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Russian & East European Languages and Literature Collection Policy

Liaison librarian

  • Tatiana [dot] Bedjanian [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-7383

History of the Collection

Like many Slavic collections in North America, the McGill collection began its real growth only after the second world war when the cold war spurred greater interest in the East Bloc countries. In fact the Department of Russian and Slavic Studies was formally established only in 1962. The collection has grown into a respectable research collection since that time. Counts done in 1971 and 1987 show that the number of volumes on Russia and Eastern Europe more than doubled during that time. Specifically, volumes on Russian language and literature increased from 6200 to 11,500. The Polish and Romanian collections grew considerably as well. The development of the Romanian collection can be attributed to the Romanian exchange which began in the early 1970s.

Current Collection Development

Current collecting centres more on literature and less on language and linguistics than it did in the past, reflecting a change in departmental priorities. Russian literature is collected at the advanced study to research level. Special emphasis is placed on the acquisition of works by and about nineteenth century authors with a lesser stress on the early period of the twentieth century to 1930. The period from the 1930s until the thaw in the 1950s receives little attention except for the very major authors such as Sholokhov. The period of the 1960s and 1970s is considered more important than the preceding period. The period since 1985 presents a special challenge and a major effort is being made to identify and acquire the best contemporary authors as well as works from earlier periods which were unpublished until now.

The other literatures of Eastern Europe are collected at an introductory instructional support level.

Academic Programmes and Liaison

The Department of Russian and Slavic Studies offers a full range of courses at the undergraduate level, a Master of Arts and a Ph.D. While emphasizing the Russian language and literature, the Department also offers undergraduate level courses in East European civilization as well as in the Hungarian, Polish and Czech languages. In general at this level there is greater stress placed on 19th rather than on 20th century literature.

Collection development is the responsibility of the Slavic and East European bibliographer. Liaison with the Department is maintained through the Department Chairman. Regular contact with other bibliographers and teaching departments is maintained through the sharing of relevant review material.

McGill Resources

The Humanities and Social Sciences Library is the major location for the university's Russian and Eastern European languages studies collection. Of particular interest amongst the Library's holdings is its collection of 1920s children's literature which is housed in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

The Language Laboratory provides taped materials for language learning. As well, for the benefit of its faculty and students the Russian Department maintains a small reading room including current subscriptions to a number of periodicals from Russia, largely duplicates of library holdings.

Regional Resources

Polish Institute Library: This library has a good collection of Polish literature and other works on Polish culture. There are approximately 1,500 volumes of literary works supported by about 800 volumes of literary criticism as well as by a solid collection of serials and series of the main Polish academic institutions. As of 1989 the Polish Library's new acquisitions began to appear in MUSE the McGill online catalogue.

Consortia and Document Delivery

The Center for Research Libraries, a consortium to which McGill belongs, includes a variety of materials of interest to the scholar of Russian literature. Particularly notable is the Center's collection of Akademiia Nauk publications. Until 1988 the Center collected all A.N. publications except for those receiving limited distribution. Since then, realizing that these publications were widely collected in North American libraries,"Nauka" publications in the social sciences and humanities are not processed by the Center. Rather, the Center is attempting to make arrangements to acquire publications that have only limited print runs. Other relevant materials at CRL include copies of all bibliographies listed in Patricia Grimstead's invaluable "Archives and Manuscripts" series (held by the McLennan Reference Department) as well as the microfiche collection Russian History and Culture. The latter collection (in progress) consists of several thousand scarce books from 19th and early 20th century Russia in the University of Helsinki Library. A partial listing of this collection is held in the Reference Department but all titles will appear in the supplement to the CRL catalogue itself.

Research Libraries Group and OCLC memberships provide access to vast bibliographic databases and to efficient document delivery systems based on the holdings of North America's most eminent research collections.

General Collection Guidelines

Languages: For primary materials the emphasis is on Russian, however a selection of Czech, Church Slavonic, Hungarian and Polish publications are acquired to support courses presently being offered. The selection of secondary works of criticism follows this pattern with stress on criticism of Russian literature in Russian, English, French and German. Secondary works on East European literatures other than Russian are purchased selectively.

