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Humanitarian sciences in Siberia

2021 year, number

WHAT CHILDRENS LITERATURE ABOUT SIBERIA SHOUD BE: DISCUSSIONS OF THE 1950S

N.N. Rodigina
Institute of History SB RAS, Novosibirsk, Russian Federation
Keywords: children’s literature of the 20th century, Siberian authors, image of Siberia, discussions about goals and themes of Soviet children’s literature

Abstract

In the article the author seeks to answer the following questions: 1) who determined what childrens authors should write about Siberia in the 1950s and what childrens literature should be like; 2) if there were discrepancies on this topic in the period from the late Stalinism to the Thaw; 3) what representations of the region were favorable for childrens authors, teachers, librarians and young readers themselves in these years. This article is written as a combination of history of childhood, history of childrens literature and historical imagology. Views on the work of Siberian childrens authors, their colleagues, teachers, journalists and librarians are analyzed within the framework of institutionalized approach. Unpublished protocols of meetings of childrens authors from Siberia that took place in September of 1953 and May 1958 that are kept in the State Archive of Novosibirsk region (GANO), publications of the newspaper Sovetskaya Sibir and the journal Sibirskie Ogni (1950-1958) about those meetings and about regional childrens literature, lists of recommended literature that were compiled by metropolitan and Siberian librarians are being used as sources for this article. The authov concludes that the Thaw tendencies in the Siberian childrens literature that barely appeared in the beginning of 1950s didnt developed by the end of the decade. Mainly the authors themselves (both local and metropolitan), librarians and sometimes members of pedagogical community took part in the discussions on topics what childrens authors should write about Siberia in the 1950s and what childrens literature should be like on the regional level. Representations of Siberia as a place of torment of people condemned to political exile, revolutionary events of the early 20th century, territories of heroic achievements of the postwar five-year plans and impactful Komsomol constructions, the land of emerging science cities, symbolic distant countries on the literary map of Soviet readers, decorations for bildungsroman, adventure stories and fantastic literature prevailed in childrens literature and in discussions about it.