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Q: russian emigres in Paris 1924 -1939 ( No Answer,   1 Comment )
Subject: russian emigres in Paris 1924 -1939
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: gaucho34-ga
List Price: $45.00
Posted: 04 Jun 2003 13:03 PDT
Expires: 04 Jul 2003 13:03 PDT
Question ID: 213079
would it be likely that a young woman would travel on her own in teh
twenties, make her own way out of Russia to Prague or Paris and be
able to make (or appear to make) a life there? Did anyone,
historically, do it?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 05 Jun 2003 14:48 PDT
Many women did exactly as you described, but I'm not sure they're who
you are looking for.  Most of the stories of people's lives are of
relatively well-known individuals.  Russian women in the 1920's and
1930's who were writers, artists, scientists, etc. may well have
travelled on their own to Paris or Prague to study, and many of them
already had the means to "make a life" in those cities.

Are these the types of individuals that are of interest to you?  Or
are you looking more for the poor emigre who struggled every day to
get by.  Undoubtedly, there were many travellers of that description
as well, but it would be unusual for the story of their lives to
somehow be retreivable 70 or 80 years later.

If the stories of more well-off travellers are of interest though,
perhaps I can uncover some for you.

Clarification of Question by gaucho34-ga on 05 Jun 2003 15:48 PDT
This is a work of fiction.  I have a character of a young woman, the
daughter of a (deceased) Russian musicologist, who emigrates to Paris,
 where she has a variety of experiences with different kinds of emigre
groups- some  artistic, some political. I have been told that it is
unlikely that a young woman in her early twenties would travel  alone
as an emigree. I also would like to know in practical terms how such 
a person would make a life for herself at the beginning, as a
stateless person,  aside from family conenctionms. She does not have
any particular talent,but she must have some skill that would make her
useful to others in the community. I hope that is clearer - I have
only begun the work, but I know I want someone young, intelligent, and
above all, fluid, if that makes sense. I have read, in Nina
Berberova's book, about the struggles of educated people who
emigrated, and I guess I want someone who is more or less of that
class, with some resources but not great wealth.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: russian emigres in Paris 1924 -1939
From: npscott-ga on 28 Jun 2003 22:35 PDT
You have a ton of research to do.

I'm not certain 'likehood' need concern you.  The world is composed of
unique individuals.  It is not beyond belief that, in the entire
population of Russia between 1924-39, one could find one woman who
would be adventureous, flee to Paris or Prague, and travel with
nothing but the clothes on her body, and wits.

If you define her character, then what flows from it--including
something no other woman of that era would do--will be credible.

Want to be certain?  Try the French archives and look at the
immigrants who arrived during this period.  Is there a woman among
them as you describe?

But, once having established her character; part of your work will be
to research the time-period accurately.  The clothes, the customs (of
two different societies, not to mention different classes within each
society!) the machines, etc. You don't want her checking her
palmpilot, or straightening the seam of her nylon stocking on
Christmas Day, 1934, when nylon hosiery wasn't produced until 1938.

There are books for authors, written by researchers, which have
complied details about periods and cultures.  There might be one for
1920s-1930s Russian and France.

Your plot shows a creative imagination.  If you can write as well as
you can dream; you have a very readable (and saleable) book in your
future.  Good Luck.

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