bulk of the collection is held in the loan collection and is of interest to general readers (see benefits of membership). Some rare copies are held in the archive.

The collection holds over 11,000 volumes, of which around 1,000 are in English. It covers the Russian classics, the greatest writers of the Soviet period and contemporary popular fiction. The full range of 19th-century classics is covered, including Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Chekhov. The Soviet collection includes, among others, Babel, Mayakovsky, Yesenin, Gorky, Platonov, Bulgakov, Ilf and Petrov, Sholokhov, Akhmatova, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Trifonov and Rybakov. Some Russian émigré writers are also represented, including Nabokov and Brodsky.

There is an extensive collection of foreign literature translated into Russian and other languages of the former Soviet Union, in particular British and American writers such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Agatha Christie, Jack London and Mark Twain. There is also a good selection of literature from the other republics of the former Soviet Union.

The collection also includes English translations of Russian and Soviet literature, and a range of literary criticism and literary history. The book collection is supplemented by a number of vinyl recordings of Soviet poets reading their own work, including Akhmatova and Yevtushenko.

Children's Literature

The children's literature collection is unique in the United Kingdom. It provides an unbroken history of Russian children's literature from the Soviet period through to the present day. It is of particular interest to specialists in Soviet children's literature.

In particular, the collection contains many treasures dating from the creativity of the early stages of the Soviet period. Children's literature was always regarded highly in the Soviet Union and many of its greatest writers, translators and illustrators were encouraged to participate in the development of a socialist children's literature. The collection includes stories, poems and information books written by such authors as Mayakovsky, Gaidar, Alexei Tolstoy, Chukovsky, Marshak and M Il'in, with illustrations by Lebedev, Annenkov, Charushin and a host of others. The quality of the artwork and book production is outstanding, often reflecting the latest developments in Soviet art and culture.

The collection holds some 800 titles which are predominantly in Russian. It is supplemented by reference titles and journals relating to the study of children's literature and education. The Cicely Osmond Collection in the photo library also provides a rich visual resource on Soviet education in the 1920s-70s.

Selected Titles

Pudel' (Samuil Marshak, illustrated by V Lebedev, Pechatnyi Dvor, Leningrad, 1931)
Moydodyr (Kornei Chukovsky, illustrated by Yuri Annenkov, Izdatel'stvo Detskoy Literatury, Leningrad, 1936)
Chto takoye khorosho i chto takoye plokho (Vladimir Mayakovsky, Gosudarstvennoye Izdatel'stvo Detskoy Literatury, Moscow-Leningrad, 1943)
Do You Know? (M Ilyin & E Segal, illustrated by D Borovsky et al, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1957)


 

Anton Chekhov with his dogs at his cottage in Yalta, 1903 (SCRSS Photo Library)

 

Related Links

Cicely Osmond Collection

 

Cover of Samuil Marshak's children's book Pochta, 1932 (SCRSS Library)

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