Inside the Rainbow, Russian Children’s Literature 1920-1935: Beautiful books, terrible times

 

INSIDE THE RAINBOW reprints for the first time in English a unique compendium of Soviet picture books from the 1920 and 1930s – a highpoint in the history of children’s literature. In the dark and dangerous world of revolutionary Petrograd, a group of Russian poets and artists, among the greatest of the century, came together to create a new kind of book for children about to enter a Brave New World. These artists and writers dreamed of endless possibilities in a new world where children and grown-ups alike would be free from the bitterness of ignorance. For a time, when children’s publications still escaped the scourge of state censorship, their books became a last haven for learning, poetic irony, burlesque and laughter.

In this book 250 brilliant examples of illustration and design are complemented by some wonderful translations of poems and stories as well as texts from the victims, criminals and witnesses to the Russian revolution.

                                       

Edited by Julian Rothenstein and Olga Budashevskaya with a foreword by Philip Pullman and an essay by Arkady Ippolitov of The State Hermitage Museum, St.Petersburg

What a treasury! The world of Russian children’s illustrated books in the first twenty years or so of Soviet rule is almost incomparably rich. What were they doing, these commissars and party secretaries, to allow this wonderland of modern art to grow under their very noses? I expect the rule that applies to children’s books was just as deeply interiorised in the Soviet Union as it has been in the rest of the world: they don’t matter. They can be ignored. They’re not serious.

But if we didn’t know it already, we can see from the evidence so splendidly spread out in these pages that children’s books are capable of astonishing beauty and an almost unparalleled range of expressive design.

FROM THE FOREWORD BY PHILIP PULLMAN

Find the book at theredstoneshop.com

Maria Papaefstathiou

VISUAL DESIGNER since 1996 and blogger since 2010. Living in Athens, Greece. She has been focusing her research on poster design and particularly on social poster design and portrait design. Her main poster project is a series of posters celebrating great personalities of traditional and popular culture in Greece and Jamaica. These include actors, singers, musicians, poets etc. This is an ongoing project. “I believe that design is a powerful tool that we designers can use to spark enthusiasm, change mindsets and bring positive actions to our world and our culture”. FOUNDER AND EDITOR OF GRAPHICART-NEWS.COM BLOG. She carefully curates high-quality designs, illustrations, and art, from all over the world that will teach and provoke other designers. Many consider her blog to be an exceptional educational tool. CO-FOUNDER OF THE INTERNATIONAL REGGAE POSTER CONTEST which was launched on December 2011, partnering, the creative activist Michael Thompson aka Freestylee. (www.reggaepostercontest.com)

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