Year of Graduation
Animal Stories by Ernest Thompson-Seton as a Part of Children Reading in the Soviet Union in the 1920-1930’s
Applied and Interdisciplinary History "Usable Pasts"
The current work explores the representation of animals in its connection to political discourse in the Soviet Union in the 1920’s and 30’s. I will start with an overview of historiography of relations between man and nature in the USSR and in particular will concentrate on Boris Groys’ understanding of socialism as struggle with nature. I will then suggest that this dynamics should be perceived in terms more complex than confrontation. By concentrating on children animalistic literature and debates around it during the first decades of the Soviet Union, I will claim that some of the core categories of subjectivity found its reflection in those texts. One such category, heroism, will become a subject of a more thorough analysis. In it, I will trace how the works of the Canadian animalist writer Ernest Seton Thompson were perceived in Russia. By close reading of both the original texts and the translation it will be shown how loaded were depictions of animals with political meaning.