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Diary of Maria Nikonova in SATOR

In the spring of 2024, the source publication «Улон – питыран, сюлэм – пияла…»: ‘одӥг Удмурт кышномуртлэн дауръем улон сюресэз’ (‘An Udmurt woman’s century-long journey’) appeared in the 25th issue of the Estonian Literary Museum’s yearbook SATOR.

SATOR25 kaas

Maria Nikonova is a Udmurt woman born in 1926, whose native village is Vyl Tigyrmen (Выль Тӥгырмен) in the Kijassovo district (Кияса ёрос) of the Udmurt Republic, Russian Federation.
Maria Nikonova is a school teacher and an expert of Udmurt traditions. Many folklorists, ethnographers, ethnomusicologists and students from Udmurtia and many other countries have come into contact with her, gaining a wealth of knowledge and research material.
Through a diary kept since the 1980s, we can live her experiences, read her emotional recollections, as well as her original poems and songs.
Maria’s diaries are a valuable reflective source, reflecting both her personal events (family life and all that goes with it) and events in her home village and country, and even in the wider world.
The diary entries are in Udmurt, so a friend who speaks Udmurt should be invited to help read them. A person who knows the notation can immediately sing the tunes or try to play them.

From diary to publication

In 2021, Maria entrusted the notebooks of her life to Nikolai Anisimov. She hoped to preserve and share her experiences and wisdom. That hope has now come true. The reader will find a lengthy introduction in Russian and English at the beginning of the book (translated into English by Eva Toulouze). In the foreword, Nikolai Anisimov, the compiler, says that working on the manuscript was a fascinating challenge. Many of the characters, places and rituals discussed were familiar to him from his childhood. Working on the manuscript offered the compiler the opportunity to delve deeper into the worldview of a simple villager. It also raised questions about which passages should not be published. The publication is the result of a collaboration between the compiler and the author of the diary.
The e-version of the book can be found here.


Nikolai Anisimov, Estonian Literature Museum