Veber M. I., Lebedenko E. Yu., Surzhikova N. V. «Damned Petrograd», «absolute anarchy» and «civil darkness»: Russia of 1917 in contemporaries’ private correspondence (.pdf)

 

The paper is dedicated to private correspondence of the contemporaries of the 1917 Great Russian Revolution and aims at a number of tasks. Firstly, the publication objectifies distinctive features of the ego-sources current subgroup: its compositional canonicity and situational creation of thought, stylistic duality and dialogism, confidentiality and emotiveness. Secondly, the present selection of letters demonstrates the signs of revolutionary times: the collapse of army, transport and mail disorder, food problems, the revolutionary forces split, the crisis of authority, etc. Literally every letter in 1917, no matter who wrote it – adult or child, man or woman, military man or civilian, city-dweller or peasant, provincial or metropolitan – captured an integrated, comprehensive and all-pervasive character of changes occurred within the imperial space. Thirdly, it is shown that the 1917 private letters performed multiple functions, among which an informative one was not the main function. The 1917 contemporaries’ correspondence primarily contributed to the return of the sense of a «certainty of life», as well as the feeling of social ties stability. Thus, one may say that being a kind of instrument to make each other closer, the private correspondence of 1917 gave social micro-groups (family, colleagues, friends, etc.) the possibility to maintain their «self». The direct speech of those groups’ representatives not only actualized their subjectivities, but also testified to the fact that under conditions of private space deprivation, the value of a separate life as an alternative to the socially significant processes increased sharply.

 

Key words: the 1917 Russia, revolution, ego-sources, private correspondence, private space, subjectivities, direct speech.

 

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