1 'I listen when they talk and I listen when they are silent': The polyphonic reality of Svetlana Aleksievich's Unwomanly Face of War On 8 October , the. Source: From War's Unwomanly Face, Progress Publishers, Translated: Keith Hammond and Lyudmilla Lezhneva Transcribed and HTML Markup: Sally. War's unwomanly face by Svetlana Aleksievich, , Progress Publishers edition, in English.
|Language:||English, Spanish, Indonesian|
|ePub File Size:||23.86 MB|
|PDF File Size:||18.21 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Register to download]|
Read The Unwomanly Face of War PDF - An Oral History of Women in World War II by Svetlana Alexievich Random House Trade Paperbacks. [Svetlana] Alexievich’s account of the second world war as seen through the eyes of hundreds of women is an extraordinary thing Alexievich presents less a straightforward oral history of World War II than a literary excavation of memory itself.”—The New York Times. World War, -- Women -- Soviet Union. World War, -- Personal narratives, Russian. Add tags for "War's unwomanly face".
All that we know about Woman is best described by the word "compassion". There are other words, too-sister, wife, friend and, the noblest of all, mother. But isn't compassion a part of all these concepts, their very substance, their purpose and their ultimate meaning? A woman is the giver of life, she safeguards life, so "Woman" and "life" are synonyms. But during the most terrible war of the 20th century a woman had to become a soldier.
The event was organised by the Open Library in St. She left Belarus soon after he came to power and lived in France and Germany for many years. She returned home in although Lukashenko was still in power. My granddaughter is growing up at home without me. I had never wanted to live forever in the West.
My work demands that I should be at home. The young are rebelling. They are all scared. The opposition is weak. But I am an old- fashioned woman and want to be at home.
In these five books I have encountered hundreds of stories of unbearable suffering. They also reveal the anxiety with which she has tried to find an answer to some basic questions: Why do we allow ourselves to endure so much pain and suffering? Why do we give in so easily? Her Belarusian father was an officer in the Soviet Army.
Aleksievich proudly recalls that her father was following the example of his own father who had taught in a village school in the same area. The small house was full of books. The times were tough and life hard but my parents tried their best to shield me from the unhappiness of daily life.
Of her three sons, only one returned home alive from the war. He was my father. Eleven of my distant relatives and their children were burnt alive by German soldiers either in their huts or in village churches. She heard these stories from the women in her family and in the village.
They weep and wail, sing their songs, and wail again. After graduating from the university she worked for a regional newspaper and taught, like her parents, in a village school. It took her a few years to find a job of a correspondent with the magazine Neman, the official mouthpiece of the Union of Belarusian Writers.
The quest for a narrative style appropriate for the stories she wanted to tell continued Then one day a book fell into her hands. In his writing she found the style she could adapt to tell her own stories. Adamovich released another book of testimonies after a few years. The Blockade Book was co-authored with Danil Granin and reproduced stories of people who had lived in Leningrad under-siege of the German army.
Excerpts of the book first appeared in the Moscow literary magazine Novyi Mir in and the whole book was published in Aleksievich also mentions, People at War, a book of testimonies published by Sofiya Fedorchenko, in which the Russian writer had reproduced her conversations with Russian soldiers who fought in the First World War.
It took Solzhenitsyn and his supporters more than ten years to compile the book. Although it is impossible to establish if Aleksievich knew about this daring endeavour, it is quite possible that she could have read one of the many samizdat self-printed copies that were most probably in circulation in the Soviet Union after Like her mentor Adamovich, Aleksievich also kept looking for a suitable narrative style.
But I look at the world through the eyes of a humanist and not that of a historian. I am enchanted by human beings.
She listens to them with utmost care and empathy. This is how she describes the process in the introduction to the Unwomanly Face of War: Tens of journeys across the land, hundreds of recorded cassettes with thousands of meters of tape recording. I have met over five hundred people; so many that I have lost count. I am forgetting their faces but I remember their voices. I hear them like a chorus. This is when the writer in her takes over.
