Monday, July 6, 2015

Case Study No. 2070: Unnamed Female Librarian (The Idealist)

The Idealist
A play by Aleksandr Volodin
Tags: librarians broadway idealist
Added: 6 months ago
From: ToonLib
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Our library traces its genealogy from 1926.
It's true, at that time we weren't located in this building, but a little way from here, in a little old church.
However, it was a library in name only.
They gave me the key for the church door.
When I came here the first time, the books were piled up so high that the door couldn't be opened.
No catalog, no forms ... nothing.

The Idealist - A Soviet librarian's work and life
by Aleksandr Volodin



In a work that reads more like a short story than a play, the narrator (an unnamed Soviet librarian) reflects on her life and work in her small library from the 1920s to the present. To illustrate her durability, both on the job and in her thinking, the author presents her meeting with one of her first patrons at various times in his career, from student to postwar persona non grata with the authorities to present-day prominent scholar.

In a nice conclusion, the librarian greets the scholar's adolescent son, who has come to use the library. The boy is "self-confident about what he doesn't understand ... and at the same time knows what I don't knwo and can barely hope to learn."

The librarian observes that, in hard times, she could have "lost faith in everything," but she did not; her quotation of Pushkin ("Greetings, young, unknown generation!") suggests why she did not.

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