Beginning of Romani literature: the case of Alexander Germano

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The article traces the beginning of Roma literature. It focuses on the work of Aleksandr Germano in the context of the history of a unique Romani literacy project developed in the USSR before WW2. It shows the peculiarity of the Soviet Roma literature and especially the personal activities and contributions of Aleksandr Germano, who was in fact, the man who can be considered the progenitor of contemporary Romani literature (who worked in all the three main literature genres: poetry, prose, and drama). The study is done on the basis of a few years of archival work in different archives in the Russian Federation and mainly in the Alexander Germano’s personal archive, preserved in the town of Orel (Russian Federation). The documents studied allow us to illuminate the blurred spots in his biography, to reveal his ethnic background and to highligt reason of success of the Romani literacy project. The example of Germano shows that the beginning of national literature is not absolutely necessary and obligatory related to a particular author with respective ethnic origin and identity, but from significance here is his literary work and its public impact.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135–162
Number of pages28
JournalRomani Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Germano
  • Roma
  • USSR
  • Progenitor
  • Ethnicity
  • Roma literature
  • Edentity
  • Affirmative action
  • Roma literacy project


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