Boyarinova P. A. Nadezhda Durova: phenomenon of gender trouble in Russia in the first half of the XIX c. pp.57-68

This article covers the myth which was formed in the first half of the XIX c. around Nadezhda Durova, the first Russian amazon. To analyse Durova’s biography and Russian society’s attitude towards sex-gender mismatch. J. Butler’s construct of gender trouble is being used. This methodology examines Durova’s and Alexandrov’s social identity splitted into two binary oppositions.
The author distinguishes three stages in myth formation about Nadezhda Durova. The first period includes Durova’s military service including the Patriotic War of 1812. This phase involves a conscious creation of male identity instead of a female one. The second period is “exposure” and it is connected with publication of “The Cavalry Maiden notes” in 1836. During this period Nadezhda Durova’s image is being formed in St. Petersburg high society. The third period describes Nadezhda’s secluded life in Yelabuga. It can be considered as response to provincial people reaction towards this case of sex-gender mismatch; Durova continued performing the male identity and refused to adopt a female behavior model.
The article raises a question about mechanisms which provided existence of a person with sex-gender mismatch in Russian society of XIX c. Presumably, social identity of the “man at the service” who subordinated only to the Emperor played more significant role than gender hierarchy. However, the creation of a male officer identity required total and ultimate abandonment of female identity with no possibility of in PDF>>>