Inscriptions by Bunin, Teffi, and Tolstoi on display in Cambridge University Library

Visitors to Cambridge University Library can enjoy a display of Russian literary publications featuring handwritten dedications for one more week.  Out of the shadows : post-1917 Russian emigration rediscovered was curated by Vera Tsareva-Brauner of the Cambridge’s Slavonic Studies Section.  Vera found the first of the dedications while researching Nobel laureate Ivan Bunin, an unearthing which led to the five other inscriptions being brought to light again.  It is wonderful to be able to celebrate these re-discovered treasures.

The exhibition marks the centenary of the start of the Russian Exodus. Following the revolutions of 1917, as many as three million people fled their native land, among them many of the best representatives of early 20th-century Russian culture. Most of the émigrés, including the writers Ivan Bunin, Aleksei Tolstoi and Nadezhda Teffi fled to Western Europe, where their determination to preserve their cultural heritage saw the effective creation of a Russia Abroad. The books which feature in the physical and online exhibition and which have never been shown before have original autographs by Bunin, Teffi, and Tolstoi.

The exhibition follows the year-long Revolution : the First Bolshevik Year exhibition, to which Cambridge students and library staff contributed captions.  COSEELIS 2018 attendees who came to the University Library to look at some of that exhibition’s items will remember the book signed by Wrangel/Vrangel’ (another extraordinary find on the Library’s open shelves).  A blog post about that item can be found here.

The physical Out of the Shadows exhibition will be on display in the Library’s entrance hall until 30 November 2018.  The permanent online exhibition can be accessed here:

Mel Bach

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COSEELIS-2019: Call for papers



The 2019 COSEELIS annual conference is coming back to Oxford! It will take place on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 July 2019 at St Anne’s college.

This year we hope to have a rich and interesting programme and invite researchers from Oxford to tell us that they are working on. We have a tentative agreement of Emeritus Professor C. Catherine L. Andreyev to give us a talk, and we are in conversation with other Oxford academics about their possible contributions.

We invite our colleagues to come up with ideas for papers, presentations or round tables. There is no one theme, but this might change, as we see your suggestions. We will be pleased and interested to hear from you more about the collections and projects that you are working on, as well as your research. As usual,  we would also like to talk about important every-day activities or any other special projects that you might have and find the themes that are of most interest to our participants. We invite suggestions from all of you on the topics and themes of your interest.


Please note that due to strict cancellation policy of St Anne’s College and a non-refundable deposit that we have to pay, we ask all delegates to return registration forms by 1 April 2019. By returning the form, you are making a firm booking and committing to payment.  Cancelled bookings will incur cancellation fees in keeping with the cancellation policy (see the registration from). Payment must be received by 30 April 2019. The registration form and a draft programme will follow soon – we hope to get many interesting proposals.

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News from the Leeds Russian Archive

The papers of the writers Leonid Andreev (Andreyev) (1871-1919) – perhaps best known outside Russia for his wonderful Autochrome colour photographs – and Ivan Bunin (1870-1953), the first Russian to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature (1933) are the two of the Archive’s foundation Russian collections.

Both writers have been the focus of much Leeds-based research and publication activity, including 5 volumes so far of a projected 23-volume critical edition of Andreyev and several volumes of Bunin’s unpublished works, notebooks and correspondence.

Andreyev Bunin in Russian

Both of the writers are also available in recently published English language translations. Hugh Aplin, held a Leverhulme Trust research post in the Leeds Russian Archive in the 1980s, before becoming Head of Russian at Westminster School, and he has translated many Russian authors for Alma Books, whose founders also have longstanding links with the Archive. So it is very gratifying that these Leeds strands have come together in advance of the centenary of Andreyev’s death in 2019 and the celebration of 150 years since Bunin’s and Andreyev’s births in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Andreyev Bunin in English

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The Russian Empire & the Soviet Union: A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States

Here is wonderful news from the US – the directory has been updated and available online (see: The Russian Empire and Soviet Union. A Guide to Manuscripts and Archival Materials in the United States/ by Steven A. Grant and John H. Brown; Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies, the Wilson Center. Boston, MA: G.K. Hall, 1981). We congratulate Erika Weir (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)  and Steve Grant on this achievement.

Janet Hartley’s guides (Guide to documents and manuscripts in the United Kingdom relating to Russia and the Soviet Union and Guide to documents and manuscripts in the Irish Republic relating to Russia and the Soviet Union) were published in 1987 and 1994 respectively.  Is there a need and appetite for updating and digitising? How one can start a project like this? Something to talk about at the COSEELIS conference in Oxford (4-5 July 2019, St Anne’s College)?

Views and comments are welcome.

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Committee elections update

We are very pleased to congratulate Dr Vladimir Alexander Smith-Mesa of  UCL SSEES Library on joining the COSEELIS Committee. We are looking forward to working with Vlad!

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