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say loudly

Natalya Baranskaya

Natalya Vladimirovna Baranskaya (Наталья Владимировна Баранская; 1908-2004) was a Soviet writer of short stories or novellas. She was born in 1908 in Russia, and graduated in 1929 from Moscow State University with degrees in philology and ethnology. After the war, while she raised two children alone since her husband was killed in 1943. She also attend post-graduate school part-time and earned yet another degree. She spent the majority of her career working the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and did not begin the majority of her writing career after her retirement in 1966.

Published Works

“A Week Like Any Other” (1968)

Published in the Novy Mir in 1969. Not published in English until 1990.

Her work captures the day-to-day activities of a typical Soviet woman through Olya. Baranskaya was applauded by many Soviet women who read her work. However Baranskaya never intended a week like any other to be a work of feminism. A married mother of two young children, Olya tries to balance her responsibilities to her career as a scientist and also to her family. Her daily life gives the readers some insight into the role of women in the Soviet Union. After the revolution, women were expected to both maintain the traditional womanly duties of homemaker as well as furthering the Soviet society through managing a career. Baranskaya makes it clear that the husbands did not play a major role in the home. At one point, Dima, Olya’s husband feeds the two children bread and jam when Olya is not home in time to make a proper supper. While the women may have had the opportunity to leave the home for the work place, it seems more a sense of duty the Soviet Union, than a choice to explore non-traditional avenues.

Memorable Quotes

“We’ve done an enormous amount to liberate women, and there is absolutely no reason not to believe in the desire and will to do more.” –Maria Matveyevna.

“I’ve lost seventy-eight days, almost a third of my whole working time, in sick days and certificates. And all because of the children. Everybody copies out their days and so can see what everybody else has got. I don’t understand why I feel so awkward, even ashamed. I shrink, avoid looking at people. Why? I’m not guilty of anything.” –Olya

“As I pass by I say loudly: ‘Incidentally, I’ve got a degree as well, you know, I’m just as highly trained as you are.’ ‘Congratulations,’ Dima Replies.”

References

  • An Anthology of Russian Women's Writing, 1777-1992. Contributors: Catriona Kelly - editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of Publication: Oxford. Publication Year: 1998. p397.
  • Book Reviews: A Week Like Any Other: Novellas and Other Short Stories. By Natalia Baranskaya. Kueglman. Seattle, WA. Seal Press, 1989. pp93-94.
  • The Nation. Katrina Vanden Heuvel. "Glasnost for Women?" June 4th, 1990. p775.

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