Other relevant keywords: Aesthetics; Creativity; Personality; Social Conditioning; Society, Totalitarianism
Lidiya Ginzburg (1902–1990)
Lidiya Yakovlevna Ginzburg was a literary scholar, known as the most talented student of the Russian Formalists. She was also an author of innovative, analytical prose both philosophical and almost social-scientific, which inhabits the boundaries between the genres of autobiography and fiction. In witty sketches, aphorisms, and penetrating essays, she documented the life of the Leningrad Intelligentsia for almost the duration of the Soviet period, from the mid-1920s until her death in 1990. Ginzburg was a critical witness of her devastated generation, convinced of (as she put it) “the ineradicable nature of social evil and the illusoriness of the individual consciousness” (Notes from the Blockade 123). She was an atheist who searched for an ethical basis for the behavior and identity of the post-individualist self. Her essays constitute a dual search: for a new concept of the person adequate to twentieth-century catastrophic experience, and for a new form to accompany this concept.
Born in Odessa, Ginzburg moved to Petrograd and began studying with Yuri Tynianov, Boris Eikhenbaum, Viktor Shklovsky, and others in 1922 at the Institute for the History of the Arts. Her first article was on the notebooks of Alexander Pushkin’s contemporary Pyotr Viazemsky, a text that became her model for the project documenting her milieu. After 1930, when the Formalists came under Marxist attack and the Institute was shuttered, Ginzburg remained loyal to her intellectual tradition. Therefore, she was repeatedly denied a university position, piecing together a living through lecturing and publications. In 1933 she was jailed for two weeks in connection with a case against Viktor Zhirmunsky but remained at liberty to survive the 900-day Siege of Leningrad during the Second World War, when she worked at the radio station. During the anti-cosmopolitan campaign, Ginzburg reduced risk of arrest by accepting a post at the University of Petrozavodsk (1947–1950). At the end of 1952, she was brought in for questioning in a case against Boris Eikhenbaum; Stalin’s death on March 5, 1953 likely saved her life.
In 1957 Ginzburg finally managed to defend and publish her doctoral dissertation on Alexander Herzen’s My Past and Thoughts (Byloe i dumy Gertsena, 1852–1870). Her best-known scholarly works followed: On Lyric (O lirike, 1964), On Psychological Prose (O psikhologicheskoi proze,1971; 1977), and On the Literary Hero (O literaturnom geroe,1979). In the 1980s, she began publishing from her “conversation about life”—with a small selection of notes in 1982 (Novyi mir), followed by About the Old and the New (O starom i novom, 1982). Notes of a Blockade Person (Zapiski blokadnogo cheloveka), still her best-known narrative, came out in abbreviated form in 1984, and her Person at a Writing Table (Chelovek za pis’mennym stolom) in 1989. Numerous posthumous editions have appeared, the largest of which are Notebooks. Reminiscences. Essays from 2002 and Passing Characters. Prose of the War Years. Notes of a Blockade Person from 2011.
Aesthetic Activity, Modeling, Structure
Ginzburg saw aesthetic activity as a constant human endeavor, forming a continuum between everyday behavior and traditional artistic creation. One important area of aesthetic activity was the modeling of personality. As Ginzburg put it, these models were both “practical and aesthetic,” since:
… social interaction is possible only on the basis of some idea of the person we are dealing with; we need to identify the person, and we hasten to secure our dominant impression in words, thereby generalizing it. A practical and at the same time aesthetic requirement impels us to seek out a formula, a typological model based on a variety of features. It may be said of someone that he is “sanguine” or “melancholic,” that he is a “typical bureaucrat” or an “introspective personality,” that he is a “[Gogolian] Khlestakov” or a “Don Quixote,” and so on. (On Psychological Prose 12–13)
These models are not “psychological reality,” she specifies, but rather “conventional images” that may suppress certain emotions and experiences. Modeling of personality is aesthetic, according to Ginzburg, because its process is so like artistic creation: “there takes place a continuous selection, omission, and correlation of the elements of personality” (On Psychological Prose 12–13). Moreover, literature (especially in cultures with strong literary traditions such as Russia) has played an important role in providing models (think of Werther, Childe Harold, or Turgenev’s Bazarov). In On Psychological Prose and On the Literary Hero, she wrote in detail of the interactions of psychological roles, social roles, and epochal character: for example, Vissarion Belinsky works out, in letters, a historical character of a “new person” as an “inner psychological and ethical act” whereas Nikolai Chernyshevsky creates in his novels an intentional type with mass appeal—a nihilist (O literaturnom geroe 46–50; see also: “Literatura v poiskakh real’nosti” 56).
