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Censorship and translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union

The example of the Wizards Oz and Goodwin
Judith A. Inggs

University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

The study of translation and censorship is of particular interest in the context of Russia and the Soviet Union. With the aim of stimulating further discussion, particularly in relation to recent developments in the sociology of translation, this article takes the example of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz (1900) and its adaptation by Alexander Volkov as The Wizard of the Emerald City (Volshebnik izumrudnogo goroda) (1939) in order to explore the relationship between the multiple forces at work in the translation of children’s literature under conditions of censorship. By means of an analysis of the differences between the two texts I conclude that censorship is a complex phenomenon which provides fertile ground for the creative manipulation and appropriation of texts and can be considered as an active participant in the creation of an image of a foreign body of literature and its location in a particular literary field. Keywords: translation, censorship, children’s literature, Soviet literature, Bourdieu, sociology of translation



The traditional importance of foreign literature in Russia and the Soviet Union combined with the crucial role played by ideology in the production of literature means that the study of translation and censorship is of particular interest in that context. It is therefore surprising that it has not been the object of more scholarly research in the West, although there has been further interest recently (for example, Sherry 2010). With the aim of stimulating further discussion, particularly in relation to recent developments in the sociology of translation,1 this article takes the example of L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz (1900) and its adaptation by Alexander Volkov as The Wizard of the Emerald City (Volshebnik izumrudnogo
Target 23:1 (2011), 77–91. doi 10.1075/target.23.1.05ing issn 0924–1884 / e-issn 1569–9986 © John Benjamins Publishing Company

In doing this. Plamper does move away slightly from the traditional view to suggest that censorship is “no more and no less than one of the forces shaping cultural circulation” (2001: 527). a Soviet mathematician and professor. writers. publishers. Volkov’s adaptation did not acknowledge Baum in any way. As the notions of field and habitus are intertwined. which was published in 1939. and censors operating in the literary — and other — fields may be regarded as shaped by the various political. Volkov. and Jean-Marc Gouanvic’s insightful article A Bourdieusian Theory of Translation in which he highlights “points of convergence between the reflections of the sociologist and questions of translation” (Gouanvic 2005: 147). but I believe that it also needs to be considered as an active participant in the creation of an image of a foreign body of literature and its location in a particular literary field.2 resulting in him rewriting the story in the form of a Russian ‘version’. and the determinant factors of the target fields as the site of reception of the translation. not least because he had no legal obligation to do so. There is an uncorroborated report that Volkov’s translation was rejected by the Soviet censors. completed a translation of The Wizard of Oz. Social fields include fields such as literary systems and institutions. field and capital with the centrepiece being “the two-way relationship between objective structures (those of social fields) and incorporated structures (those of the habitus)” (Bourdieu 1998: vii). when publishing was controlled by the state and all private publishing houses had been banned. whereas the habitus is a set of “generating principles of distinct and distinctive practices” (1998: 8) which cause social agents to behave in particular ways. etc. the practices of translators. as the USSR only . I do not accept the traditionally held view on Russian censorship described by Jan Plamper as “the repression of the inherently and essentially free word” (Plamper 2001: 526) but proceed from the standpoint that censorship is a complex phenomenon which is not simply imposed from above in order to silence and repress ideas and concepts.78 Judith A. critics. The discussion is informed by recent writing on the sociology of translation. The concepts of Bourdieu’s theory relevant here are habitus. (2005: 148) During the Stalin era in the mid 1930s. but which also provides fertile ground for the creative manipulation and appropriation of texts. specifically drawing on Pierre Bourdieu’s philosophy of action (Bourdieu 1998). social and cultural forces in play in a particular context. Goanvic elaborates on this as follows: …the object of research in translation studies ultimately becomes the analysis of the differential relationship between the habitus of translation agents (including publishers. Inggs goroda) (1939) in order to explore the relationship between the multiple forces at work in the translation of children’s literature under conditions of censorship.) who have taken a position in a given target field in a given epoch.

