“Dear TD”: Ruth Epperson Kennell-Theodore Dreiser Correspondence, 1928-1929
- УДК / UDK: 821.111:791.31
- Author: Olga Yu. Panova
- About the author:
Olga Yu. Panova, Doctor Hab. in Philology, Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1, stroenie 51, GSP-1, 119991 Moscow, Russia; Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2520-120X
During his travel to the Soviet Union (November 4, 1927 — January 13, 1928) and on his return to the USA Theodore Dreiser was keeping in touch and dealing with Soviet literary institutions, periodicals and his Russian acquaints — publishers, editors, critics, etc. Ruth Epperson Kennell (1889 –1977) played an important role in making and maintaining these contacts in late 1920s-early 1930s. Ruth Kennell, who spent almost ten years in the Soviet Union, was a reference librarian (1925 –1927) in the Comintern Library in Moscow. On November 4, 1927 she got acquainted with Dreiser and was hired by him to serve as his secretary and guide as he toured the Soviet Union. Her role as a “Russian secretary”, personal assistant and friend is depicted in Dreiser’s Russian Diary and Kennell’s memoir Theodore Dreiser and the Soviet Union (1969) as well as in their correspondence that lasted till Dreiser’s death. Kennell continued to take part in Dreiser’s life and creative work in the USA, especially during the years that immediately followed their return from the USSR. The paper dwells at some length on Kennell’s biography, her role in publishing Dreiser’s work in the Soviet Union and USA, her work as an editor, critic and reviewer. Kennel had a long and varied writing career, and Dreiser helped her to start write and publish fiction. Their correspondence portrays Dreiser as a patron taking care of a young author and promoting her work. Kennell’s letters to Dreiser (1928 –1929) stored in the Manusсript Division of A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature are published in the addendum together with the Russian translation of several Dreiser’s letters to Kennell included in Theodore Dreiser: Letters to Women. New Letters (2009).
- Keywords: Theodore Dreiser, Ruth Epperson Kennell, correspondence, American literary history, biography studies, Sergei Dinamov, Soviet-American literary connections, archived materials.
- For citation:
Panova, Olga. “‘Dear TD’: Ruth Epperson Kennell-Theodore Dreiser Correspondence, 1928 –1929.” Literature of the Americas, no. 11 (2021): 289–423. https://doi.org/10.22455/2541-7894-2021-11-289-423
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