The Cavalry Maiden: Journals of a Russian Officer in the Napoleonic Wars
Indiana University Press, 1989 - Biography & Autobiography - 288 pages
"... sparkles with wit, intelligence and bold characterization." --Women's Review of Books
"... a ripping yarn... admirable translation... sensitive introductory essay." --Times Literary Supplement
"... a remarkable journal worthy of the attention of a wide audience." --Doris Grumbach, National Public Radio
In male guise, Nadezhda Durova served ten years in the Russian cavalry. The Cavalry Maiden is a lively narrative which appeals in our own time as a unique and gripping contribution to the literature of female experience.
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The cavalry maiden: journals of a Russian officer in the Napoleonic WarsUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
This fascinating memoir of a Russian woman soldier of the 19th century is presented for the first time in two independent English translations, each a graceful rendering of the original Russian ... Read full review
This was an emotional book for me. Not because the story was crafty (even though it is still good), but because I could emphasise with her so much.
From the day she was born, she knew she wanted to be a cavalry soldier. She described infantry as boring and had no interest in it.
Through dangerous battles, she distinguished herself as a fierce, brave soldier, despite lacking some common sense at times.
She preferred her military uniforms over pretty feminine dress, in one instance claiming ‘I enjoyed looking at the pretty dresses the women wear… but mine is better!’
Through her army service, she constantly faces situations where she gets agitated for the fear of being found out about her gender. Even as a man, I could relate to how it feels to get nervous about being ‘found out’.
I found Russian translation to be seamless. The humor in the story is great, it made me laugh many times. The words used to describe her recollection of events are very emotive, describing a dead corpse in a barn as: ‘the sole inhabitant of this dwelling in his eternal rest’
I felt very sad at the end when she chose to leave the Cavalry for her father, bidding farewell to the romantic life of swords and good steed and going back to ordinary civilian life.
Oh dear Durova, life may have become mundane for us all, but the gallant image of you live on in my heart!