‘Dobraia Staraia Angliia’ in Russian Perception: Literary Representations of Englishness in Translated Children's Literature in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
Embargo required to allow publication of papers to be based on research presented in this thesis
This thesis explores Englishness and its representation in translated children’s literature in Russia during the Soviet period (from 1917 until 1991) and the post-Soviet period (from 1992 until 2015). It focuses on Russian translations of English children’s classics published between the late-Victorian period and the Second World War. It studies how Russian translations of English children’s literature construct literary portrayals of Englishness in varied socio-cultural and historical contexts. It investigates the complex processes involved in re-creating national specificities of English literary texts in Russian culture. The Anglo-centric essence of Englishness – or ‘dobraia staraia Angliia’ [good old England] – is expressed to a greater degree in the classics of English children’s literature. It is this particular idealised Englishness that is represented in the Russian translations. This thesis demonstrates that various manifestations of Englishness are modified in Russian translations and that the degree of modification varies according to changes in the political climate in Russia. A significant role is played by ideology – of a prevailing political nature during in the Soviet Union and a commercial ideology in post-Soviet Russia. The first chapter lays the theoretical foundation for the whole thesis and outlines the methodology adopted. Chapters 2 and 3 set out the contextual background for understanding Englishness by focusing on the question of Englishness perceived from English and Russian perspectives, and discussing the main tendencies of representing Englishness in both cultures. Chapter 4 presents the historical background by highlighting the political and cultural circumstances in which Russian translations were made. The second half of the thesis (chapters five, six and seven) focuses on the analysis of the representation of Englishness in Russian translations. Chapter 5 discusses which English children’s books, published between the late-Victorian period and the Second World War, were selected for translation and at what point between 1918 and 2015. Chapters 6 and 7 present the case studies in this thesis. These provide an analysis of how different manifestations of Englishness were translated and, taking into account the Soviet and post-Soviet historical contexts, examine why they were translated in certain ways.
Arts and Humanities Research Council
PhD in Russian