Just as with personalities and self-images, biographies or stories built from life events (even if unwritten) have aesthetic potential. Here Ginzburg goes a step further than Grigory Vinokur, who in Biography and Culture (Biografiia i kul’tura, 1927) wrote of biography as having structural and expressive aspects, without conceiving of these as necessarily aesthetic (Ginzburg, “Ob istorizme i strukturnosti” 83). In order to perceive this aesthetic basis, one had to become aware of the biographical connection as a kind of “life theme, idea” and to conceive of acts, experiences, events as an inseparable part of this life theme (“Ob istorizme i strukturnosti” 83–84). Famous examples include Lord Byron’s death, the duel and death of Alexander Pushkin in 1837, and Lev Tolstoy’s departure from Yasnaya Polyana in 1910. But any life can become “a model of basic human collisions and conflicts. Then the accidental receives motivation and becomes expressive” (“Ob istorizme i strukturnosti” 84).
Ginzburg perceived fluidity between life and literature, but also detected an aesthetic hierarchy. The aesthetic is structured in a chain: first external and internal events, then our conceptions of them, then their oral expression in material traces, finally the synoptic compositions of biography, autobiography, and memoir. Painters and gardeners also organize living material (whether for a still life or for a landscape), but verbal arts stand apart, since words form a continuum between the “real life and the literary modeling of a person.” This “nonstop verbalization of life forms the condition of commensurability between modeling of a person in life and literature” (“Ob istorizme i strukturnosti” 86).
When writing about literature, with a focus on the rise of Russian psychological realism and its culmination in Tolstoy’s novels (which reach beyond character to depict “life in general”), Ginzburg revealed her judgements of the experiments of the French noveau roman of the 1950s and 60s. Writers in this movement attempted something “opposed to the very nature of art”: to depict “more or less pure processes, processes that were, so to speak, deprived of individuation, that were something like an ideal of pure fluidity” (On Psychological Prose 222). This task was impossible because art is “meaningful and generalizing form. Discourse itself is already a suspension of flux and a mastering of chaos” (222). When French new novelists got rid of named characters, they replaced them with pronouns, proving that “whenever one structural link is destroyed in art, another at once emerges to take its place.” So, remove literary character, and “structural features inevitably attach” to something else, here to the “process itself” as the object of depiction (222).
Documentary Prose, In-between Literature, a Dual Conversation
Ginzburg studied and theorized what she called “in-between literature” (promezhutochnaia literatura). Her book On Psychological Prose shows how the great Russian psychological novel grew out of the insights developed in letters and human documents of the 1830s–40s (of Nikolai Stankevich, Mikhail Bakunin, and Vissarion Belinsky). Memoirs, diaries, letters, and other forms of documentary literature are often vanguard uncoverers of the human psyche, because of their relative freedom from literary canon. This idea somewhat resembles Yuri Lotman’s notion of the productivity of the periphery (see the section on Contingency and Creativity in the Lotman entry).
Ginzburg posits that what unites memoir, confessions, and other forms of self-writing is their “orientation toward authenticity,” which is “far and away from always being the same thing as factual exactitude” (On Psychological Prose 6). Documentary and artistic prose differ in conception and design in that “artistic invention generates its structural world” whereas “a biographical conception builds its world from given extra-aesthetic elements” (“Ob istorizme i strukturnosti” 84). Thus, she writes, the process of image formation is in opposite directions, in fiction versus documentary literature. The memoirist:
… cannot create the things and events that are most convenient to him. Events are given to him, and he must reveal in them the latent energy of historical, philosophical, and psychological generalizations, thereby transforming them into the signs of those generalizations. He paves the way from the fact to its significance. And aesthetic life is thereby awakened in the fact; it becomes the form, the image, the representation of an idea. […] The two ways of writing are at once different modes of generalization and cognition and different ways of constructing artistic symbolism. (On Psychological Prose 7–8)
The specific experience of reading a documentary text is in the sense of “dual cognition and a twofold emotion,” [ . . . ] in the commensurability yet incomplete congruence of two different levels: that of real-life experience and that of its aesthetic interpretation” (On Psychological Prose 8).
