The Constitution of a Reliable Self : Word for Word by Oleg Dorman and Lilianna Lungina

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The Constitution of a Reliable Self : Word for Word by Oleg Dorman and Lilianna Lungina

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Publication BookChapter
Title The Constitution of a Reliable Self : Word for Word by Oleg Dorman and Lilianna Lungina
Author(s) Sarsenov, Karin
Date 2013
Editor(s) Schoenhals, Michael; Sarsenov, Karin
English abstract
In July 2009, the TV-channel ‘Rossiia’ broadcasted on prime time Oleg Dorman’s eight hour documentary Podstrochnik in four sequels. Here, Lilianna Lungina (1920-1998), a witness of the purges of the Stalin period and the translator of Astrid Lindgren’s Karlsson-on-the-roof, tells her life story in front of the camera. The decision to air this plain, unobtrusive film, devoid of any glamour, humiliation or sensation, on the commercially dependent channel ‘Rossiia’ created a stir in other media. In December, a book based on the film was published and became a bestseller. The chapter discusses what the film and the book add to the already established, and from a media perspective, rather murky genre of memoirs from the Stalin period. I argue that the question of subjectivity and gender is crucial for an understanding of the work’s cultural signification. Specifically, I contend that the narrative contrasts its own intersubjective understanding of the constitution of the self to the monological, essentialist notion in the works by A. Solzhenitsyn. Lungina’s narrative reflects the prevalence of gossip, storytelling, and mythmaking in intelligentsia circles. It is permeated with episodes, referred to as truthful descriptions of actual events, but to which she obviously was not an eyewitness. The chapter investigates how the narrative, in spite of this, is able to construc a reliable subject position, taking recourse to normative conceptions of gendered identity.
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Publisher Palgrave MacMillan
Host/Issue Imagining Mass Dictatorships : The Individual and the Masses in Literature and Cinema
Series/Issue Mass Dictatorship in the Twentieth Century;5
ISBN 9781137330680
Pages 8-27
Language eng (iso)
Subject(s) Dissident culture
Russian Intelligentsia
Jewish Identity
Soviet Union
Humanities/Social Sciences
Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION
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