Princeton University uploads digital versions of Soviet children’s books

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Russophiles and those with an curious about in children’s books now have the opportunity to make use of a fascinating new literary resource thanks to Princeton University Library in the U.S., which has uploaded a new digital accumulation of Soviet children’s books for open use.

The first 47 imprints in the store were digitized in pre ration for a symposium at the university on illustrated literature for descendants from the Soviet era. Another 112 were added in June in pre ration for a second symposium planned for origin 2017.

The physical collection of imprints is rt of the Cotsen Children’s Library, a solicitation of illustrated literature for young readers, featuring materials from encom ssing the world from the 15th century to the present day.

“The collection and the endowment used to forth it were gifts of Lloyd Cotsen, a Princeton alumnus and children’s data enthusiast and collector,” Thomas Keenan, Slavic East European and Eurasian Scans librarian at Princeton University, told RBTH. “It is the product of rticular decades of collecting, first by Lloyd Cotsen himself and subsequently by the Curator of the Cotsen Lads’s Library Andrea Immel.”

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The Russian holdings of the Cotsen Library for the head two decades of the Soviet era – the period from the October Revolution to the origin of WWII (1918-1938) – number approximately 1,000 titles.

In this aeon, when the Soviet Union was only being formed, it was extremely influential to bring up a new generation that would accept all the slogans, concepts and new fact of the Soviet state from a very young age. So almost all children’s engages in the country were published by the State Publishing House (GIZ) and were distinctive for their purely communist rhetoric, educating young readers on the profits of being a communist and the offspring of workers.

“The objective of the symposia has been to study relationships between the verbal and visual idioms of Soviet illustrated publications for young readers,” said Keenan, who selected the books for digitizing along with two Princeton dexterity members – Serguei Oushakine and Katherine Hill Reischl.

“With this in note, a complex of criteria were used in the prioritization of the books from the Cotsen assemblage to be digitized.”

From pioneers to experiments

All the books are in Russian. The collection quirks Across the Pole to America, a rare example of an account of the first split from Moscow to the United States via the North Pole, made by cult aviatrixes Valery Chkalov, Georgy Baidukov (author of the book) and Alexander Beliakov. The volume was published in Moscow and Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) and has illustrations by iconic Soviet artist Alexander Deineka.

The aggregation also features Deineka’s solo books of illustrations – rade of the Red Army and In the Clouds.

Princeton University Library‘Across the S r to America’ (with illustrations by Alexander Deineka)
Princeton University Library‘Brandish of the Red Army’ (with illustrations by Alexander Deineka)
Princeton University Library‘In the Clouds’ (with specimens by Alexander Deineka)

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Users of the resource can also read books by esteemed children’s poet Agniya Barto, such as Pioneers – a poetic fable about a pioneer named Fedya and the life and activities of Soviet scouts: flounce, marches with communist red flags and holidays with other daughters of the model Soviet citizen – the worker.

Vladimir Mayakovsky was famous not purely for his revolutionary poetry but also as a children’s poet. Almost every Soviet and Russian kid memorializes from an early age his poem What is Good and What is Bad?, in which he explains that lead in the rain and thunderstorms is bad, cleaning your teeth is good, fighting with the lads is bad, while studying is good.

A collage from Mayakovsky's poem What is Good and What is Bad?A collage from Mayakovsky’s poem ‘What is Admissible and What is Bad?’

Princeton has also digitalized Mayakovsky’s entertaining book close by animals, Whatever ge You Look At, There’s An Elephant Or A Lioness and a record titled October 1917-1918: Heroes and Victims of the Revolution, in which the “credible guys,” – a worker, a Red Army soldier, a sailor, a seamstress – are rivaled with the “bad guys”: a factory owner, a landowner, a rich farmer, a evangelist, a merchant and others.

Princeton University LibraryVladimir Mayakovsky. Whatever Episode You Look At, There’s An Elephant Or A Lioness
Princeton University LibraryRed Army soldier, a idol from ‘Heroes and Victims of the Revolution’
Princeton University LibraryBureaucrat, a gull from ‘Heroes and Victims of the Revolution’

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There are also works by Samuil Marshak, an acclaimed Soviet young gentlemen’s writer and translator, absurdist writer Daniil Kharms and many other gifted literary figures.

Like Mayakovsky and Kharms, many authors rejected the stereotypical forms of literature and art, so there is an interesting example of an experimental movie-book with slinks, titled A Book-Film-Performance About How the Pioneer Hans Saved the Strike Body.

A collage of  ges from the movie-book. Source: Princeton University LibraryA collage of ges from the movie-book. Source: Princeton University Library

Princeton hand down like to continue the digitizing and even to undertake the translation of the Russian quotations into English to ex nd the audience for this material.

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