1st Edition

Historical and Cultural Transformations of Russian Childhood Myths and Realities

    304 Pages 29 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Historical and Cultural Transformations of Russian Childhood is a collection of multidisciplinary scholarly essays on childhood experience. The volume offers new critical approaches to Russian and Soviet childhood at the intersection of philosophy, literary criticism, film/visual studies, and history. Pedagogical ideas and practices, and the ideological and political underpinnings of the experience of growing up in pre-revolutionary Russia, the Soviet Union, and Putin’s contemporary Russia are central venues of analysis. Toward the goal of constructing the "multimedial childhood text," the contributors tackle issues of happiness and trauma associated with childhood and foreground its fluidity and instability in the Russian context. The volume further examines practices of reading childhood: as nostalgic text, documentary evidence, and historic mythology. Considering Russian childhood as historical documentation or fictional narrative, as an object of material culture, and as embodied in different media (periodicals, visual culture, and cinema), the volume intends to both problematize but also elucidate the relationship between childhood, history, and various modes of narrativity.

    Introduction: The World of Russian Childhood, Larissa Rudova

    Part I Myths and Realities of Russian Childhood

    1. Mikhail N. Epstein

    Childhood and the Myth of Harmony

    2. Svetlana Maslinskaya

    From the Child’s Point of View: The Observer in Children’s Literature of the 1920s and 1930s.

    3. Marina Balina

    Second-Generation Memory and Émigré Children’s Periodicals: Constructing a Russian Childhood


    Part II Revolutionary Changes

    4. Helena Goscilo

    From Double-Voiced to Univocal: Devious, Desirous, and Declarative Childhoods in Soviet Posters

    5. Anastasia Kostetskaya

    The Child Who Carries Weapons: The Making of a Revolutionary through Play in Valentin Kataev’s A White Sail Gleams and its Screen Versions

    6. Maria Mayofis

    The Late-Soviet Episteme of Childhood and Its Divergent Manifestations: Aleksandr Asarkan and Aleksandr Sharov


    Part III Narratives of Trauma

    7. Birgitte Beck Pristed

    Social Space and Self-Made Seriality: The Wall Newspaper of an Evacuee School, 1942–43

    8. Sergei Alex. Oushakine

    Podranki: War Childhood Revisited

    9. Sara Pankenier Weld

    Childhood and Temporality in Svetlana Alexievich’s "Chronicle of the Future"


    Part IV Shifting Paradigms of Russian Childhood

    10. Elena Prokhorova and Alexander Prokhorov

    Genre Constructions of Childhood in Recent Russian TV Series: Gender, Ethnicity, Agency

    11. Matthias Schwartz

    Generation Nothing and Beyond: Childhood and Youth in Contemporary Russian Literature

    12. Ilya Kukulin

    A Military Upbringing: The Politics of Childhood, Adolescent Social Activity, and Cultural Representations in Russia in the 2010s–2020s


    Marina Balina is Isaac Funk Professor Emerita and Professor of Russian Studies at Illinois Wesleyan University. Her scholarship focuses on historical and theoretical aspects of twentieth-century Russian children’s literature. She is the author of numerous articles in English, German, and Russian. She served as editor and co-editor of 12 volumes, most recently Hans Christian Andersen and Russia (2020) and The Pedagogy of Images: Depicting Communism for Children (2021).

    Larissa Rudova is Yale B. and Lucille D. Griffith Professor in Modern Languages and Professor of German and Russian at Pomona College. She is the author of two monographs, Pasternak’s Short Fiction and the Cultural Vanguard (1994) and Understanding Boris Pasternak (1997). She has co-edited a volume of scholarly articles, Russian Children’s Literature and Culture (2008), as well as three thematic journal clusters on children’s and young adult literature and culture.

    Anastasia Kostetskaya is an Associate Professor of Russian at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She holds a PhD in Theory of Language from Volgograd State Pedagogical University and another PhD in Russian Literature and Culture from Ohio State University. She is the author of□ Russian Symbolism in Search of Transcendental Liquescence: Iconizing Emotion by Blending Time, Media, and the Senses (2019).