Article: PDF
DOI: 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-04-25
Abstract: The article reconstructs Lillian Hellman’s trips to the Soviet Union and the ways this experience was represented in her memoirs. The present study seeks to demonstrate how Hellman’s autobiographical narrative of “The Unfinished Woman” differs from other left-wing memoirs written mainly by men primarily occupied with politics. The historico-literary approach adopted to conduct this research calls for a detailed reconstruction of Hellman’s literary contacts with Soviet institutions, party functionaries, and cultural agents during her stays in the USSR. The article reveals that the Soviet circle of Hellman’s acquaintances radically transformed from 1940s to 1960s. In the 1940s Hellman became close to the people who were at the top of the Soviet party hierarchy: she wined and dined with the Generals on the Belorussian Front, Deputy People’s Commissar of Foreign Affairs M. Litvinov at receptions with Ambassador A. Harriman, and A. Fadeev and K. Simonov during their trips to the United States. The acquaintances of this level were facilitated by her high mission as a cultural emissary during the Second World War. By the 1960s Hellman had become attracted to the dissident movement. Casting her eyes on Russia from her American far away, she was informed by Raisa Orlova of censorship, political prisoners, and all sorts of party excesses. The final change in Hellman’s views is testified by her speech at the IV Congress of Soviet Writers, when she publicly demanded greater freedoms for the intelligentsia, dissidents and human rights activists. The Soviet press materials as well as the archival documents deposited in the Russian State Archive of Literature, which are introduced into scientific circulation for the first time together with Hellman’s memoir prose, open a new page in the history of American-Soviet relations during WWII and the period of the “Thaw”.
Key words: American literature; Soviet-American contacts; travelogue; memoirs; Lillian Hellman; “The Unfinished Woman”; Raisa Orlova; IV Congress of Soviet Writers

Для цитирования:

Щербинина, О. И. Советский Союз в мемуарах Лилиан Хеллман / О. И. Щербинина // Philological Class. – 2021. – Vol. 26 ⋅ №4. – С. 284–290. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-04-25.

For citation

Shcherbinina, O. I. (2021). Soviet Union in Lillian Hellman’s Memoirs. In Philological Class. 2021. Vol. 26 ⋅ №4. P. 284–290. DOI 10.51762/1FK-2021-26-04-25.

About the author(s) :

Olga I. Shcherbinina

Lomonosov Moscow State University (Moscow, Russia)

Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (Moscow, Russia)


Publication Timeline:

Date of receipt: 10.05.2021; date of publication: 25.12.2021.


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