3 but. In relation to Volkov and Baum the situation is further complicated by the fact that both writer and writer-translator acquire symbolic capital — any kind of capital regarded as possessing value by social agents — as both the original and the adaptation achieved the status of canonised classics in their respective literary fields. Acceptance of such appropriation was not uncommon in the Soviet Union. and was a direct result of the legacy of pre-revolutionary attitudes towards literary translation firmly rooted in a tradition of free translation and rewriting. it was considered acceptable — even desirable — to appropriate ‘first texts’ from another literary system and transform them into ‘first texts’ in the target system. Belkov (1998). literatures have always represented a large proportion of works available to the public. The impact of Volkov’s ‘loose translations’ or versions highlights the effects of both institutionalised censorship and self-censorship in the (re)creation of new works based on first texts originating in a separate social and literary context. the scope for manipulating and appropriating the first text by the various agents involved is extensive.Censorship and translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union 79 became a signatory to the Universal Copyright Convention in 1973 (Tax Choldin 1986: 338). Volkov’s series of books had been so imprinted on the public as favourite Russian children’s classics that the new translations were “viewed as colorless. literary translations specifically . As a result. however. entitled Tales of Magic Land (1991). new translations of the original Baum text appeared. and found their way back into English in a series of translations by Peter L. older. 2. As adaptation and rewriting are features of both translation and censorship. In a further cycle. Censorship and Translation in Russia and the Soviet Union One of the reasons that translations have always played an important role in the Russian literary field is that modern Russian literature only developed fully in the eighteenth century. as Maurice Friedberg notes. after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union. Volkov’s books were subsequently translated into thirteen languages. and inferior to the well-loved classics for which they provided the model” (Nikolajeva 1995: 106). as Francesca Billiani points out (2007: 3). which took on a life of their own despite further borrowing from Baum’s own thirteen sequels4 (Mitrokhina 1996–7: 183). In a pattern of reciprocity. Volkov’s version became immensely popular and was followed by numerous sequels. It is not the purpose of this article to present a detailed account of censorship in Russia or in the Soviet Union. Blystone. for example Udivitel’nyi volshebnik iz Strany Oz (The Wonderful Wizard of the Land of Oz) translated by S. By this time. translations from other. It is also an interesting example of the notions of adaptation and appropriation as a form of translation. Reinforced by institutionalised censorship.

After the Revolution it suited the Soviet authorities to continue to encourage such practices. partly because translators as well as writers were required to conform to the tenets of socialist realism. with the organ responsible for censorship (Glavlit) becoming directly subordinate to the Central Committee of the Communist Party in 1932 (Ermolaev 1997: 3). but this faded after the mid-1800s.80 Judith A. in some cases with no acknowledgement of the original author. This effectively legitimised plagiarism. Leighton goes on to say that one of the postulates of the Soviet school of translation was . for example. during the Romantic period. Inggs attracted the attention of the censor because they exposed readers to a foreign culture and ideology and thus represented a potential threat to the ideological values the respective authorities sought to nurture and foster (Friedberg 1997: 13).5 When Volkov produced his Wizard of the Emerald City in 1939. noting that Soviet translators regarded rewriting as “dishonourable” (Leighton. A further significant factor was that many of the most active literary translators were themselves writers. The same period was one of intensified state censorship. Ivan Kashkin. or to remove unsuitable or so-called bourgeois elements in a professed attempt to make foreign literature relevant to Russians. a leading Soviet translator and theoretician. In general. During 1938 and 1939 alone sixteen and a half thousand titles were removed from libraries and bookshops (Ermolaev 1997: 57). and to highlight elements relating to the class struggle. which emphasised “respect for alien cultural traditions” (Friedberg 1997: 43). Indeed. One of its central tasks was to purge libraries of authors “branded enemies of the people”. and as the general public had no access to source language originals. so that translators regarded original texts as their own property to be manipulated as they chose (Friedberg 1997: 31–2). Yet Soviet critics never confronted the corollary of a socialist realist approach to translation — “the sanctioning of ideological censorship of non-Soviet texts to the point of premeditated distortion” (Friedberg 1997: 105). There were times when more literal translation was favoured. Other works were extensively cut or altered before being published. free translations and adaptations of foreign works of literature abounded. they were ignorant of the extent to which works had been rewritten or ‘amputated’. ‘free translation’ was at its height. this does not seem to be borne out in practice. giving them a particular habitus which affected the translations that they produced in that they were predisposed to engage in free translation and adaptation (Friedberg 1997: 36). 1991: 13). Lauren Leighton takes an opposite point of view in his work comparing Russian and Western translation theory. However. stated that a Soviet literary translator “must perceive and reproduce the reality of the original in the light of our world-view [and] the translator’s participation in the life of our literature” (quoted in Friedberg 1997: 104).6 This practice also applied to translations. Friedberg describes translators at that time as having a “cavalier disregard of the original” and becoming “self-appointed co-author[s]” (1997: 87).

