№ 13 2022

УДК / UDK: 821.111.0


Author: Choi Chatterjee
About the author:

Choi Chatterjee, PhD., Chair and Professor of History, California State University, Los Angeles, 5151 State University Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90032, USA.


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This article analyzes Santha Rama Rau’s 1959 travelogue, My Russian Journey, and places it in the context of Soviet-American relations in the early decades of the Cold War. Rau, an eminent Indian American novelist, was commissioned by the literary travel magazine, Holiday, to write articles on the Soviet Union in the late 1950s. She was recruited for her literary ability, but her personal relations with important personalities in the United States and India gave her an unusual degree of access to members of the Soviet cultural elite. Rau’s leisurely travels through different parts of the Soviet Union resulted in a new kind of travel account of everyday life in the Soviet Union. I analyze three major themes in My Russian Journey: the problem of Soviet censorship, descriptions of elite lifestyles in the Soviet Union, and a comparison of Soviet and Indian national identity. I argue that the publication of Rau’s My Russian Journey marked an important milestone in Soviet American relations that was mediated through India.

Keywords: Cold War, national identity, travel literature, USA, India, USSR, Santha Rama Rau, Soviet elites.
For citation:

Chatterjee, Choi. “Santha Rama Rau: a Footnote to History?” Literature of the Americas, no. 13 (2022): 224–247. 


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