Ginzburg wrote also about lyric poetry, which is similar to documentary prose in its “open inclusion” of the author, but quite at the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of the shaping force of the canon: “No art exists outside of tradition, but there’s no kind of verbal art in which tradition is as powerful, stubborn, difficult to overcome, as in lyric” (O lirike 10–13). She discusses poetic context as structure, and the aesthetic unity of context as lending the word a multi-layeredness, the potential for meaning, and unexpected significance. What explains literary evolution in poetry is that, like all art, it is a form of cognition (10–13).
History and Character
Ginzburg described herself as primarily a pupil of Tynianov, who together with Roman Jakobson had initiated the turn in the later years of Formalism towards studying the diachronic aspects of structure in texts. (She also attended Eikhenbaum’s home seminars at the time of his development of the study of literary environment, a sociology of literature not to be confused with the vulgar sociologism of the Marxist-Leninists.)
While as a scholar Ginzburg paid attention to historical processes and contexts, it was in her notebooks that she studied how history made her contemporaries, how they chose their personalities and fates from the options available to them. Ginzburg reminds us that a “person cannot invent for himself a non-existent form of behavior, but he can choose his historical character from the models that history has prepared” (Zapisnye knizhki 351). It is only within these parameters that one can select one’s behavior based on motives that are “social and biological, conscious and unconscious, law-governed and fortuitous” (351). Ginzburg also sees the individual actor as having some degree of influence. Thus, while she agrees with theories of functional sociology about how people receive their social roles in line with the expectations of their milieu, she maintains that “social roles are also forms of acting on one’s milieu” (351).
Beginning in the early 1930s, she attempted to understand how her contemporaries crafted themselves in response to external demands and changing situations—especially, how they responded to the demand to be either “for” or “against” the legal order (Stalinism), when being a fellow-traveler was no longer an option (drafts written in the 1930s form the basis for her 1980 essay “At One with the Legal Order”). She noticed the thirst for participation in contemporaries such as Boris Pasternak, and indeed felt this keenly herself, even as she refused to endorse the new order. For years she had a self-perception as a failure, as someone unneeded by the system, and barred from meaningful social participation. In her later essay “A Meeting” (1974–75), Ginzburg examines through several illustrations how differences in behavior and personality affect a person’s fulfillment of a “positive” historical role. For example, two of her characters (unpublished manuscripts reveal their identities as Vladimir Orlov, an “organizer” and Grigory Gukovsky, a “charmer”) have essentially positive personality traits (kindness, sympathy for others) and negative behaviors produced by their thirst for self-realization (writing slanderous introductions in Orlov’s case), but essentially positive historical functions (valuable work in the literary and academic spheres).
Social Conditioning of the Self, Moral Responsibility
Ginzburg’s book On Psychological Prose discusses Tolstoy’s attempt (in the epilogue to War and Peace, for example) to resolve the contradiction between the utter social conditioning (sotsial’naia obuslovlennost’) of the individual and “the all-encompassing range of individual responsibility” (which seems to depend on an awareness of freedom) (On Psychological Prose 340). In her own prose, she examined questions of conditioning alongside those of ethical responsibility, in a twentieth-century context (see Gustafson). She noted how totalitarian pressures had “ground down the personal qualities of human beings. Inherent to the Stalin era was the unification of behavior when people were faced with the threat of torture and punishment” (Zapisnye knizhki 345).
As an atheist, Ginzburg joined a broad movement of nonreligious ethics in the wake of Schopenhauer, trying “to establish fresh criteria of value and fresh principles of individual human behavior—to discover, in other words, the reasons for their necessity.” For her, as for so many post-war intellectuals (from Jean-Paul Sartre to Vasily Grossman to Varlam Shalamov), the catastrophic experiences of the twentieth century placed certain ethical demands on writers to talk “about how ever to survive and endure without losing one’s human image” (Zapisnye knizhki 198). Ginzburg suggests that ethics is, in the final analysis, the core content of literary activity, because literature “is concerned with characteristics, personalities, and actions—with every conceivable form of generalized human behavior. And whenever behavior is involved, all basic life values become ethical values” (On Psychological Prose 318).
