UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


Journey into the Whirlwind by way of L’viv

17 December 2018, 6:00 pm–8:00 pm


Journey into the Whirlwind by way of L’viv: Dagny Juel, Debora Vogel and Evgeniya Ginzburg in the drama of the 20th century

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Central Europe Seminar Series


16 Taviton Street

The lecture will discuss the making of three distinguished, but very different female authors who are connected to the city of L’viv. In 1893, the Norwegian writer Dagny Juel married the Polish writer Stanisław Przybyszewski and became a decadent cultural hero whose writings and life would be profoundly affected by fin-de-siecle apocalyptic ideas: the city of L’viv would play an important part in her stormy biography. Debora Vogel, an Austrian Jewish writer, survived the collapse of her homeland (the Habsburg Empire) when she was 18, but the new geopolitical situation brought new opportunities: study at the philosophical faculty of L’viv university (which had not accepted women prior to World War I), a doctoral defence in Kraków, and a profound rethinking of the opposition between innovation and tradition. She learned Yiddish as an adult and began to write decidedly modern text in poetry and prose, publishing on two continents, and became the co-founder and an intellectual driving force behind the avant-garde ‘Artes’ group. She was killed in L’viv together with her mother, husband and son during the liquidation of the ghetto in August 1942. Evgenia Ginzburg came to Soviet L’viv after 18 years of Gulag and exile. It was in L’viv that she wrote her autobiographical novel Journey into the Whirlwind, which, in its powerful descriptions of the suffering of a woman in a totalitarian system, had no contemporary equivalents in European literature. The text was published in Italy the original, and then in several translations, 10 years before Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago. The talk will discuss these women’s legacy in various cultures, the connections their writings have with the genius loci of L’viv and Galicia, and examine how their works became a field of battle with difficult times.

The event is organised in collaboration with the Ukrainian Institute in London
This event is free and open to all, registration is not compulsory, but the Ukrainian Institute requests that you register at this link

About the Speaker

Dr. Iryna Starovoyt

Associate Professor at Ukrainian Catholic University, L'viv

Dr Iryna Starovoyt is an Associate Professor of Cultural Studies Department at the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) in Lviv (Ukraine) and co-editor of "Ukraina moderna" - uamoderna.com. She has been a guest lecturer at the Higher East European School in Przemysl, Poland (2008-10) and Greifswald University, Germany (2010), and a research associate at Groningen University, the Netherlands (2012-2013) and Uppsala University (2017). Member of the National Union of Writers of Ukraine since 1997, and the Association of Ukrainian Writers since 1999, she authored three volumes of poetry and a number of essays. Her research and publications have focused on  the disputed memories and cultural counter-narratives of the 20th century Ukraine told across the shifting borders in Polish, Ukrainian, Russian, and English also covering parts of the Jewish story.

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