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Emma Gerstein (1903–2002)

Author of Moscow Memoirs

Includes the names: Ė. Gershteĭn, Emma Gershtein

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Emma Gerstein was born in what is now Daugavpils, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire. Her father was a surgeon who became head physician at a Moscow hospital. After graduating from Moscow State University, she held a series of unsatisfactory office jobs. Towards the end of the 1920s, she attempted suicide, and was sent to recuperate at a sanatorium where she met the poet Osip Mandelstam and his wife Nadezhda. Her relationship with the Mandelstams and their circle formed the background to the rest of Emma's life. She became a literary scholar and researcher, renowned especially for her work on Mikhail Lermontov. Emma's book Moscow Memoirs (1998), a collection of different memoirs first published between 1986 and 1998, shocked Russians with its revelations about her own sexuality and her stories about the Mandelstams.
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