Ilya Ehrenburg Helen Muchnic - Essay

Helen Muchnic

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The title of Ehrenburg's [Memoirs: 1921–1941] in the original Russian is People, Years, Life, a title intentionally disjointed to serve notice that his work is not to be taken as history, but only as a collection of memories, unsystematically recorded by a private individual. Implicitly, it is the first of many disclaimers interspersed throughout his narrative…. (p. 343)

[Therefore, let Ehrenburg's] book be judged, as he requests, not as history but as confession. But what is meant by "confession"? Confession presupposes a confrontation of a man with his conscience, an acknowledgment of error, accompanied by a sense of guilt. And where in Mr. Ehrenburg's memoirs is there either...

(The entire section is 771 words.)