Olga Freidenberg

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Olga Freidenberg (March 15, 1890, Odessa - July 6 1955, Leningrad) was a Russian and Soviet classical philologist, one of the pioneers of cultural studies in Russia. She is also known as the cousin of the famous writer Boris Pasternak; their correspondence has been published and studied.


Olga Freidenberg graduated from a St. Petersburg gymnasium in 1908. Restricted in her ability to pursue university education as a woman and a Jew, she traveled through Europe studying foreign languages on her own. As World War I broke out, she returned to Russia and became a military nurse.

Later she graduated from Petrograd University in 1923 and wrote a Ph.D. thesis in 1924, on the origins of the ancient Greek Novel. In 1935 she was awarded the Russian highest scientific degree of Doctor of Science. During the Stalin era she was persecuted and her brother was arrested. In 1950, as part of the persecution of "rootless cosmopolitans" she was fired from the University where she had founded the chair of classical philology.


External Sources

Nina Perlina, Olga Freidenberg's Works and Days, Slavica Pub 2002, ISBN 978-0-89357-304-1.