The Construction of a New Émigré Self in 20th-century Russian Paris in Short Stories by Nadezhda Teffi


  • Natalia Starostina Young Harris College


My paper will address the construction of the émigré “self” and the question of subjectivity in the writing of Elsa Triolet (1896-1970), Irène Némirovsky (1903–1942), and Nadezhda Teffi (1872-1952), Russian émigrés. These writers faced a necessity to operate in a new cultural milieu, language barriers (switching from Russian to French), nostalgia, alienation, gender biases, and a need to create the new sense of the self. The article will show the importance of a new émigré network which the Russian émigrés created, the rise of literary and artistic salons that sought to revive the glory of the Russian silver age, and the creation of the new émigré identity that whimsically integrated the experience of Passy, the memories and mythologies of the Old Regime in Russia, nostalgia over the Belle Époque, and efforts to integrate some elements of modern Parisian lifestyle.