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Lydia Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identities

A Collection of Articles and New Translations


Edited By Emily Van Buskirk and Andrei Zorin

Known in her lifetime primarily as a literary scholar, Lydia Ginzburg (1902–1990) has become celebrated for a body of writing at the intersections of literature, history, psychology, and sociology. In highly original prose, she acted as a chronicler of the Soviet intelligentsia, a philosopher-cum-ethnographer of the Leningrad Blockade, and an author of powerful non-fictional narratives. She was a humanistic thinker with deep insights into psychological and moral dimensions of life and death in difficult historical circumstances.
The first part of this book is a collection of essays by a distinguished set of scholars, shedding new light on Ginzburg’s contributions to Russian literature and literary studies, life-writing, subjectivity, ethics, the history of the novel, and trauma studies. The second part is comprised of six works by Ginzburg that are being published for the first time in English translation. They represent a cross-section of her great themes, including Proustian notions of memory and place, the meaning of love and rejection, literary politics, ethnic and sexual identities, and the connections between personal biography and Soviet history. Both parts of the volume aim to explore, and make accessible to new readers, the gripping contribution to a broad set of disciplines by a profoundly intelligent writer and observer of her times.


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A Note on Spelling, Transliteration, and References


When transliterating Russian quotations and titles, we have used the modi- fied Library of Congress System. We make exception for names, particularly those already familiar to the English-speaking reader, such as Osip Man- delstam (rather than Mandel’shtam) and Fyodor Dostoevsky (rather than Fёdor Dostoevskii). We have likewise opted for Lydia (rather than Lidiia) Ginzburg. These changes are preserved and ref lected in the index of names. Because we have created single, composite Works Cited for the volume, articles contain in-text parenthetical references, with the author’s name and publication date in italics (followed by a page number). References to the unpublished materials that are located in Ginzburg’s archive at the Russian National Library are made using Ginzburg’s name and the date of the manuscripts; in the Works Cited, these materials are distinguished by the label “O.R. R.N.B. 1377,” which refers to the general number of the Ginzburg archive at the Manuscripts Division of the Russian National Library (Otdel rukopisei Rossiiskoi natsional’noi biblioteki). The archive remains to be catalogued.

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