Kornei Chukovsky. a term coined by M. depending on the reader’s knowledge and background.Censorship and translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union 81 that the translated text should have the same effect on its readers as on the original readers (Leighton 1991: 14). Bourdieu describes this type of censorship as particularly successful when unconsciously self-imposed by those agents operating in the literary field. He writes: Censorship is never quite as perfect or as invisible as when each agent has nothing to say apart from what he is objectively authorized to say: in this case he does not even have to be his own censor because he is. Aesopian language was particularly useful as it meant that a work could be read on several levels. Aesopian language developed from a particular kind of writing used to imply an ideological attitude or political statement which might otherwise attract the attention of the censors. (Bourdieu 1991: 138) One phenomenon specific to the Russian and Soviet context is known as ‘Aesopian language’. made extensive use of parody in his works. As a result. and in this way his books played a significant role in nurturing generations of readers who were accustomed to seeking a subtext in the works they read (Loseff 1984: 198). Saltykov-Shchedrin in the 1860s and a detailed account of which is given by Lev Loseff in his On the Beneficence of Censorship (Loseff 1984). many writers. “Hints and circumlocutions” by means of literary devices such as parody were therefore common in many writers’ works. in a way. In the 1920s many writers similarly abandoned their primary goal of writing for adults and turned to children’s literature. regarded as the founder of Russian children’s literature. a large part of the censorship that took place was self-imposed by writers and translators who learned to use strategies which would avoid bringing them into conflict with the authorities. It was familiar to most Russian writers and translators and was not only used in literature for adults but also for children. This phenomenon is not directly evident in Volkov’s work. which allowed the expression of ideas that would have otherwise been prohibited. but it . censored once and for all. it was often aimed at a dual audience. Of course. turned to translation. influenced by historical and social conditions (Loseff 1984: 6–7). Such a mode of writing can be seen as forming part of the writer’s habitus. Loseff likens Aesopian language to the concept of a mode of writing. This is an extreme example of the creativity engendered by a literary system governed by institutionalised censorship. For example. in line with the dictates referred to above. through the forms of perception and expression that he has internalised and which impose their form on all his expressions. This in itself implies extensive domestication of the text to make it more accessible to the new target audience. As indicated above. and a leading Soviet translator and theoretician. the third element of Barthes’s model of language. style and writing. in order to make a living under the stringent conditions of post-revolutionary Russia.

but it was not just. translators were also obliged to act and translate in specific ways. rather than works of art (Loseff 1984: 5). written rules alongside the unwritten ones. A. determined by the habitus of the agents in that field. Structural censorship in the Soviet Union took place in a particular field. as Billiani describes structural censorship. In the Soviet Union there were also institutional. or fields. socio-political and institutional constraints on those processes. and four actors can be identified in the production of translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union: the Author. the Censor. Translated Children’s Literature in the Soviet Union Foreign children’s literature in the Soviet Union can be regarded as a restricted field in that it was translated and published by a specific state publishing house founded by Gorky in 1933 with the express objective of translating the ‘best’ . shaped by the various agents involved and also by Communist Party policy. shaped both by the current habitus and by the symbolic capital a text enjoys in a certain field” (Billiani 2007: 8). this is how they made their mark” (Gouanvic 2005: 153). But of course not only the writers and translators were involved in the process. Inggs considerably strengthens the argument concerning the creative effect of censorship on the production of literature. Herzen had highlighted this influence as early as the mid-nineteenth century: “…censorship is highly conducive to progress in the mastery of style and the ability to restrain one’s words” (quoted in Loseff 1984: 11). Thus the relationship between the written and the unwritten rules became a further site for playing a socio-political and ideological game. Each of these agents acted within particular structures. “a set of unwritten rules. and not only a socio-cultural one. Many writers were involved in both translating and writing for children. Literary texts not only existed in the artistic field but also in the political field. Just as writers were expected to write in line with the tenets of socialist realism.82 Judith A. where they were regarded as words on paper. 3. translation and reading of literature. which shaped the writing. applying a form of self-censorship within the framework of their own education and knowledge of the world within the restricted ‘field’ of translation in the Soviet Union. often placing sociocultural. treating themes and discourses that conformed to the ambient doxa” (Gouanvic 2005: 153). I. This is exactly the kind of game (illusio in Bourdieu’s terminology) that was being played in the Soviet Union during the same era — for both sets of writers and translators the trick lay in “being able to find innovative ways around this censorship. Gouanvic speaks of writers in the US in the inter-war period being obliged to “play the sociocultural game in the American social space. the Translator and the Reader /s.

