Robert Burns in soviet social commentary of 1930 – 1950s


  • Dmitry N. Zhatkin


Palabras clave:

russian–english literary and historical and cultural ties, poetry, romanticism, tradition, reception


The article deals for the first time with the systematization and comprehending of journalistic responses to the literary work of Robert Burns in the Soviet periodicals of the 1930s – 1950s. The article «Robert Burns» written by A.A. Anikst, published in №. 4 of the magazine «Young Guard» for 1938, raises the question of the historical role of Robert Burns in the development of English literature. The poetry of the Scottish poet is considered not from the position of her belonging to a certain literary direction, but from the point of view of her uniqueness, which expresses in the amazing closeness to ordinary people and melodiousness, similar to the folklore compositions of the Scots themselves. A.A.Anikst noted in the article the simplicity, naturalness and sincerity of the poetical works of the Scottish bard, who was «not a voluntary philanthropist who looked down on the people», but «a man from the masses», singing in his poems the everyday life of ordinary peasants, poor people, their joys and sorrows, having earned the worldwide fame of a folklore’s songwriter. Burns admired the author of the article not only by his cheerfulness and optimism, but also by the depth and complexity of his emotions, expressed in a sensitive understanding of nature, its aesthetic beauty, the ability to notice the smallest details, to sympathize with an ordinary wild mouse and wildflower, sincerely, together with the people, laugh over the rich, speaking out against their stinginess and emotional poverty. In contrast to A.A. Anikst, G.I. Gerasimov, the author of the article «Scottish Bard», emphasized the international recognition of R. Burns’s work, wrote about the phenomenon of finding his poems «second homeland» in the vastness of Soviet Russia, which became possible thanks to the appearance of talented translations of S. Ya. Marshak, who managed to convey not only the meaning, but also the «spirit and melody» of the works of the great Scots. The article highlights issues related to the reception of the work of a Scottish songwriter in the Soviet Union, lists the facts reflecting the extraordinary interest to his poetry by ordinary citizens, which manifested itself in a high readership demand for his books. The author of the article also wrote about the universal values sung in Burns's poems, as well as about friendship, the ability to value leisure and enjoy life despite all difficulties


Anikst A. (1939) Robert Burns // Young Guard. – № 4. – P. 107–108.

Gerasimov G. (1959). Scottish bard // New times. – № 8. – P. 16–17.

Selkirk R. (1959).Robert Burns and the Cold War // New Times. № 11. – P. 31.

Marshak S.Ya. (1969). Collected Works: In 8 vols. – M.: Literature,. – V. 3. Translations from English and Scottish poets. – 832 p.

Zhatkin D.N., Yashina T.A. (2019) Publicistic articles of soviet writers about Robert Burns and his creativity works in the periodicals of 1930–1970 years // Revista San Gregorio. – № 34. – Special Issue. November. – Р. 108–125.

Zhatkin D.N., Futljaev N.S. (2019). The Cotter’s Saturday Night» by Robert Burns in Russian translations of the XX – the beginning of XXI century // Amazonia Investiga. – Vol. 8. – Núm. 19 (Marzo – Abril). – Р. 500–508.

Zhatkin D.N., Futljaev N.S. (2019) «The Cotter’s Saturday Night» by Robert Burns in the Russian reception of the 19th century // Revista Inclusiones. Vol. 6. – Número especial. Nuevos avances y miradas de la ciencia. – Julio / Septiembre. – Р.12–25.




Cómo citar

N. Zhatkin, D. (2020). Robert Burns in soviet social commentary of 1930 – 1950s. Revista San Gregorio, 1(37).