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Directions in children's literature. Riverside radio WRVO in New York City presents the second program in a second series with Richard Lewis poet and teacher and leading authorities in the field of children's literature. At this time Mr. Hughes his guest is Miriam Morton editor and translator whose recent anthology The harvest of Russian children's literature is published by the University of California Press. Mrs. Morton and Mr. Lewis are heard in the second part of a two part discussion on the world of Russian children's literature. My guest today is Mrs. Mary Morton who has already been our guest once before and this program will continue with our discussion of her book The harvest of Russian children's literature published by the University of California Press. What place does for instance the second world war play in the literature of children.
The second world war is not been forgotten and Russia can no face of its culture particularly not in its literature. When the war is presented to the children in a realistic way of course there is always the heroic figure in the stories who even if he doesn't survive he has given his life knowingly for a great cause of the saving of his country. There are several selections in my book about children in the war or adults in the war. Last election is a rousing story about the way group of Russian soldiers outwitted the Germans who were occupying the villages to which they were passing. There is a story about a young girl. This is a true story of a young girl and her life among the partisans and her contribution to the effort to to save landing guide.
This is from a book of 14 stories about 14 Leningrad youngsters who gave their life. How was the agonies of the revolution itself created in terms of literature. Well there is that. First there is the value of stories by I mean a hook has a dawn class that stories every one of which deals with the events of the revolution and the civil war immediately following the revolution and because that country and the forces that that the attack the life of the average cost that hasn't and that these stories are collected in an edition for young readers. Now there is much such material made available in special children's editions and they are published separately because so as to bring this literature to the attention of the young reader in a
special way in every case there is an introduction or a foreword either by the author illuminating his work or by and I thought there very often you find an introduction written by an academician for a child's edition so that they would come to the work with some knowledge about the background of the approach of the author so that the work can mean more to them. Yes. Is there any sort of censorship in terms. Children's writers I mean as perhaps they might be for the adult writers Is there anything in that area concerning the children's writers. Well I don't know. These are matters that are not easily at 13. I think I can say that there was a period during study years when there was so much repression of creative people when authors have turned to writing for children because it was free or a
free your field. Now in this same connection is there any sort of propaganda type of writing going on for children in which the party line is that well the commonest ideas about life and so on the words propaganda and indoctrination are difficult words around which did the Scot's literature when we offer a child a book glorifying our history or our country our ideals. We don't call it propaganda. When we come across such writing from a country with whose basic ideology we do not agree. We call it propaganda. To them these ideals are valid. There they see there is something to guide one's life upon. And they don't consider it propaganda. We may
but they don't offer it as propaganda they really believe in it. Now perhaps you would enjoy hearing this tale from the class that area the so the Soviet Union. This is not the same thing as cars out with the sea this is king ese aka H. And this is a desert region and Asiatic Russia. I found this in the Russian version of A Course in the Russian children's book Beautiful Illustrated and. I was fascinated with its adaptation as you know there are many folk tales of through time are adapted revised. They are derivative sometimes from other cultures but authors come along and retell it and at least the folk tales are not always found in the same version. This one also was adapted. And there you will see
why I thought this a full day a particularly interesting as an example of folk tales and faulty adaptation in Russia. I will not tell you MORRIS Because I don't want to give the story away. The title is the mightiest of them all. Once upon a time there lived a man named Moghul. He had a daughter when his daughter became a young woman. My will said to her. My dear I should like to know whom you will choose to marry. Father she answered. If you were Allow me to choose for myself then I confess that I should like to marry the strongest thing in the whole world. A man does not seem to have much strength and I am still but a young maid and need a protector. Daughter said old Mark will you are indeed asking for a lot. Everyone knows that which is strongest in this world is the sun. But I love you so much that I am ready to grant your every wish.
