Scripting the revolutionary worker autobiography: Archetypes, models, inventions, and markets

Diane P. Koenker

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This essay offers approaches to reading worker autobiographies as a genre as well as source of historical "data". It focuses primarily on one example of worker narrative, the autobiographical notes of Eduard M. Dune, recounting his experiences in the Russian Revolution and civil war, and argues that such texts cannot be utilized even as "data" without also appreciating the ways in which they were shaped and constructed. The article proposes some ways to examine the cultural constructions of such documents, to offer a preliminary typology of lower-class autobiographical statements for Russia and the Soviet Union, and to offer some suggestions for bringing together the skills of literary scholars and historians to the task of reading workers' autobiographies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-400+575+577+579
JournalInternational Review of Social History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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