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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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Notes on Contributors


Caryl Emerson is A. Watson Armour III University Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Princeton University, with a co-appointment in Comparative Literature. Research interests have focused on Mikhail Bakhtin, nineteenth-century Russian literary classics (Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky), and Russian opera and vocal music. Current projects include Tolstoy, Bernard Shaw, and Shakespeare; the prose, drama, and literary criticism of the Russian modernist Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky; and the adaptation of the Russian literary tradition to the Stalinist-era stage. Andrew Kahn is Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow and Tutor in Modern Languages at St. Edmund Hall, Oxford. He has degrees from Harvard and Oxford in Russian and Classics. His scholarly research draws on his wide-ranging interests in European literature, most especially Greek, Latin and French. In addition to writ- ing about Pushkin, he works on Enlightenment literature in Russia and Europe, on the history of ideas, the comparative reception of European culture in Russia, travel writing, the history of translation, and twentieth- century poetry, including Mandelstam. Kirill Kobrin is a writer, historian, and journalist who lives in Prague. He is acting managing editor of Radio Liberty, and editor of the maga- zine Neprikosnovennyi Zapas (Emergency Ration). His interests include the cultural and political history of twentieth-century modernism, the political and philosophical context of non-fiction writings in Russian lit- erature, and Lydia Ginzburg. His article on Ginzburg as a representative of the 1920s generation appeared in Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie (2006). He has recently published Evropa: konets “noulevykh” (Europe: End...

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