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Bolshevik Tom

Bolʹshevik Tom
Большевик Том
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In 1925 Leningrad’s Brockhaus-Efron published 10,000 copies of Bolshevik Tom, a 10-page booklet of children’s verses by Nadezhda Pavlovich, accompanied by Boris Kustodiev’s seventeen black-and-white drawings. As all adult Soviet readers doubtless realized, Pavlovich pilfered Tom’s escapades from Mark Twain’s Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) without any acknowledgment, but inflected them ideologically in addition to dramatically altering Twain’s ending. Her goal was to deliver a political salvo against the harmful effects on children’s upbringing of an affluently indolent United States while promoting the Soviet Union as a haven for youth and, more broadly, as a land of happy, bustling unanimity.

Helena Goscilo

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