Saying this my book took his daughter by the hand and they set off to speak to the son. They walked for a long time. At last they reached that faraway place where their planes and they did not stop there however but went on and on. After a time they saw that everything had become so bright that by comparison the brightest day in the most cloudless weather on the most treeless plain seemed like the darkest hour in the darkest night and deepest of this earth. The blinding light that now surrounded them turned everything into the yellows of yellows sky earth road even the grass and the flowers. All was bated in this light. That was the Yellow Rose of yellow. But old Moghul and his daughter did not hold. They did not turn back but went tirelessly farther and farther when they came to the end of this land of light. They saw that
again everything has changed and how it had changed. Now the heat was so intense that by comparison the hottest hour of the hottest day of the hottest summer in the hottest place on earth seemed like the coldest day in the coldest year in the coldest place in the world. That is how hot it was and this heat turned everything a red red. Just like fire the fire red road stretched into the fire read distance over the fire red earth and the fire. That's God. But old Moghul and his daughter went tirelessly on moving ever forward. At last they reached the sun. The sun was round Mary and blinding. My book placed his daughter in front of himself and said. Son do you see that she's as graceful as a young Arab mayor that her braids are like the branches of the weeping willow or face the color of white corn brows like
bird's wings or lashes like arrows and that all of her is like a ravishing desert mirrors. Do you agree son. There's none more fair in the whole world. I agree said the son. If there is none for you son my world then said You are the largest the hottest the brightest the strongest. My daughter is so young and so delicate that she would like to marry the strongest thing in the world. That is why we have come to you. Wait a minute my bull said the son interrupting the old man. I am willing to take your daughter as my wife. But you are mistaken. I am not the strongest thing in the world but it is you who banishes the night. Explain my ball. It is you warms the earth. You are now rich would you raise the forest the grasses and all that grows. If you did not exist there would be eternal night eternal hunger and eternal death. Who can it be that is mightier than you. Look
said the sun pointing downward. Mark bull lowered his eyes to the ground. Hot sun rays beamed over the earth. Suddenly however from somewhere like flocks of sheep numberless clouds moved over the whole sky. The sun rays now could no longer pierce the clouds to reach the Earth. And they were lost in the mass of the threatening cloud. The cloud is stronger than I said the sun. He does not like my race through to shine upon the earth. He's like a veil hiding me from the world from its people and against him I am powerless. Do you still want to give me the hand of your daughter in marriage. The son asks sadly and with such a somber face that the weather became at once gloomy Mughal was at a loss to know what to say and was silent for a while. No sun ashen that Mary you said Meglos daughter. Let us go father. I thought there was nothing stronger than the sun in the whole wide world. But that is not so. And they went to
speak to the cloud. Cloud do you see my daughter asked Mark as before the sun. The girl appeared before the cloud in all her beauty. I see her answered the cloud. Do you see Clark that she's as graceful as a young Arab mayor that her braids are like the branches of the weeping willow. Her face the color of white corn her brows like birds wings her lashes like arrows and that all of her is like a rather Xing desert mirage. Do you agree that there is none more fair in the whole world. I agree said the cloud that there is none more there on Earth. Cloud mother golden said we thought that the strongest in the world was the sun. But you have proved your greatest strength. Tell me do you agree to take my daughter to be your wife. I agree said the cloud but you are mistaken if you think that I am the strongest. There's a thing mightier than I. Saying this the clouds shuddered. He began to move waving his misty sleeves his long cold below doglike assailed his cheeks
were about to burst and gliding off to the side. He barely managed to cry out. Word WAS ME world. The restless wind chases me all over the earth to wherever it fancies. Never never does he give me peace. And the huge head the mighty looking cloud broke into sobs pouring over the torrents of rain tears. Let's go to the one said the girl who won so cheerful as a bridegroom as that cloud the wind is no doubt the strongest and they set off to call on the wind. It was frightening to approach the house where the wind lived there was such a Dane and such whistling all about. Believe us nothing else could be heard there and to make yourself heard you have to shout with all your might stop droning and moaning shouted Mark. We want to talk to you. At first the wind looked out the window. How gloomy angry and on camp he looked as if he had slept and slept and was not
all slept out. Speak up he grunted. And be quick about it. I had no time just then Iran having talks with you my bull was glad and so was his daughter. At last they thought they had found the strongest the wind will not become gloomy like the sun. He will not sob like the cloud. This is indeed a bridegroom. The gloom now placed his daughter in front of himself and spoke to the wind as he had spoken to the sun and the cloud. No one listened to what the old man had to say his shaggy brows wrinkled into his shaggy beard and white hurricanes what blizzards. What Cyclops city bring down upon the earth. THE DAUGHTER The Wind's house was flung open the shutters flapped noisily against the walls and so impatient was the wind that he himself flew out of the window. You we're going to Old Man he roared at Mark bull. Why did you come to laugh at me. Don't you know that for a thousand years now I have thrown myself against the man that stands in my way. Each time I think that now I shall succeed in rolling him
