Female everyday life in letters by a Karelian peasant woman of the early XX century
Olga P. Ilyukha
Institute of Linguistics, Literature and History,
Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences,
Introduction. The article reports the results of an analysis of the letters written by a peasant early in the XX century, found in the National Archives of Finland, which are a rare-type of historical source. Their author is a twenty-year-old peasant Anna Eremeeva-Räikha, who wrote them to her husband exiled to North Kazakhstan. The relevance of the study is defined by high interest to epistolary cultural heritage, where a special place is given to the letters of Russian’s different ethnic groups, and also by attention paid to the history of everyday life.
Materials and Methods. The principal method was analysis of the structure of the letters, including identification of thematic block sequences and their subsequent clustering for the analysis of specific issues.
Results and Discussion. The article explicates the substantive dimension of the letters, which reflects the sphere of interests of their author, and looks into the descriptions of women’s daily routines and the life of the Karelian family. It highlights the range of covered subjects and outlines the topics showing the routines and the behavioral practices of a peasant woman, her ways of adapting to the new circumstances after the husband’s arrest. The specific jobs and occupations are aligned with the farming calendar of northern Karelia. Features of the author’s self-presentation, ways of structuring and drawing up the texts are demonstrated. The study illustrates the range of topics and emotions rooted in the gender factor, and the diversity of their expression.
Conclusion. The letters disclose the system of moral values of a Karelian woman, the Christian ideal of family relationships, special features of professional motivations. The “voice” of a Karelian peasant woman retained in these letters is a relevant source for studying the alteration of women’s everyday life early in the XX century and it allows talking about the maturing demand for emancipation in everyday life and gradual loosening of the traditional gender order in the Karelian village.
Keywords: Karelian culture, ethnic history of Russia, history of everyday life, gender, epistolary heritage
Acknowledgments: The article was prepared under state assignment of Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
For citation: Ilyukha OP. Female everyday life in letters by a Karelian peasant woman of the early XX century. Finno-ugorskii mir = Finno-Ugric World. 2021;13;4:379–393. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.15507/2076-2577.013.2021.04.379-393.
Information about the author
O. P. Ilyukha – Doctor of History, Lead Research Fellow, Department of History, Institute of Linguistics, Literature and History, Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, firstname.lastname@example.org, https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1672-5925