African-American literature in the Soviet Union, 1917–1930s
Contacts, translations, criticism and editorial policy
in The Red and the Black
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

The chapter explores the policy and guidelines for the translation and publishing of African-American literature in Soviet Russia from 1917 up to the beginning of the Russian–German war in 1941, as well as of the basis for establishing and maintaining contacts with African-American writers. It examines the drastic difference between the revolutionary period of 1917–19, the 1920s (New Economic Policy) and the Stalinist 1930s. The key issues that allow us to see the logic of the change are: the choice of the authors and their works for translation and publishing, the bias of literary criticism, the dynamics of black writers’ literary reputation in the USSR, the activity of Soviet translators and publishers, periodicals specialising in African-American literature, Soviet and international literary institutions (like the International Union of Revolutionary Writers), writers’ associations and organisations of the 1920s, the Union of Soviet Writers. Special attention is paid to black visitors, including major figures like Claude McKay and Langston Hughes, and black residents of the USSR, their essays, articles, travel books about Soviet Russia, and the reception of these works in the Soviet Union, as well as to the correspondence between black writers and Soviet institutions, critics, editors and translators.

The Red and the Black

The Russian Revolution and the Black Atlantic