believed that children’s books were the foundation of the materialist world-view of the next generation (O’Dell 1978: 53) and that their primary purpose was to instil in children a revolutionary communist ideology. Nevertheless. This was exacerbated by the fact that in the early 1990s. while many existing translations were removed from circulation. and works by Blyton and Beatrix Potter (Vol’pe 1989: 45). Enid Blyton. 1992). Jack London. the quality of which was often very poor. although the latter two did not receive a great deal of attention at the time (Nikolajeva 1995: 106). an image of English-language children’s literature was constructed which was largely defined by nineteenth century and early twentieth century writers. the restrictive cultural climate in the Soviet Union meant that “for some authors a children’s book. in contrast with the main themes of Western writing for children. Unfortunately the hunger for previously unavailable works led to wholesale and indiscriminate translations. the Tarzan series. was unknown to the librarian in charge of the foreign language section at the largest children’s library in Moscow (Personal interview. Nadezhda Krupskaia. whose works have been translated into over 90 languages. As early as 1918. Charlotte’s Web. and The Hobbit (1937) and The Lion. appeared to be the best way to express beliefs that in strictly realistic prose might seem controversial or alien to the official ideology” (Nikolajeva 1995: 106). children’s literature had been singled out as the medium with the greatest potential for implanting ideas most in accord with the desired social development (Starza 1984: 28). Daniel Defoe. or more precisely a fairy tale or fantastic tale. and as late as 1992. for the first time in fifty or sixty .8 At the end of the 1980s. Robert Louis Stevenson. Lenin’s wife. and William Mayne Reid (Brandis 1980). the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) only in the 1970s. patriotic and revolutionary. such as Mark Twain.7 As a result. it required that reality be reflected in a positive light: doubts and uncertainties in the minds of the characters were discouraged and passages of introspection or psychological analysis were regarded as undesirable. such as Peter Pan (1904) and Mary Poppins (1934) only appeared in the late 1960s. for example. When socialist realism became the authorised literary genre over the next ten to fifteen years. Works which are considered classic texts of English language children’s literature. calls began to be made by Soviet critics for works to be made available which were well known internationally but virtually unknown in the Soviet Union. in much the same way as Aesopian language allowed the expression of ideas that would have been unacceptable if stated openly. fantasy literature for children also flourished during this period.Censorship and translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union 83 children’s books from around the world. As Maria Nikolajeva explains. The image of English language children’s literature was inevitably distorted as a result. The central themes of new works were military. As contemporary works were the most likely to contain anti-revolutionary content. a strict selection process was followed to identify works to be translated. Anne of Green Gables (1908) was still unknown in the mid 1990s.

3. Maria Nikolajeva notes that: [t]he focus in many of the adaptations shifted from the attainment of wealth or other personal benefits (such as Pinocchio’s longing to become a human boy) toward social improvements. but the changes made in Volkov’s Wizard of the Emerald City provide some indication. Parker’s conclusion is that there was no factual basis for asserting that Baum wrote his book as a populist allegory — but equally. and loyalty to society rather than individualistic gain. Inggs years. Leach. notably by William R. The silver slippers are retained in Volkov’s work. without guilt. For example. hard work. and which are eventually revealed as able to take their wearer wherever she wishes to go. In his introduction Baum states that the story was written solely “to pleasure children” aspiring to be a “modernized fairy tale.9 Baum’s own Wizard of Oz generally attracted the attention of economists rather than literary critics. and drew analogies with contemporary economic and political issues (Parker 1994). not long before The Wizard of Oz was written. In 1964 Henry Littlefield argued that Baum’s work was a “parable on populism”. often setting prices far above a reasonable level. (1995: 106). Such interpretations may not have been contrary to Soviet ideology but by the 1980s they were challenged. and other empty slogans of official Soviet culture. In 1990 Hugh Rockoff presented the story as a monetary allegory. who rather saw Baum’s work as a celebration of the “urban consumer culture of the turn of the century”. collective happiness. These and other scholars interpreted the book as a “critique of American industrial capitalism” (Parker 1994). the new consumer abundance and way of living produced by that economy” (quoted in Parker 1994). in which the wonderment and . which hold a potent power. equality. in 1989 Volkov’s The Wizard of the Emerald City was on sale in Moscow for a price twice the average monthly income (Nikolajeva 1995: 108). It is hard to avoid the significance of the silver slippers.2 The Example of The Wizard of Oz The reasons for the rejection of Volkov’s initial translation are unclear. Adaptations during the Soviet period highlighted those values which were prevalent in original literature written for children: a sense of comradeship rather than personal enrichment. freedom. helping to “make people feel at home in America’s new industrial economy” and to “appreciate and enjoy. publishers were required to become self-sufficient and profitable. that it could be read as an allegory of the silver movement.84 Judith A. during which time silver became a symbol of economic justice for the American people. although it is unlikely that Russian readers would have been aware of the significance or the details of the Free Silver Movement.