Ginzburg defines the typical twentieth-century person as “immanent,” meaning that they “lack unconditional values that are posited externally. Their values (and without values no one can act) are either given them by the rules of [social] community, or are the outcome of their own inclinations, talents and abilities” (“Delusion of the Will” 583). In this context, instead of individualism, Ginzburg argues, “What turns out to be definitive is a person’s social role” (“On Free and Compulsory Conflict,” Zapisnye knizhki 319). Therefore, “the good” represents no more than the internalized values of one’s own reference group and a function of one’s social role (O literaturnom geroe 135). She also writes here that it is the social role that prevents the “typical person” from saying that “everything is permitted,” because a person is “governed by the mechanism of socialization, internalization, expectations, prohibitions, the values of his milieu, of his ‘reference group’” (O literaturnom geroe 135). Ginzburg thought that French existentialism, which justifiably understood “pointlessness” as the “fundamental principle of consciousness” (Camus, The Stranger) went too far with its “heroic affirmation of existence” (The Myth of Sisyphus). For her, it was the “network of values” (sviaznaia sistema sotisal’nykh tsennostei) laid over the “incomprehensible chaos and confusion of sensory experience” that could justify life (“Around Notes from the Blockade”). “Social man lives by the risky act of personally realizing the communal,” she writes. “Freedom, the homeland, science, art, love, the family, honor” are all examples of communal values, and all are “dangerous things” because sacrifice is “the condition of use” (“Around Notes from the Blockade,” 93–4).
Ginzburg regards herself and her contemporaries as “situational people,” that is, as fluid arrangements of contradictory qualities, adaptable to changing environments. Thus the only consistent attribute of a person was his will to self-realization (realizatsia cheloveka, realizatsia tsennostei, tvorcheskaia realizatsiia, sotsial’naia realizatsiia) or self-assertion (samo-utverzhdenie) in any given situation, in the midst of which he might pick his values rather opportunistically. As she wrote in 1979, “a person is not a static arrangement assembled from contradictory parts (still less is he one of a piece). The person is an arrangement of changing goals and, depending on these goals, he makes his move from one sphere of value into another, seeking self-fulfillment in each of them” (“Generation at a Turning Point” 282). She defines self-realization as the maximum that a person can achieve, the highest possible fulfillment of one’s talents and abilities within a real environment with its inevitable obstacles, often accompanied by a feeling of social validation (but which may prompt a defensive posture—conscious or unconscious—against things one cannot achieve) (“What is a line?,” Zapisnye knizhki 149–150). In the blockade years (during the Second World War), Ginzburg writes: “a person asserts themselves always, with the exception of those cases when suffering or fear are so strong that they leave him only with the desire to rid himself of suffering and fear” (Prokhodiashchie kharaktery 60).
Ginzburg looked at conversation in life, and at dialogue in literature through the same lens of self-assertion: “Above all, conversation with one’s fellow human being is a most powerful medium of self-assertion, a declaration of one’s personal value. Utterance achieves realization and a social existence – this is one of the basic laws of behavior” (Notes from the Blockade 42). Her approach, as Andrei Zorin has noted, was rather the opposite of Mikhail Bakhtin and Maxim Voloshinov (with whom Ginzburg nevertheless shared the idea of the social conditionedness of consciousness), who found dialogue within every monologue. Ginzburg discovered monologue in every pseudo-dialogue: speakers listen in order to respond, but their primary goal is self-assertion (Zorin 57). She also saw conversation as “a vague prototype of art, also a special sort of reality, where a person himself creates and destroys the objects which inhabit it.” It was a strange combination of freedom and determinism, of individuality and social conditioning. Those in conversation might think of themselves as free, but “the course of a conversation is, in its way, determined” (Notes from the Blockade 42).
Totalitarianism: the Leviathan
Out of her experiences of both the Terror and the Blockade, Ginzburg wrote about the conditions of absolute unfreedom in a totalitarian state. In the theoretical section of Notes from the Blockade (drafted 1943–45, published in revised form as “Around Notes from the Blockade,” 1989), she adopted Hobbes’s metaphor, the Leviathan (1651) to describe the “all-powerful state,” which “possesses various kinds of wards: those who think the same, those who think differently and those who don’t think at all.” “Various social and psychological forms” existed for their interrelationships:
A coincidence of aspirations, conscious or instinctive is possible; resistance is possible, also conscious or instinctive. A combination of absolute power and the absolute egoism of the person subject to it shows us a peculiar, theoretically valuable aspect of social psychology. They are attached to one another and at the same time, impervious to one another.
