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Wizard of the Emerald City, The

Volkov, Alexander
Radlov, N.
Ts. K.V.L.S.M. Publishing House of Children's Literature in Moscow and Leningrad

In 1939, a book entitled[THE WIZARD OF THE EMERALD CITY] by Alexander Volkov [1891-1977] was published in Russia. This was an unacknowledged translation of Baum’s THE WIZARD OF OZ with the names changed, some incidents omitted. and some new incidents (chiefly a scene in which Ellie Smith [Dorothy] is captured by a people-eating Ogre and rescued by Strasheela and the Iron Woodman [the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman], and one in which Ellie and her friends are caught in a terrible storm on their way to seek Stella [Glinda]). The Wizard is given a name, James Goodwin, and Magic Land is sometimes called Goodwinia. Twenty years later (1959) a revised version of the book was published with new illustrations by Leonid Vladimirsky. The new edition was very successful and was published not only in the Soviet Union but also in many of the countries behind the Iron Curtain in their own languages. Eventually, Volkov would write five original books about Goodwinia. Volkov’s Goodwinia differs from Baum’s Oz in several ways. Although the eastern portion (originally ruled by the Wicked Witch of the East, Gingema) is a light-blue territory inhabited by Munchkins, the western region, ruled originally by Bastinda, Wicked Witch of the West, and later by the Iron Woodman, is violet-colored, and the southern region, ruled by the good fairy Stella, is rose-colored. The northern region, where the good fairy Villina lives, is yellow, but none of Volkov’s books take place there, even in part. Goodwinia is definitely located somewhere in Kansas and is surrounded by a wide desert and a range of Encircling Mountains. To keep out intruders, Gingema had placed a ring of large black stones with very strong magnetic powers in the desert to draw all would-be visitors to their imprisonment and eventual doom. People do grow older and even die in Magic Land. Many of the characters from THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ appear in Volkov’s books, usually with changed names. Besides those mentioned already and the Courageous (formerly Cowardly) Lion, there are Faramant (the Guardian of the Gates), Din Gior (the Soldier with the whiskers-only green when viewed through green glasses), and the crow Kaggi Karr, who had encouraged Strasheela to get brains. (above information courtesy of Stephen J. Teller)

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