the central message that the Wizard is a fraud and an impostor. Baum emphasises the lack of joy in their lives and the bleakness of the landscape where “everything was dull and grey” (Baum 1985: 14). In both stories too. Volkov succeeds in turning Baum’s undeniably insipid characters into deeper and more complex characters. and endows his protagonist. In both Baum’s and Volkov’s work Dorothy and Ellie’s first night spent with the Munchkins is characterised by an abundance of good food and. This overall change is evident from the very beginning of the narrative which in the original opens with a description of the tediousness and drudgery of the everyday life of Dorothy’s aunt and uncle. these are not the details that Volkov omits. Volkov removes Dorothy’s orphan status. however. until “everything would be in order again — until the next storm” (Volkov 1992: 5). Even if Parker’s comment that the story “showed American society and culture in all its wonderful diversity and contradictions” is true (1994). In line with the Soviet view that misfortune is caused by an external enemy. to describe life on a farm in a negative light in the Soviet Union of the 1930s — a decade characterised by intense suffering on the part of Russian peasants who were forced into collective farming. it is not pure chance that brings the house down on Gingema’s head but the work of Villina. in Volkov’s tale. Ellie.10 whereas such excesses are not referred to in Baum’s story. who replaces the Wicked Witch of the East. which only mentions that the house “was the home of one of the richest Munchkins in the land” (Baum 30). Volkov places a strong emphasis on his characters’ fortitude and steadfastness: whenever a hurricane overturns the small house trailer in which they live. and who is plotting to destroy humankind (see Mitrokhina 1996–7: 184). who was “thin and gaunt. Similarly. is retained. albeit benevolent. with strengthened personal qualities such as friendship. with loving and cheerful parents called Anna and Farmer John. loyalty and steadfastness. who is the counterpart of the Witch of the North. and never smiled. “a huge number of pastries were eaten and an immeasurable quantity of soft drinks consumed” (Volkov 1992: 24). the Witch of the Yellow Land. Volkov also made significant changes to the content of the story. John is described as setting it upright again. . putting the stove and the beds back in place while Ellie collects the scattered pewter plates and other meagre belongings. Besides depicting his characters differently.Censorship and translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union 85 joy are retained and the heart-ache and nightmares are left out”. now” and Uncle Henry. the cyclone is no longer a natural phenomenon but is conjured up by the wicked witch Gingema. decisiveness and the ability to work in a team. The main changes introduced by Volkov involve the portrayal of the characters in line with the socialist realist requirements that they should display courage. in stark contrast with Baum’s Aunt Em. who “never laughed” and “did not know what joy was” (Baum 1985: 14). It was not acceptable.

