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kleinbl00  ·  294 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Playing Soviet: The Visual Languages of Early Soviet Children's Books, 1917-1953

    n 1925 Leningrad’s Brockhaus-Efron published 10,000 copies of Bolshevik Tom, a 10-page booklet of children’s verses by Nadezhda Pavlovich, accompanied by Boris Kustodiev’s seventeen black-and-white drawings. As all adult Soviet readers doubtless realized, Pavlovich pilfered Tom’s escapades from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) without any acknowledgment, but inflected them ideologically in addition to dramatically altering Twain’s ending. Her goal was to deliver a political salvo against the harmful effects on children’s upbringing of an affluently indolent United States while promoting the Soviet Union as a haven for youth and, more broadly, as a land of happy, bustling unanimity. Belonging to the prolific genre of Bad Boy literature, Twain’s internationally renowned, repeatedly illustrated novel narrates in an ironic key the hooliganish activities of its juvenile protagonist, eventually transforming the inventive, irrepressible ne’er-do-well into a more sober near-adult suddenly in possession of capital. Resurfacing in several sequels, here Tom possesses the traditional appeal of the rebellious adolescent endowed with spunk and imagination who skillfully outwits adults, including the seemingly strict but affectionate aunt who rears him.