Reading Group at Pushkin House, Friday 19th June, 5.30pm: Anna Vaninskaya on Russian Foreign Correspondents in Edwardian Britain

The Anglo-Russian Research Network will be holding its summer reading group at 5:30 on Friday 19 June at Pushkin House, Bloomsbury. We will be reading and discussing how a group of Russian press correspondents shaped Russian conceptions of Britain in the early twentieth century. The discussion will be led by Dr Anna Vaninskaya of the University of Edinburgh. The readings can be downloaded from this link (password required).

Few casual or professional observers of Russian media coverage of Britain today stop to reflect on its centuries-old history.  But long before the internet, television and radio, the Russian periodical press supplied a running commentary on contemporary British developments and offered different versions of Britain for the consumption of general audiences.  In the early twentieth century, London was home to a community of Russian foreign correspondents who fed the curiosity of the public back home, reinforced national prejudices and stereotypes, but also composed accounts that are interesting in their own right as social documents of Edwardian Britain.  Among their number one finds immediately recognisable figures such as Korney Chukovsky and Samuil Marshak, as well as people now entirely forgotten, but at the time acknowledged to be the leading architects of the Russian perception of Britain.  The session will focus on selections from the voluminous correspondences of Dioneo (Isaak Shklovsky) and Semyon Rapoport, newly translated into English as part of a project to bring these rare but fascinating historical sources to Anglophone readers.  In line with the current media focus on the SNP and the effects of austerity, the chosen excerpts will deal with Scotland and the London working class – from a 1900s Russian point of view.  Background material will also be provided.

If you plan to attend, it would be helpful if you could let Rebecca Beasley (rebecca.beasley@ell.ox.ac.uk) and/ or Matthew Taunton (M.Taunton@uea.ac.uk) know. The discussion will finish at 7, and anyone available is very welcome to join us for dinner nearby.