My Soviet Youth: A Memoir With Critical Introduction To The Post-Soviet Cultural Identity
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)
Literature and Languages
Date of Award
This dissertation proposes the analysis of the Russian memoirist tradition and its key trends. It includes a creative component representing memories of life during the late Soviet and post-Soviet period and explores how this creative work fits into the tradition of Russian life-writing and what gaps it fills. Chapter 1 (introduction) explains how the creative portion reflects the tension between the collective identity and individual strive for self-expression prominent in the Russian literature since its early beginnings. The work represents a category of the â€œevery personâ€ memoir - a term I propose to substitute the â€œnobody memoirâ€ definition suggested by Couser to refer to the work authored by a common person, non-celebrity. While many memoirists from the Soviet period position themselves as active fighters for or against the political cause, or victims of the regime, I assume the stand of a detached participant, without claiming an overly active role in shaping or influencing socio-political events. The memoir continues the Russian literary tradition of â€œfictions of the selfâ€ (autobiographical statements combining elements of fiction and documentary with an element of self-imaging and self-evaluation)1 affected, although not completely governed, by the unstable and brutal socio-political environment and censorship. Additionally, I will explore the motif of cultural and spiritual continuity guarded and preserved mostly (but not exclusively) by women in a politically oppressed society, and how this motif is revealed in my creative portion. I will also explain a different angle of my memoir, which, in contrast to most post-Soviet memoir works focusing on the fiction of the Russian or Jewish ethnical self, attempts to reflect a construction of a Russian-Ukrainian cultural identity in complex geo-political environment. It also attempts to paint a relatively balanced picture of the late Soviet reality.
Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature
Rodriguez, Irina, "My Soviet Youth: A Memoir With Critical Introduction To The Post-Soviet Cultural Identity" (2020). Electronic Theses & Dissertations. 229.