How children’s books thrived under Stalin – Guardian review

Read this wonderful article by Philip Pullman in Saturday’s Guardian Review about early Soviet writers and designers of children’s books: How children’s books thrived under Stalin

Several years ago I went to an exhibition at Tate Modern in London about the Constructivists. One of the most fascinating things about that exhibition for me was how the art of the Futurists and Constructivists, which developed in the years leading up to the Revolution and which could easily have become a self-indulgent dead-end, was adapted for propaganda purposes. A lot of posters for example make use of their bold colour blocks and angular type.

As he points out in his article Philip Pullman on a new book called Inside the Rainbow: Russian Children’s Literature 1920-35: Beautiful Books, Terrible Times by Julian Rothenstein and Olga Budashevskaya, avant garde writers who found it impossible to get their work published or shown turned to children’s books as a way of surviving and earning a living. For a while at least, until the dead hand of the Stalinist regime tightened its grip, their art blossomed and survived in this enclave.

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