Personal Trajectories In Russia’s Great War And Revolution, 1914–22. Biographical Itineraries, Individual Experiences, Autobiographical Reflections
This volume investigates how the revolutionary events of 1917–21 shaped biographies both in Russia and Western Europe and how people tried to make sense of the political developments during these years in self-testimonies like diaries and memoirs. What was the impact of individuals on the course of the revolution? What do we know about the personal experiences during 1917 of revolutionary activists, victims, and bystanders? What are the specific features of autobiographical texts and ego-documents from the time of Russia’s Great War and Revolution? The essays of this volume examine a plurality of stories, perceptions, and interpretations. They analyze the trajectories of men and women with very different origins and social backgrounds. Among them are members of the “old elite” who personally experienced the Russian Revolution of 1917 and were forced into exile after the victory of the Bolsheviks in the October Revolution and the Civil War. Moreover, in this volume protagonists who actively supported the revolution and “ordinary people” who neither belonged to the old elite nor were politically committed stand in focus. Finally, the construction of revolutionary narratives and memories is addressed. The case studies presented here allow us to evaluate critically established master narratives about the Russian Revolution and the Civil War. They also enable us to point out the contrast between historical caesuras and the continuity of personal lives, to explore geographical mobility and developments beyond the political centers, to give a voice to historically marginal actors, and to juxtapose our concept of “history” with the many-voiced chorus of individual experiences.