Translations from other languages into Russian, Polish, Czech etc. are considered on the basis of the reputation of the translator (e.g. Pushkin's translations of Shakespeare). Translations from medieval versions of Slavic languages into their modern forms are considered on their own merits. English or other translations of primary works are referred selectively to the appropriate bibliographer.

Chronological Coverage: The whole span of Slavic culture is included from the early center Ages to the present. Special emphasis is laid on supporting the study of nineteenth century literary movements.

Geographical Coverage: There are no specific limits. Literary works published in the Soviet Union are purchased on a regular basis through Novye Knigi and various dealers' lists. Works of Western origin are widely collected. It should be mentioned also that the works of emigré authors and associated criticism are collected on a highly selective basis.

Treatment of the Subject: Scholarly treatment of the subject is emphasized. Textbooks are not normally acquired.

Date of Publication: Emphasis is on current publications. Whenever possible, retrospective acquisitions are made to upgrade specific areas of the collection and to serve as replacements for books which have deteriorated or disappeared.

Subjects and Levels of Collecting

Collection Levels derived from the American Library Association's Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, 2nd. ed., 1996.

Russian Linguistics 3
History of the Russian Language 3a
Russian Literature
Pre-17th. century 2
17th. century 3a
18th century 3a
19th century 3b
20th century 3b
Russian Film 2

Other Languages and Literatures

Bulgarian 1
Czech 1
Estonian 1
Hungarian 1
Latvian 1
Lithuanian 1
Polish 1

List of Authors collected at level 3 (advanced study level)

XVIIIth Century Russian Writers
Chulkov, M.
Derzhavin, G.R.
Fonvizin, D.I.
Kantemir, A.D.
Karamzin, N.M.
Kheraskov, M.M.
Lomonosov, M.V.
Murav'ev, V.I.
Novikov, N.P.
Radishchev, A.N.
Sumarokov, A.P.
Trediakovskii, V.K.

XIXth Century Russian Writers
Aksakov, I.S.
Aksakov, S.T.
Annenkov, P.V.
Baratynskii, E.A.
Batiushkov, K.N.
Belinskii, V.G.
Bulgarin, F.V.
Chaadaev, P. IA.
Chekhov, A.P.
Chernyshevsky, N.G.
Dal', V.I.
Delvig, A.A.
Dobroliubov, N.A.
Dostoevsky, Fyodor
Fet, Afanasii
Gogol', N.V.
Goncharov, I.A.
Griboyedov, A.S.
Herzen, A.I.
Kiukhelbeker, V.K.
Kol'tsov, A.V.
Lermontov, Mikhail
Leskov, N.S.
Marlinskii, A. (Bestuzhev)
Nekrasov, N.A.
Ostrovsky, A.N.
Pisemskii, A.S.
Pogodin, M.P.
Polezhaev, A.I.
Polonskii, IA. P.
Prutkov, Koz'ma
Pushkin, A.S.
Saltykov-Shchedrin, M.E.
Sollogub, V.A.
Tiutchev, F.I.
Tolstoy, A.K.
Tolstoy, Leo, graf
Turgenev, A.
Turgenev, I.S.
Venetvitinov, D.V.
Zagoskin, M.N.
Zhukovskii, V.A.

XXth Century Russian Writers
Abramov, F.
Abramov, S.
Akhmatova, A.A. (collect comprehensively)
Aksenov, V.
Aizenberg, M.
Aitmatov, Chingiz
Andreev, Leonid
Astaf'ev, V.
Babel', I.E.
Baklanov, G.
Bal'mont, K.D.
Belov, V.I.
Belyi, Andrei
Berg, Mikhail
Bitov, A.
Blok, Aleksandr
Bondarev, IU.
Briusov, V.
Brodsky, Iosef (collect comprehensively)
Bulgakov, M.
Bykov, P.V.
Chukovskii, Kornei
Daniel, IUlii
Dark, Oleg
Dolmatovskii, E.
Dovlatov, Sergei
Erofeev, Viktor
Ehrenburg, I.G.
Esenin, S.A.
Evtushenko, E.A.
Fadeev, Aleksandr
Fedin, K.A.
Forsh, Olga
Furmanov, D.

