‘The Books to the Illiterate?’: Romani Publishing Activities in the Soviet Union, 1927–1938

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‘The Books to the Illiterate?’: Romani Publishing Activities in the Soviet Union, 1927–1938


  • Viktor Shapoval Institute of Humanities, Moscow City University, Russia


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Abstract:  As one of the projects of the Soviet cultural revolution, the Gypsy project was notable for its unusual success in creating a new literary language and active book publishing. Among its achievements are both original fiction, textbooks and manuals in various fields of knowledge and technics. For instance, the elementary school was almost fully provided with necessary books in Romani. It is noteworthy that Roma women played an active role in the creation of new literature and proved to be not only translators, but also authors of original works in several genres. As the most hardworking author, N. Pankovo, who was distinguished by incredible productivity, should be noted. This project was regularly supported by the state, which allowed the distribution of books at reasonable prices. This project was stopped in 1938, which overwhelmed the narrow group of writers and activists, though it did not lead to fatal personal repressions against them.

Keywords:  book publishing; cultural revolution; Gypsy project; Roma women; language

Published:   4 June 2020


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/si.v8i2.2792


© Viktor Shapoval. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.