There are many gradations here too—from the position of the snob, with his illusions of inner independence, to the condition of the slave, the most egoistic state of all. Who is more egoistical than a rower permanently chained to the hull of a galley? Every objective element of life is taken from him; all that is left to him is his suffering body. The egoism of slaves is overshadowed by the intensity of their suffering and the paltriness of their desires and goals, but it is, essentially, limitless. (Notes from the Blockade 88)
By this strange paradox, that the slave is condemned to egoism, Ginzburg seemed to mean that the ward of the Leviathan has no task beyond bare physical survival. Therefore, any kind of intellectual or social contributions or initiatives are beside the point. In the blockade period her pseudo-autobiographical subject dreams that after the war, he will find value in some larger collective, for example in a “new citizenship.” But unfortunately, as Ginzburg learns, the victorious Soviet state entered “a new debauch of social evil” (the anti-cosmopolitan campaign) (Notes from the Blockade 118).
Nevertheless, even desk-drawer writing seems to have become a means of overcoming a sense of powerlessness by establishing a conscious relationship to social evil and to death. A person or “ward” may not be able to control how he or she will be used by the “Leviathan,” but he or she can decide how to think (and, secretly, write) about it.
The Ethics of Creativity, Community, and Distancing
In her 1960s essay “On Satire and Analysis,” Ginzburg defines the ethical act as the “sacrifice of the lower for the sake of the higher,” an overcoming or sublimation of “basic desires” in the service of higher values, determined as such by one’s social milieu (Zapisnye knizhki 251–252). Ginzburg’s central statement on art, ethics, and creativity focuses on her concept of immanence:
A person withdraws into the self, in order to exit from self (and the exit from self is the core of the ethical act). A person seeks within his very self what is higher than that self. He then finds the undeniable facts of inner experience—love, sympathy, creativity—in his immanence [i.e. they are immanent to him], but these facts still do not quench his thirst for finding the ultimate grounds for them in society. (Zapisnye knizhki 253)
The creative act, inspired by immanent impulses, is an ethical act, because the artist moves beyond basic, selfish needs in order to provide others with something of value. This could be true even of desk-drawer writings, like her own (which remained unpublished for decades). Ginzburg believed that our writings survive us, independently of our wishes. Where the writing of history is concerned, there is a special area of ethics that applies to the “creative person”; the past is “something the creative person does not have the right to allow to disappear without a trace” (On Psychological Prose 217).
Ginzburg asserts that community exists as a reality (in the same way as egoism), and that it is received through language in one’s first socialization:
The sense of community exists—conscious or unconscious, strong or weak, erected into a religious dogma or tentative because of its own illogicality. People receive this primary element of their own social structure, along with all the sign systems, which make up their cultural consciousness, together with language (i.e. thinking)—as a bearer of common meanings. A person accepts this enormous communal content, in order, through his own precarious life, to bring about changes, great or small; ultimately they are small compared with the totality. (Notes from the Blockade 91)
In a war-era draft of this passage, Ginzburg had written simply that “Culture is a phenomenon of connection [kul’tura – iavlenie sviazi]. The word is the condition of the spiritual life of a person—it is a factor of association”(Draft Theoretical Section of “Otter’s Day” 122). Connections (even physical connections such as the tram to the city center, or water lines) are an uplifting force in the blockade texts, where isolation can equal not only egoism, but also death. Still, Ginzburg is aware that the civilization (or the state that brought you electricity, transportation, plumbing) may always demand a sacrifice from you in return. For example, she writes: “The cruelty and self-interest of the collective also demand sacrifices from the individual, even total sacrifice (as demonstrated by fascism)” (Notes from the Blockade 91).
The emphasis on moving outside the self that one finds in Ginzburg’s definition of art mirrors her narrative techniques of self-distancing. This technique reached its height in Ginzburg’s blockade writings. The harsh physical and social realities of blockade life could make it especially difficult to adhere to one’s moral routine. Thus one had to make a special effort to connect one’s discrete acts and feelings into a system or whole, and to adopt a somewhat distanced, observer’s point of view. In the self-distanced narratives about guilt, Ginzburg’s autobiographical other performs psychological analysis of his past actions with the goal of moral evaluation (even deeds that have no witness, such as verbal abuse in one’s isolated apartment, must be accounted for and connected to the sense of oneself). She often observed and experienced the reverse process, where a person would view herself from within, and disown immoral deeds (such as stealing food, or worse) as “temporary and accidental.” She describes an intellectual for whom “the deed bore no relationship to his general understanding of life, and therefore could make no impact on the ethical conceptions and values that had been worked out by his whole biography. He sees himself from the inside, and he sees his act as estranged from his permanent human essence” (Prokhodiashchie kharaktery 186). In moments of adversity, even a person with a capacity to regard himself from the outside and to attain a sense of his biography, weakens and insulates his sense of “life in general” so that it cannot be touched or modified by any “isolated” incident. To view the self as other, through the technique of distancing, provides a more exact, complete sense of one’s “permanent human essence.” Ginzburg uses this same technique in her semi-fictional account of mother’s death in the blockade, “A Story of Pity and Cruelty” (“Rasskaz o zhalosti i o zhestokosti,” circa 1942–3, first published 2011 in Prokhodiashchie kharaktery).