XXth Century Russian Writers(cont.)
Galich, Aleksandr
Gippius, Z.N.
Gladkov, F.V.
Granin, D.A.
Grekova, I.N.
Grossman, Vasilii
Gumilev, N.S.
Il'f, I.A.
Iskander, F.
IUsefovskaia, Mariam
Ivanov, Vsevolod V.
Kataev, V.P.
Kaverin, V.A.
Kharitonov, Evgenii
Kharms, Daniil
Khlebnikov, V.V.
Kopelev, Lev
Krivulin, Viktor
Kublanovskii, I.
Kuritsyn, V.
Leiderman, M.
Lavrenev, B.A.
Lavrin, Aleksandr
Leonov, Leonid
Makanin, Vladimir
Mayakovsky, Vladimir
Maksimov, V.E.
Mandel'shtam, Osip (collect comprehensively)
Mariengof, A.B.
Mikhalkov, Sergei
Mironov, Aleksandr
Mozhaev, Boris
Nabokov, V.V.
Nagibin, IUrii
Narbikova, Valeriia
Nekrasov, V.P.
Okudzhava, B.V.
Olesha, IU. K.
Ostrovsky, Nikolay
Ovechkin, Valentin
Panova, V.F.
Pasternak, B.F.
Paustovskii, K.G.
Petrov, Pavel
Pil'nyak, Boris
Polevoi, B.N.
Povolotskaia, Irina
Prigov, Dmitrii
Prishvin, A.S.
Radov, Egor
Rasputin, Valentin
Remizov, A.S.
Rozhdestvenskii, Robert
Rubinshtein, Lev
Rybakov, Anatolii
Sadur, Nina
Semenov, IUlian
Shestov, Lev
Siniavskii, Andrei
Shalamov, V.T.
Sholokhov, Mikhail
Shukshin, V.M.
Shvarts, Elena
Shvarts, Evgenii
Sokolov, Sasha
Sologub, F.K.
Soloukhin, V.A.
Solov'ev, V.S.
Solzhenitsyn, A.I.
Sorokin, Vladimir
Tarkovskii, A.A.
Tendriakov, V.F.
Tikhonov, N.S.
Tokareva, Viktoria
Tolstaia, Tatiana
Tolstoi, A.N.
Trenev, K.A.
Trifonov, IUrii
TSvetaeva, Marina
TSvetkov, Aleksei
Tvardovskii, A.T.
Tynianov, IU. N.
Velembovskaia, V.
Vadimov, Georgii
Voinovich, V.
Voronin, S.
Voznesenskii, A.A.
Vysotskii, V.
Zalygin, S.P.
Zamiatin, E.I.
Zazubrin, Vladimir
Zoshchenko, M.M.

Co-ordination and Co-operation

McLennan Reference Department: Recommendations for the purchase of reference works are forwarded to Reference.

English and Comparative Literature bibliographers buy general materials in English on the theory of literature and comparative literature.

Translations of literary work and criticism from Russian, Polish, Czech etc. into English and French are referred to the Comparative Literature (for English translations) and to the French bibliographers for French language translations.

Linguistics: general linguistics is the province of the Linguistics bibliographer.

Polish Institute Library : This Library receives an extensive amount of materials on exchange with Polish libraries or as gifts. An informal arrangement exists whereby information concerning the current ordering of Western publications on Poland and Eastern Europe is shared with the purpose of avoiding unnecessary duplication of expensive titles.

Plans for Further Development

Complete processing of gifts backlog.

Investigate possibilities of further exchanges with Eastern Europe.

Descriptions of the Collection

Anderson, Helen. Student Guide to Reference Sources in Russian Literature. Montreal, Reference Department McLennan Library, McGill University, 1987. (ERIC ED297596).

Anderson, Helen. Serials in the Area of Slavic and East European Humanities and Social Sciences in McGill University Libraries. Montreal, The Library, 1990. Typescript.

Budurowycz, Bohdan. "McGill University" in Slavic and East European Resources in Canadian Academic and Research Libraries. Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1976.

Budurowycz, Bohdan. Survey of the Slavic and East European Collection of the McGill University Libraries. Montreal, 1987. (typescript)

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