The article introduces the publication of an archival document − extracts from the diary of Ekaterina Sakharova (1886−1963). Trained as an agronomist, after the Revolution of 1917 she worked as a secretary for various academic organizations and as a translator. Ilya Gerasimov argues that Sakharova’s diary is unique not just in its time span (the first entry dates back to 1905, and the last – to 1963) but also for its comprehensive reflection of the main stages in the evolution of the Russian intelligentsia in the early twentieth century. From 1905 to 1922, Sakharova’s worldview went through at least five major transformations – as dramatic as switching from endorsing revolutionary terrorism to taking an explicitly counterrevolutionary political stance. The diarist tried to present her latest change of heart each time as an “objective” and “predetermined” consequence of her previous experiences and thoughts, explicitly claiming that it was a final life decision and that nothing could change it in the future. Analyzing her perception of time and attitude to her social environment, Gerasimov concludes that Sakharova’s diary reveals a dynamics of individual subjectivity different from that suggested by the mainstream literature on the topic. Rather than presenting the work on her “self“ for the future, the text shows the author’s attempts to interiorize a new, recently crystallized hegemonic public discourse by rewriting herself (her emotions, values, aspirations) in the past. A new future becomes possible by revisiting her own past, and this probably holds true not only in the case of one exemplary intelligent’s personal diary.


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pp. 213-246
Launched on MUSE
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