Two Russian-Jewish Women of Distinction, and Their Distinctive Diaries

The women’s self-recorded experiences are utterly disparate, but both offer a potent antidote to any sentimental nostalgia for life in the age of Sholom Aleichem.

From the cover of Daughter of the Shtetl: The Memoirs of Doba-Mera Medvedeva.

From the cover of Daughter of the Shtetl: The Memoirs of Doba-Mera Medvedeva.

Observation
Feb. 25 2020
About the author

Gary Saul Morson is the Lawrence B. Dumas professor of the arts and humanities at Northwestern University and the author of, among other books, Anna Karenina in Our Time (Yale).


“I lived in a country where dying was taught to us from childhood,” said the essayist and investigative journalist Svetlana Alexievich in her 2015 Nobel Prize lecture. Born in 1948 in Soviet Belarus, Alexievich is fascinated by the way in which ordinary individuals speak about the horrendous suffering that has historically characterized ordinary Russian life:

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More about: History & Ideas, Memoir, Russian Jewry, Women in Judaism