Ellie’s foolishness equates to gullibility and weakness. in transliteration) for help. despite her rather shallow portrayal in Baum’s work. exterminated the narrow-minded morals typical of Anglo-Saxon literature.86 Judith A. a relatively resilient character. Thus. an external source of instructions. who consults the Magic Book. without true comradeship the forces of evil cannot be overcome. kindness. This is chiefly reflected in Volkov’s more developed characters. strength. As Brandis comments: “[i]t is the intelligent and courageous person who is a true friend who possesses the magical power of victory. and introduced new heroes” (cited in Mitrokhina 1996–7: 183). These qualities are specifically heightened in Volkov’s tale. takes on a much more vulnerable persona in the form of Volkov’s Ellie. In the 1990s. Dorothy. Soviet critics would later praise Volkov’s version for having a deeper “social resonance” (Brandis 1980: 216). external forces. in the hope that he will help to send her home if she helps three beings to fulfil their greatest desires. and in fact the morals of the two stories are very similar. Volkov wrote in an afterword: “I reduced the book considerably. including a strong emphasis on the role of comradeship. further evidenced by the fact that she bursts into tears and begs the giant for mercy (Volkov: 44). although Volkov did indeed introduce new characters and new adventures. loyalty and resilience. and potentially a victim of. In contrast. and the additional trials and tribulations that they undergo.” (1991: 121) There is an element of moralising didacticism in Volkov’s version which is not evident in The Wizard of Oz. providing greater opportunities for demonstrating their friendship. squeezed all the water out. resourcefulness. who is much more exposed to. Russian critics suggested that the success and popularity of Volkov’s Wizard of the Emerald City and its sequels was a result of the values and attitudes Volkov promoted — courage. Dorothy now has an ulterior motive when she offers to help — in contrast to what might be viewed as a Christian sense of selflessness in Baum’s story and yet also seemingly at odds with the positive heroine of socialist realist literature. Ellie is instructed by Villina. loyalty. out of the goodness of her heart. however. wrote new chapters. She falls prey to the man-eating ogre directly because of her flagrant disregard of the advice in the Magic Book when she is duped into believing a sign which says: “Around the bend in the road all your wishes will be fulfilled!” (Volkov: 41) The consequences of disobedience are made quite clear. The narrow-minded morals to which he refers are not easily found. fantasy and humour (Khristenko 1991: 121). This vulnerability is reinforced by Volkov’s introduction of several more frightening natural and evil phenomena in his adaptation. such as the escape from the “saber-toothed tigers” . Inggs Dorothy helps her three friends. In the 1960s. encountered by chance on her journey. to appeal to the Wonderful Wizard Goodwin (or Gudvin. Ellie is also often depicted as making fundamental errors of judgement. including man-eating ogres and terrible floods.

” Dorothy rather pragmatically responds: “We must get back to the road. This is true of the ‘first’ text too. tie her up and put her in the iron cage. They prove themselves far more proactive than Baum’s rather pathetic little group and come up with several ideas until Lion resolves that the best option is for him to swim out and fetch him. to where our friend is. however. where the prosperity of the majority is built on the exploitation and deception of the majority” (quoted in Brandis 1980: 216–217). You could all attack her. when they happen to see the Scarecrow on their way back to road.Censorship and translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union 87 (Volkov 54–62) and the flood which leaves them stranded and prompts Strasheela to pronounce that when back in the Emerald City he will “pass a law prohibiting rain!” (Volkov 153). and although Baum tells the reader that the Witch has a great fear of water and never “let water touch her in any way”. In the ‘first’ version Dorothy passively accepts her lot and sees no way out of captivity: “Sometimes she would cry bitterly for hours”. but he is not much mourned by the people of Volkov’s Emerald City. We can’t just leave here without rescuing our dear friend Strasheela” (64). but the emphasis on these qualities is considerably strengthened in Volkov’s derived text. Ellie tries to instigate an uprising: “There are so many of you. again accounted for by adjustments in accordance with Soviet ideology. in Volkov’s version Ellie shows considerable resourcefulness. but you are afraid of one wicked old woman. There is no attempt to unseat Goodwin. they seem resigned to Scarecrow’s fate: “ ‘What shall we do now?’ asked the Tin Woodman. in some way” (69) and. is found in the scene which depicts Ellie as a revolutionary activist. she does not hesitate: “Back there. notices this fear of water from her first days of captivity and regularly “used it to . thousands of you. who eventually sails off in his hot-air balloon. However. they gaze “wistfully” at him (69) with no apparent plan until the Stork flies by and helps them rescue him. Volkov himself commented that both his world and Baum’s were “very similar to the capitalist world familiar to the writer. and picks up where Baum’s novel left off. when Ellie and her friends are captured by the Wicked Witch of the East. he gives no indication that his protagonist has noted the significance of this (Baum 1985: 117). where Lion is now” (Volkov: 110). there. despite the danger that the current might take him off course. as the Lion lay down on the grass to let the sun dry him. In a later Afterword Volkov again emphasised the importance of friendship and mutual help: “It was these things that helped Ellie and her friends escape danger in Magic Land and to achieve fulfilment of their fondest wishes” (Volkov in Blystone 1991: 146). The Stork arrives just in time. and when Lion asks where they should go now. in contrast. In contrast. A notable example is the episode in which Scarecrow finds himself stranded on a pole in the middle of the river (Baum 67–71). Ellie. whereas Baum’s followers of Oz “would not be comforted” (155). When the remainder of the party reach the shore. who rules over the Miguni. keeping them captive. Bastinda. A further addition.