Many of Ginzburg’s most memorable contributions to our understanding of Russian culture come in the form of the aphorisms recorded in her notebooks. These include her characterization of taboos and silence in the terror: “No one speaks about what’s not spoken about” (Nikto ne govorit o tom, o chem ne govoriat); of the exit from starvation in the blockade: “The well-fed do not understand the hungry, themselves included.”; of the situation of a Soviet writer in a totalitarian state: “In conditions of absolute unfreedom, it is very difficult and very easy to be brave. For everything is bravery, every unregulated breath is bravery” (Prokhodiashchie kharaktery 82). Ginzburg wrote about death, aging, and love: for example, “Practice has shown that love as such—love in pure form—is a passing condition. It must be attached to other material, not only in order to become durable, but simply in order to become bearable” (“Conversations about Love” 350). She captured portraits of myriad Leningrad poets and intellectuals such as Mandelstam (whose everyday gestures were surprisingly impractical), Mayakovsky (who in life knew only “how to love and how to write poems” [Zapisnye knizhki 128]), or Akhmatova (who when speaking to aspiring poets always felt she was like a doctor who had to inform her patients that they had cancer). All of this constitutes part of her more than six decades of documenting the Soviet experience (particularly of the Leningrad intelligentsia), seeking to understand the connections between history and character. It remains to the reader to discover her varied cultural, anthropological, and historical insights of Soviet intelligentsia life in her notebooks and narratives, most of which still await translation.
Emily Van Buskirk, September 2021
Ginzburg, Lidiia. “Literatura v poiskakh real’nosti,” in Literatura v poiskakh real’nosti. Leningrad: Sovietskii pisatel’, 1987, 4–57.
—. O literaturnom geroe. Leningrad: Sovetskii pisatel’, 1979.
—. “Ob istorizme i strukturnosti,” in Literatura v poiskakh real’nosti, 75–86.
—. Prokhodiashchie kharaktery. Zapiski blokadnogo cheloveka. Proza voennykh let. Ed. Emily Van Buskirk and Andrei Zorin. Moscow: Novoe izdatel’stvo, 2011.
Ginzburg, Lydia. “Conversations about Love.” Lydia Ginzburg’s Alternative Literary Identities: A Collection of Articles and New Translations. Ed. Emily Van Buskirk with Andrei Zorin. Oxford: Peter Lang AG, 2012, 343–352.
—. “Delusion of the Will.” “Zabluzhdenie voli” in Zapisnye knizhki. Vospominaniia. Esse, 583–610. [Available in English translation: “Conscience Deluded.” In Present Imperfect: Stories by Russian Women, edited by Ayesha Kagal and Nataliia Perova, introduction by Helena Goscilo. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996, 41–68.]
—. Draft Theoretical Section of “Otter’s Day,” 1943-45. Trans. Emily Van Buskirk. In Notes from the Blockade. Random House: Vintage, 2016., 117–128.
—. Notes from the Blockade. Trans. Alan Myers. Ed. Emily Van Buskirk. Random House: Vintage, 2016.
—. On Psychological Prose. Trans. and ed. Judson Rosengrant. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991.
—. Zapisnye knizhki. Vospominaniia. Esse. Saint Petersburg: Iskusstvo-SPb, 2002.
Gustafson, Richard F. “Lidiia Ginzburg and Tolstoi.” Canadian-American Slavic Studies 28, 2–3 (Summer–Fall 1994): 204–15.
Zorin, Andrei. “Proza L.Ia. Ginzburg i gumanitarnaia mysl’ XX veka,” Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie 2005 (6): 45–68.