The essays in this volume seek to appreciate the literary construction of the memoir, with its dual agendas of individualized expression and reliable reportage, and 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 Elidar Riazanov). It examines 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.
Publisher: Northwestern University Press