off my back. But there I always stands giant man and he does not start and when I strike against him I scatter in all directions like water flowing over a boulder. And stamping his food the wind shook his shaggy head. How old was old and threw himself once more against the man. Let us go to the giant mountain said Mughals daughter of what good as the wind is the bridegroom giant mountain is not God the strongest of all. The Little Giant mountain said Mark world respectfully. Hello Johnny. Giant mountain said the girl even more respectfully. Hello the mountain answered in a thunderous voice. Monk Bullen his daughter were the last to know how to begin. Speak up old man said the unreachable man as kindly as he could speak up. Do not be afraid. I am so big so strong that I cannot talk more softly. Then my world explained everything to the man. All this is true he said after hearing our
mug. The cloud is stronger than the sun the wind is stronger than the cloud and I am stronger than the wind. All this is true I'm willing to take your daughter to be my wife but you should know that being low in the foothills of some kind of creature he danced with me. Please assist and I'm powerless before him even at this very moment. I feel that something has been stuck into my side which burns and pricks and barely did uttered these words when without any warning. There was such a thud as if something had been shot either by a huge cannon. The man swayed and one of us and Richard peak split into huge rocks which rolled down its side. And nothing was left of the peak as if it never existed from the emerald Lake hidden by this peak forming and splashing the emerald River burst forth and
cascaded down in a waterfall gathered and flowed swiftly in the foamy transparent current toward the parched desert. As if I chanted my bull and his daughter stood rooted to the ground staring at the hidden river. They looked and marvelled at this wonder and saw as in a fairy tale the parched desert turned into a flowering Valley. And giant mountain when the rain of rock ceased and the noise of the river became more steady and calm himself astonished at what had just happened said. I look and I'm amazed there never was in the world anything so beautiful as my emerald lake. And now there appears even a more beautiful side and emerald river. The parched desert has become a flowering Valley. How much beauty has been added. Even the old Martin had not known that such a thing could be done. Yes friend Mark Bull said he turning to the old man. Your daughter is incomparable and I'm willing
to take her as my wife. But I'm not worthy. Go below to the foothills. Look there for a being that compared to me is small but he is really the most mighty. He dusts with me as he pleases. I go to him and all Mark Boal left with his daughter distended to the foot of the mountain in search of the mysterious most mighty being. They walked and walked and looked and looked and then they saw a man. His shoulders were broad his hands were strong his face was handsome His eyes shone with contentment and there he stood nearly a man no different from others the same as the war. He smiled at them. Hello said Mark. Hello said his daughter. Hello. The man answered. Tell us please. Do you happen to know where their lives that are known to be. That is stronger than any in this world. Ask me please explain more clearly whom you mean said the man.
I don't understand what you want to know. And Mark Boal told him everything. I am the strongest said the man. You will said with surprise. You asked the girl and she blushed. And who are you my bull and the daughter said in one voice. I am a master builder. The man answered I dig into madness to get from them the treasure they hold are in or gold and precious stones. I have dug a tunnel through the thickness of giant mound and have laid steel rails over the length of this tunnel. Trains now run over these rails to bring the treasure I have build bridges over precipices and then ride over these bridges over the ground. And did you do all this yourself. Exclaimed my boy. Oh great one said Mark Bull's daughter. If you have done all this yourself you are indeed the greatest wizard and earth and the strongest be no answered the man. I did not do all this alone but with other men. We are many
we are countless. What a marvel said mother wore a whole army of great ones. And are they all as strong as you. Much stronger among us there are such mighty mad I cannot hope to vie with them but Astrid is not so much in our hands as in our brain. Our will and our knowledge. We have solved mysteries of nature. We have solved the mystery of friendship among people. But we are not great ones. We're just simple folk like you honorable elder and you beautiful maiden. We want men to live happily on earth at the will of men. Canal water or dry lands strong stone houses they're build against the worst hurricanes electricity use men light and warm air planes trains and ships overtake the wind and their ever new wonders to be discovered by men. Truly you must be the mightiest of them all mightier than the sun. The cloud the wind or the mountain will you take my daughter to be your
wife. Why will the man answered and they were wet. Now this is a tale. That comes from a desert region developed in recent years into an agricultural productive area a dance there turned into a garden. In this version the old Theo's been given a modern ending. It is understandable that in such a land where the unsuspected riches of the saw oil came to fruition with the aid of up to the minute to the logical achievements of men that man should be regarded as the mightiest of them all the mighty is that all the mighty forces their nature and that his invention should be considered miracles in our country we have aside from children's literature we have them. The mass of comic books which present such an enormous amount of violence and what not. Is there anything comparable to this or does it absolutely somehow not exist at all within the realm of Russian children's reading.
