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About the book
  • Published: 31 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446475591
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

Notes From the Blockade




Incredible story of struggle and survival during the siege of Lenningrad during the Second World War

The 900-day siege of Lenningrad (1941-440 was one of the turning points of the Second World War. It slowed down the German advance into Russia and became a national symbol of survival and resistance. From her own experience as a survivor of the blockade and using facts, conversations and impressions collected over the years, Lidiya Ginzburg has created a remarkable everyman hero in whom she distils the collective experience of life under siege. Though the author may depict, often painfully, the hunger and harrowing conditions of that period, the reader takes away a different impression: the dignity, vitality and intellectual resilience of the thinking mind as it records and makes sense of extreme experience. This first translation of a classic work of documentary fiction, reminscient of the work of Primo Levi and Albert Camus, introduces a major twentieth-century Russian writer to English-language readers.

  • Pub date: 31 May 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446475591
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 240

About the Author

Lydia Ginzburg

Lydia Yakovlevna Ginzburg was born in Odessa in 1902, and moved to Leningrad in 1922, where she studied at the famous Institute for Art History as a student and later as a colleague of Victor Shklovsky, Yury Tynianov and Boris Eikhenbaum, the major figures of Russian Formalism. She survived the purges, the 900-day siege of Leningrad and the anti-Semitic campaigns that followed the war to become, in the 1960s-’80s, a friend and inspiration to a younger generation of Petersburg literary scholars and poets, including Alexander Kushner and Elena Shvarts. She was a prominent cultural figure in the years of perestroika, when she began to publish notes and essays that she been writing for the ‘desk drawer’ starting in the 1920s. Her books include venerated works of literary scholarship such as On Lyric Poetry, On Psychological Prose (published in the English translation from Princeton University Press) and On the Literary Hero. The collection of her prose that appeared in her lifetime, Person at a Writing Table (1989), and which contained Notes from the Blockade, as well as posthumous editions, have established Ginzburg as innovative author of what she called ‘in-between’ genres – notes, essays, and fragmentary narratives – that describe and analyse the human experience of a historically catastrophic era spanning much of the twentieth century. Lydia Ginzburg died in 1990.

Lydia Yakovlevna Ginzburg was born in Odessa in 1902, and moved to Leningrad in 1922, where she studied at the famous Institute for Art History as a student and later as a colleague of Victor Shklovsky, Yury Tynianov and Boris Eikhenbaum, the major figures of Russian Formalism. She survived the purges, the 900-day siege of Leningrad and the anti-Semitic campaigns that followed the war to become, in the 1960s-’80s, a friend and inspiration to a younger generation of Petersburg literary scholars and poets, including Alexander Kushner and Elena Shvarts. She was a prominent cultural figure in the years of perestroika, when she began to publish notes and essays that she been writing for the ‘desk drawer’ starting in the 1920s. Her books include venerated works of literary scholarship such as On Lyric Poetry, On Psychological Prose (published in the English translation from Princeton University Press) and On the Literary Hero. The collection of her prose that appeared in her lifetime, Person at a Writing Table (1989), and which contained Notes from the Blockade, as well as posthumous editions, have established Ginzburg as innovative author of what she called ‘in-between’ genres – notes, essays, and fragmentary narratives – that describe and analyse the human experience of a historically catastrophic era spanning much of the twentieth century. Lydia Ginzburg died in 1990.


Praise for Notes From the Blockade

“Tells more of the experience of life in twentieth-century Russia than many multi-volume novels”


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