The Anglo-Russian Research Network seeks to explore the influence of Russian and Soviet culture and politics in Britain in the period 1880-1950. Through an initial series of reading groups held on a termly basis at Pushkin House the network will convene discussions around key texts (translated from Russian or written in English) that mediate a vital cultural relationship–whether literary, aesthetic, linguistic, economic or political. All are welcome.
Topics covered will include:
– the translation and reception of Russian literature, film and visual art in Britain
– the role of Russian literature, culture and politics in the development of British modernism
– bolshevism and the British left
– the reporting and discussion of the Russian Revolution and Soviet Russia in the British press
– internationalism and Soviet Russia
– Britons in Russia / Russians in Britain
– the development of cold war attitudes and the ‘Iron Curtain’
For the purposes of the reading group, each meeting will focus on a text selected and introduced by a member of the network or an invited expert. On the one hand we will examine texts that emerged from Russia and were translated, including novels, films, political tracts and works of criticism. This might cover work by Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Eisenstein, Vertov, Gorky, Lenin and Trotsky, and would include consideration of the reception, translation and influence of these texts in Britain. On the other hand, we will discuss texts written in English but directly or indirectly formed by their engagement with Russian culture or politics. This might include the work of intellectuals who visited Russia and wrote about their experiences (such as Wells, Shaw, the Webbs, Keynes, Russell and Muggeridge), as well as texts by writers who never saw Russia, but nevertheless participated in its construction as an imaginary space.
We hope that the network will provide a context for developing future events and publications around this set of issues. Please let us know if you would be interested in participating in the reading group or being involved in some other way.
Rebecca Beasley (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Matthew Taunton (email@example.com)