chapter  29
11 Pages

Feeling Modern on the Russian Street

From Desire to Despair
WithMark D. Steinberg

This chapter looks at gender and the urban experience through the eyes of this first female journalist in Russia who had a regular newspaper column under her own byline, though people know nothing about her life outside what she revealed in her own columns. By describing the harm modern urban life inflicted on women's lives, including their intimate lives, Olga Gridina sought to shatter the myth of the modern city as a space of human progress. The chapter highlights and interprets key themes in her writing about urban experience: the promises of city life as a mirage, where disenchantment often led to suicide; sex and the self; and emotional experience as both evidence of modern condition and a critical and transformative tool. The street, especially the woman's street, was Gridina's beat. For Gridina, as for many writers at the time, the city was not only the epicentre of modern experience but also the key symbol with which to interpret modernity.