There is no such thing as Corner a stationery store or drugstore selling comic books there's nothing like our comic book. There are some things that look like comic books but they have the quality of the best type of animated cartoon. These are little fairy tales and fanciful things usually involving insects or animals very charmingly conceived and presented no violence no precociousness of a sex or anything like that. The moral health of the Russian child is very carefully guarded. The Russians are really possessed by this idea that the child's soul must not be violated by the wrong kind. Writing a television play that the atmosphere in the Russian
children's library in theater and motion picture houses of the ivy inspiring and soul soothing. You mentioned in your book what is what is the condition of the Russian children's theatre. I think the present situation with regard to the stage and the Russian child has also grown out of a very old tradition of home theatricals. Every group of children in the 19th century in the beginning of the 20th century would be involved in some kind ofa dramatic presentation Stanislavsky speaking of art in his childhood. This is the way Stanislavsky started presenting with his brothers and sisters little skits in their living room behind a white sheet for a stage curtain. And this this occurred everywhere in a small town. I remember in my own childhood the same thing wept to come back to the modern children's theatre in the Soviet Union. There are one hundred and twenty
theatres in and Russia especially for children several in Moscow. I visited several Moscow theatres and performances for children. I discovered that not only are the buildings devoted entirely to performances for children but each the THEIR has a staff. This theatre in Moscow had a staff of three. The theater pedagogues they're called full time people who help select plays who are present during the rehearsals and production who visit schools to speak to the children of God the play before they visit the play who discuss the play with the children. After it's there in every children's theatre it is a lot of Dettori M which the children gather at some time in connection with the performance the audience is a very enthusiastic one. My hotel happened to be across the street from one of these theatres and seven o'clock every evening I think here this happy chattering of hundreds of children
walking toward the theater and the same thing at 9 o'clock when they had come out. Some of the problems confronting the modern child in urban life are dealt with in very carefully conceived and presented plays the one play I saw was about a broken family. And really who's this was for the equivalent of our junior high school years. The people I spoke to them one of the pedagogues after the performance and she said that the display as been very important to their child audiences there noticed the voice crying in their eyes they saw this play because they identified with this fatherless boy in the play and they often discuss things with the children they even parents come to these pedagogues to tell them about a similar situation in their own lives asking for their for their advice and they have been able to but straighten things out in families as a result of this play.
But their interest is so extensive toward the child and his own situation. And the same holds true with the librarians they have their song with the family. But to come back to the theater if we have more time I'd like to buy the place that I attended in Leningrad title of it is three days for the session. It had to do with the situation in the high school where a girl wrote an essay on the 19th century play in which she took a different approach as she is she interpreted differently differently from the on her to critics of that period and the teacher gave her a poor grade told her to rewrite the paper. She refused to do it. And as a result of the poor grade and the disciplinary action that was being taken against her her class which stood out for its grades and other service to the school etc.. They lost their chance to go. The trip to Moscow
which they look forward to very much so that her classmate brought pressure on her to give in her boyfriend brought pressure on her her mother everyone around her wanted her to give in and rewrite the paper even if she didn't believe in it so they could all go to Moscow. But the principal guard involved in this little situation and he began to see how wrong it was to insist this girl's overlooking her own her own point of view. Well in the end the girl triumphs. But what this play establishes is that the an individual's conception of the truth can be more valid than the group's conception and it should be honored. And this is a great departure from the former attitude where the group is the important thing. This date is the important thing that the individual is secondary with this play clearly establishes the other principle. And interestingly enough the play was written by a school
teacher. When I expressed interest in the play I hope to be included in my anthology again. It wasn't the way it was sold out and the author a send her daughter down with a copy to my hotel. I was leaving the next day so that I would have it. And I have it I hope the translated. I think we could probably honestly say that literature is really alive for the Russian child. It is of vital living part of his of his growing up and of his life afterwards. Mrs. Morton I'd like to thank you very very much for this interview. You have what it might have to type for reading further into children's literature. You've been listening to Richard Lewis and the editor and translator Miriam Morton in the second part of a two part discussion on the world of Russian children's literature. Mrs. Morton's recent anthology a harvest of Russian children's literature is under the University of California imprint the potent teacher Richard Lewis is the author
of folk elections of poetry for children recently miracles a collection of poetry by children and out of the earth I sing poetry of primitive peoples published by WW Norton and company. This is been directions in children's literature. The second in a series of 12 programs with Richard Lewis and leading authorities in the field of children's literature at this time next week. Mr. Pearce his guest will be once more of Miriam Morton in a discussion of called nature of ski's book from two to five which Mrs. Morton edited and translated for the University of California Press for a free summary of this program. Writer WRVO Department B New York New York 1 0 0 2 7. Please enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope directions in children's literature is produced by Richard Lewis for WRVO. The FM station of the Riverside Church in New York City. This is the national educational radio network.
Directions in children's literature
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Chicago: “Directions in children's literature; 2,” 1968-12-18, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “Directions in children's literature; 2.” 1968-12-18. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: Directions in children's literature; 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from