Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2022

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Roxanne Easley

Second Committee Member

Jason Knirck

Third Committee Member

Michelle DenBeste


Revolution, civil war, and the eventual victory of the Bolshevik Party unsettled millions of Russian intellectuals, forcing many abroad. Defining and sustaining Russian intellectual culture outside of Russia through art, prose, politics, religion, and literature was a mission that men and women of the émigré intelligentsia shared. As the Soviet Union strengthened its identity, the émigrés also hoped to create a distinction between Soviets and Russians, as well as a distinction between European and Russian. They hoped to protect “true Russianness” for those who remained in the Soviet Union, and they dreamed of returning to Russia themselves. In the event, many émigrés never returned to Russia. Women’s daily lives in emigration in many ways paralleled the experience of men—poverty, the necessity of work, and social alienation—but émigré women also faced particular challenges, such as marriage, engagement in both the domestic and public sphere, and life without the safety of their family. Through their literature, Russian émigré women writers emphasized themes of pessimism, shifting gender roles, suffering, and self-sacrifice through feminized genres. Particularly in their memoirs, Russian women émigrés detailed their lived experience with a feminized understanding of what needed to be remembered and how those memories were shaped.

Available for download on Saturday, July 13, 2024