BASEES Annual Conference 2022

Crisis and adaptation in the Editorship of Sovremennye zapiski, 1920-40

Fri8  Apr02:40pm(20 mins)
CWB Syndicate Room 2


Hannah Connell


'Sovremennye zapiski' (Modern Notes, SZ) is a prestigious Russian-language thick journal, published by émigrés during the interwar period. It offered a venue for émigré literature, political commentary, and cultural essays navigating émigrés’ relationship to both France and Russia. SZ aimed to preserve the legacy of pre-revolutionary Russian culture, while also shaping the political, social, and cultural landscape of the interwar émigré community in Paris. The journal’s editors confronted a crisis of the political legitimacy of exiled Russian parties and addressed a resurgence of interest in questions of religious life among émigré readers. In the 1930s, they were forced to adapt their pre-revolutionary publishing models to address the increasingly precarious position of Russian immigrants in Europe. SZ‘s editors sought to balance a pre-revolutionary Russian publishing model with the development of post-war European publishing trends. This paper will examine the ways in which this thick journal, in content and format, offered a material and intellectual bridge between the pre-revolutionary period and the interwar emigration. In examining the collaborative editorship of the journal through the work and correspondence of the three principal editors, this paper will discuss the ways in which émigrés navigated print traditions, commercial demands and growing political instability during the interwar period in France.