The material is carefully selected and put together. In this process some material is invariably left out. What results from this exercise is a highly dense and concentrated image of the world she wants to recreate.
In her books she permits herself to outline her main ideas and to establish a general context but she resists commenting on or explaining words and stories of her interviewees. This is mainly because she is convinced that with time stories collected and retold by her will find new interpretations.
This is far from true.
Without him polyphony is impossible. Aleksievich in her books allows her protagonists freedom to speak and be heard. Her presence is critical. They are defined by the weight of moral imperative she carries on her shoulders.
She describes her task and intentions clearly. Each of her books begins with introductory notes and prologues. Often they also contain epilogues and appendices with additional material.
Her intentions are also reflected in the way the narrative in the books is structured and separated into chapters. The aim is to create a sustained emotional impact on the reader. But as soon as her interlocutors begin to speak themselves she makes her presence disappear. The interplay between her and the voices of her speakers is subtle. She wants us to read and hear their stories without interruption and interjection.
It took her almost seven years to write it. But the manuscript remained unpublished waiting for the censors to grant their approval.
It was published simultaneously in Russian and Belarusian. The same year a play based on the book premiered in the Taganka Theatre in Moscow. All testimonies come from women of differing ages and roles in the family as well as in the army. The book begins with a lengthy introduction which is polyphonic in structure as well as in voice. The first brief piece in the introduction is an excerpt from a conversation with a historian. It summarises salient moments in the tortured history of the writing of the book.
She wants to raise the question that Dostoevskii asked: The notes record her response to post-publication story of the book. The print run was two million copies. One of the most interesting section of the three is the one in which she gives an account of her conversation with the censoring authorities. A slander on our soldiers who liberated half of Europe. On our partisans. On our heroic people. The history of our victory.
The ideas of Marx and Lenin. They are grouped together in chapters to focus on one or two specific themes. The speaker of each testimony is clearly identified either at the beginning or the end of the testimony by her name e.
One of the characteristic features of the monologues is the way Aleksievich preserves its spoken-ness. Often the sentences and phrases remain incomplete, interrupted by dots. They need to be read aloud to grasp the full intensity of emotions expressed by the speakers. The presence of her voice can be guessed from brief two- or three-word long comments which remind me of extra-dialogic remarks we often see in written texts of plays.
Then — the war. My husband is at the front. There were tears all around… The war! How could I have given birth when the war was on? Alexievich presents less a straightforward oral history of World War II than a literary excavation of memory itself. Women did everything—this book reminds and reveals. They learned to pilot planes and drop bombs, to shoot targets from great distances.
Alexievich did an enormous service, recovering these stories. Alexievich never tries to simplify. Refusing to pass judgment, crediting all, she listens, suffers and brings to life. It took years and many miles of traveling to find and capture all the testimonies here.
We still end up feeling that we have been sitting at her side. With her, we hear the memories of partisans, guerrilla fighters trapped behind the lines. Listen to Alexievich. Sitting at kitchen tables, Alexievich coaxes out of the women stories that describe a reality vastly different from the officially sanctioned version.
They speak guardedly but vividly of fleeting encounters, deep relationships, unexpressed feelings. The introductory materials here, in which Alexievich quotes from the journals she kept while working on the project and from her later reflections and dealings with censors, are as compelling as the primary text. These voices, thanks to Alexievich, have themselves become part of history. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you download this book from your favorite retailer.
Read An Excerpt.
Paperback —. download the Audiobook Download: Apple Audible downpour eMusic audiobooks. Add to Cart. Also by Svetlana Alexievich. See all books by Svetlana Alexievich.
About Svetlana Alexievich Svetlana Alexievich was born in Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine, in and has spent most of her life in the Soviet Union and present-day Belarus, with prolonged periods of exile in Western Europe. Product Details. Inspired by Your Browsing History.
Related Articles. Looking for More Great Reads? Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now. Download Hi Res. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices.