The Russian Memoir

Paper Text – $27.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2428-8

Cloth Text – $79.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1929-1
Publication Date
November 2003
Page Count
256 pages
Trim Size
6 1/8 x 9 1/4

The Russian Memoir

History and Literature
Beth Holmgren

Throughout the development of modern Russian society, the memoir, with its dual agendas of individualized expression and reliable reportage, has maintained a popular and abiding national genre "contract" between Russian writers and readers. The essays in The Russian Memoir: History and Literature seek to appreciate the literary construction of this much read, yet little analyzed, form and to explore its functions as interpretive history, social modelling, and political expression in Russian culture.

The memoirs under scrutiny range widely, including those of the "private person" Princess Natalia Dolgorukaia, sophisticated high culture writers (Nikolai Zabolotskii, Vladimir Nabokov, Joseph Brodsky), cultural critics and facilitators (Lidiia Ginzburg, Avdot'ia Panaeva), political dissidents (Evgeniia Ginzburg, Elena Bonner), and popular artists (filmmaker El'dar Riazanov). The contributors examine each memoir for its aesthetic and rhetorical features as well as its cultural circumstances. In mapping the memoir's social and historical significance, the essays consider a wide range of influences and issues, including the specific impact of the author's class, gender, ideology, and life experience on his/her "witnessing" of Russian culture and society.

About the Author
Beth Holmgren is a professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.