An Ecology of the Russian Avant-Garde Picturebook takes a new approach to interpreting 1920s and 1930s picturebooks by prominent Russian writers, artists, and intellectuals by examining them within the ecological environment that, first, made them possible and, then, led to their demise. It argues that naturalistic models of the complex interactions of dynamic systems offer effective tools for understanding the fraught interrelations of art and censorship in the early Soviet period. Through illustrative case studies, it mounts a close analysis of word and image and their synergistic interplay in avant-garde picturebooks, while also recontextualizing them within the ecology of their original environment where extraordinary countervailing forces played out a drama of which these books survive as telling artifacts. Ultimately, it argues that the Russian avant-garde picturebook offers a uniquely illustrative example of literary ecology that sheds light on issues of creativity and censorship, politics and art, more broadly as well.
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.
The Fine Feats of the Five Cockerels Gang is a Marxist-Surrealist Yugoslav epic poem for children accompanied by wild photocollage illustrations. This extraordinary artistic achievement manages to dazzle simultaneously as a daringly experimental work and an exciting, action-packed adventure story.