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Lydia Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identities

Van Buskirk, Emily / Zorin, Andrei (eds)

Lydia Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identities

A Collection of Articles and New Translations

Series: Russian Transformations: Literature, Culture and Ideas - Volume 3

Year of Publication: 2012

Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2012. XVI, 441 pp., 2 b/w ill.
ISBN 978-3-03911-350-7 pb.  (Softcover)

Weight: 0.640 kg, 1.411 lbs

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Book synopsis

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.


Contents: Sergei Kozlov: Lydia Ginzburg’s Victory and Defeat – Alexander Zholkovsky: The Red and the Gray (Appendix: «Between Genres») – Caryl Emerson: Lydia Ginzburg on Tolstoy and Lermontov (with Dostoevsky as the Distant Ground) – Andrei Zorin: Ginzburg as Psychologist – Emily Van Buskirk: Varieties of Failure: Lydia Ginzburg’s Character Analyses from the 1930s and 1940s – Andrew Kahn: Lydia Ginzburg’s «Lives of the Poets»: Mandelstam in Profile – Irina Sandomirskaia: The Leviathan, or Language in Besiegement: Lydia Ginzburg’s Prolegomena to Critical Discourse Analysis – Kirill Kobrin: To Create a Circle and to Break It («Blockade Person’s» World of Rituals) – Stanislav Savitsky: Reflection as an Ethical Value (Lydia Ginzburg’s «The Thought that Drew a Circle») – Laurent Thévenot: At Home and in a Common World, in a Literary and Scientific Prose: Ginzburg’s Notes of a Blockade Person – Alyson Tapp/Emily Van Buskirk: Narratives and Essays by Lydia Ginzburg – Alyson Tapp: Ginzburg’s «Rational Impressionism»: A Translator’s Note on «The Return Home».

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Emily Van Buskirk is Assistant Professor in the Department of Germanic, Russian, and East European Languages and Literatures at Rutgers University. She works on twentieth-century Russian and Czech literature and culture.
Andrei Zorin is the Professor of Russian at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of New College, Oxford. He previously taught at the Russian State University for Humanities (Moscow), and has been on the faculty of Harvard, Stanford and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He works on the history of Russian literature and culture of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as well as contemporary literature and culture.


«This book, with superb essays about various aspects of [Lidiya Ginzburg] by Sergei Kozlov, Alexander Zholkovsky, Caryl Emerson, Andrei Zorin, Emily Van Buskirk, Andrew Kahn, Irina Sandomirskaia, Kirill Kobrin, Stanislav Savitsky, Laurent Thevonot and Alyson Tapp plus translations of some of her important prose pieces is a wonderful testament to an essential writer.» (Richard Marshall, 3:AM Magazine January 2013)


Russian Transformations: Literature, Thought, Culture. Vol. 3

Edited by Andrew Kahn