Conclusion This article set out to show that processes of literary translation and censorship in the Soviet Union worked together and were shaped by pre-Revolutionary modes of translation and attitudes towards literary translation. but if she looked into the kitchen and saw the puddles on the floor. one effect of the control exercised by censorship was to produce further discourses (Foucault 1978: 17–18). and the Witch/Bastinda melts away after Dorothy/Ellie douses her with a bucket of water in anger after she steals one of the silver shoes. censorship proved to be both a repressive and creative force operating in the literary system. she would run away in terror to her bedroom” (Volkov: 110). political and cultural forces operated on the translation. and represents a further example of the creativity instigated by a process of censorship and adaptation. but before this happens. The Wizard of the Emerald City would not have been written. Ellie plants doubt into the mind of Fregoza. the cook. reinforced by institutionalised censorship. Whether or not the rejection is fact. This process was even more acceptable in the context of children’s literature. Making use of an insider to incite rebellion. often deemed to have a lower status than so-called serious adult fiction. without the established tradition of appropriating first texts and without the inspiration of L. Inggs her advantage” pouring several bucketfuls of water on the kitchen floor before going outside to rest in the cage where Lion was locked up: “Bastinda screeched and cursed from behind the door. As in the development of Aesopian language. Thus. Baum’s story takes over the narrative once again. the reasons for the rejection of Volkov’s initial translation appear to be undocumented and unclear. As stated above.88 Judith A. In a tradition of loose translation and rewriting. 4. There was no sanction on taking over another author’s work and the absence of any signed copyright agreement suited both the authorities and the translators. The Soviet example of The Wizard of the Emerald City is one illustration of how social. Using techniques of infiltration. a suspicion that is confirmed when Fregoza eavesdrops on Bastinda’s mutterings. Frank Baum’s novel. as Foucault observed. it was perfectly acceptable to appropriate “first texts” and make them into secondary “first texts” in the target language and literary system. who comes to suspect that Bastinda is uncertain of the strength of her powers. This incident is consistent with the repositioning of the story in a different ideological context in a different field and involving different agents. production and circulation of a story. Works which were prohibited paved the way for the creation of other works inspired by those that had been suppressed. Ellie and her friends decide that Fregoza should instigate the move to overthrow Bastinda. who were obliged to make their .

for example. . Pinocchio is another example of a work that was adapted and appropriated. a special issue of The Translator on Bourdieu and the Sociology of Translation and Interpreting (2005). Despite extensive inquiry. 1986. Georgetown University. All translations from Russian sources. the life of which was then extended and prolonged in Blystone’s translations of those adaptations as Tales of Magic Land. 3. Herman Ermolaev cites the censoring of Virgin Soil Upturned by Mikhail Sholokhov as a “crippling amputation” which left only 55% of the original text (Ermolaev 1997: 96). had earlier advocated distortion with the aim of making the text more accessible to the reader — this was picked up on eagerly by Soviet authorities to justify the common practice of adaptation (Friedberg 1997: 140). destructive. including Volshebnik Izymrudnogo goroda. Personal interviews conducted in August and September 1992 in Moscow at the State Children’s Library of the Russian Federation. 2. Ph. They were then justified in using and manipulating those norms for their specific purposes.Censorship and translated children’s literature in the Soviet Union 89 translations and adaptations conform to the norms of Socialist Realism. see Herman Ermolaev (1997). Thesis. are my own. Of even more significance is the fact that Volkov’s versions and subsequent stories in the series acquired their own symbolic capital. Notes 1. See J. the distortion of Soviet and Russian texts was often just as. 8. 4. 9. if not even more. in this case by Alexey Tolstoy as Adventures of Buratino (1936). 5. Vissarion Belinsky. 6. Aspatore. Georgetown. the great 19th century Russian literary critic. unless otherwise stated. See. 1989) for a discussion of these themes in Soviet children’s literature. now stands at 40 (Translator’s Afterword to Volkov 1991: 331). For a detailed account of censorship in Soviet literature from 1917 to 1991. The Military-Patriotic Theme in Soviet Textbooks and Children’s Literature. (UMI Dissertaion Information Service. there seems to be no documentary proof of the rejection available. 7. 10. expanded by subsequent writers. and corroboration on a verbal level.D. Of course. The total number of books in the series. V.

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