MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –
We walk around Moscow at the beginning of the twentieth century with writers: we look at the Moskva River from the Kamenny Bridge, we are present at the opening of the Pushkin Museum and admire the domes.
The House-Museum of Marina Tsvetaeva has opened an exhibition “The City of Not Made by Hands” dedicated to the Moscow of writers who were forced to leave Russia after the 1917 revolution. The atmosphere of the pre-revolutionary city is conveyed by photographs, dishes, posters and other items from the funds of the museum and a private collection.
On special screens – excerpts from the works of emigrants, telling about that time. Read about the Moscow city of Ivan Bunin, Alexander Kuprin, Boris Zaitsev, Ivan Shmelev, Marina Tsvetaeva, Alexei Remizov, Mikhail Osorgin, why they loved her and what they remember – in the mos.ru article.
“Carelessly beautiful city” by Mikhail Osorgin
“And her streets, crooked and cobbled, cute names: Plyushchikha, Ostozhenka, Povarsky, Spiridonovka, Ordynka, and lanes: Skatertny, Zachatyevsky, Nikolopeskovsky, Chernyshevsky, Kiselny, and her squares: Trubnye, Krasnye, Lubyansky, Voskresensky, – all- yet – in grief and downturn, in need and fear – they were flooded with the generous sun, blushing the walls, playing on the roofs and domes, circling the purple shadows with a golden border. As before, the streams of the Moskva River at the Kamenny Bridge were scurrying, as before, the Yauza covered its evil spirits with a seven-colored rainbow. (from the novel “Sivtsev Vrazhek”)
Such a Moscow was remembered by the hereditary columnist nobleman Mikhail Osorgin, as he described it in 1928 in one of his most famous novels-chronicles “Sivtsev Vrazhek”. At that time, he had already lived in Paris for five years, leaving behind years of revolutionary activity and friends-SRs, worked in the Russian-language newspaper “Latest News” and was very homesick. He settled the heroes of the book in the Sivtsev Vrazhek lane, which is located between Gogolevsky boulevard and Denezhny lane. In the descriptions of the places in Moscow, which the book is full of, the writer seems to confess his love to the city.
In the center of the plot is the old professor of ornithology Ivan Alexandrovich and his granddaughter Tatiana. They face severe trials: the First World War and the Civil War, hunger, uncertainty, devastation. But only one thing, like that of Osorgin himself, remains unchanged – good feelings for Moscow.
Remembrance of Emperor Marina Tsvetaeva
The father of the poetess was Ivan Vladimirovich Tsvetaev, a philologist, art critic, professor at Moscow University, founder and first director of the Alexander III Museum of Fine Arts (now the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts). The museum, founded in 1898, opened its doors to visitors on May 31, 1912. The ceremony was attended by Emperor Nicholas II and members of his family – mother Maria Feodorovna and four daughters. 20-year-old Marina Tsvetaeva looked at the monarchs with curiosity.
“We wait. And something is approaching, something must be coming now, because on the faces, like a wave, there is excitement, in dull eyes – awe, as if from quickly carried candles. With a cheerful, even, quick step, with a kind joyful expression of large blue eyes, just about ready to laugh, and suddenly – a glance – straight at me, into mine. At that moment I saw these eyes: not just blue, but completely transparent, clean, icy, completely childish. ” (from the essay “The Opening of the Museum”)
This event was firmly entrenched in her memory, and in 1933, when Marina Ivanovna was already living in exile in Paris, she wrote the essay “The Opening of the Museum”. Her prose in a foreign land, by the way, was much more popular than poetry. However, Tsvetaeva recalled not only high-profile events.
A special place in her life was occupied by the house in Borisoglebsky Lane, where the House-Museum of Marina Tsvetaeva is now located – it was from here in 1922 that she went abroad with her daughter Ariadna. Not only the events in the country that saddened her, but also the news that her husband Sergei Efron, who fought in the Volunteer Army, was alive and located in Prague, helped her to leave.
Marina Tsvetaeva received documents allowing her to leave for family reunification. She lived in the Czech Republic for three years, in France for 14 years, but nowhere else did she feel at home. I yearned for Moscow all the years of emigration.
Boris Zaitsev’s “foggy gold-domed” Kremlin
“On the Stone Bridge, my cab was driving at a pace. Eternal fishermen in the shallow, muddy, fast-flowing Moscow River! And baths, children, women, naked on the slopes – to the right is the Kremlin, foggy gold-domed, in a light muslin dust, with its toothed towers and flat-faced palaces. ” (from the novel “The Golden Pattern”)
Boris Zaitsev never skimped on describing the landscapes of Moscow – he loved her very much. The novel “Golden Pattern”, in which the writer recalls the “foggy gold-domed” Kremlin, is the first work of fiction of the emigre period. The story is told on behalf of a young noblewoman Natalia, who tells about her carefree childhood, crazy youth, suffered losses and spiritual development. In the last chapters of The Golden Pattern, the author, through the lips of the heroine, recalls the first time in emigration and the difficult trials that a person cut off from his homeland can endure.
The novel was published in separate chapters in the emigre magazine “Sovremennye zapiski” in the period from 1923 to 1925, in 1926 it was published as a separate book. In it, many circumstances of the author’s life are reproduced in artistic form: the death of his father, stepson, the hardships and illnesses he suffered.
During the years of emigration, Boris Zaitsev wrote more than 30 books. While living in Paris, he did not break the thin thread that connected him with Russia. From 1947 until his death in 1972, he headed the Union of Russian Writers and Journalists in France.
“Strange City” by Ivan Bunin
Ivan Bunin, author of “Cursed Days” and “The Life of Arseniev”, Nobel laureate in literature, began work on the story “Clean Monday” in 1937, 17 years after moving to France. The work was included in the collection “Dark Alleys”.
“Outside one window lay low in the distance a huge picture of the snow-gray Moscow beyond the river; to the other, to the left, a part of the Kremlin was visible, on the contrary, somehow too close, the too new bulk of Christ the Savior gleamed, in the golden dome of which the jackdaws were reflected with bluish spots, forever curling around him … “(from the story” Clean Monday “)
In “Clean Monday,” the girl with whom the main character is in love, abandons worldly life and retires to a monastery, seeing her vocation in spiritual service. The title of the story refers to the first day of Great Lent, when believers must repent of their sins. The author dreamed that his native country would one day realize everything that happened to it in 1917. Many friends and colleagues considered “Clean Monday” his best work.
Bunin perceived the revolution as a dark spot in the history of the country, something hostile and terrible, so in 1920 he left Russia. First he went to Constantinople, then – through Sofia and Belgrade – to Paris. In the same year, Bunin joined the Union of Russian Writers and Journalists and began working for the political and literary newspaper Vozrozhdenie.
“Toy” Moscow by Ivan Shmelev
“The sky ends below, and there, deep below it, under its very edge, Moscow is scattered motley, dimly … How big it is! .. Dim in the distance, in a fog. But now, clearer … – I see bells, the golden dome of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, completely toy, white boxes-houses, brown and green planks-roofs, green specks-gardens, dark pipes-sticks, glowing sparks-glass, green gardens – rugs, a white church under them … I see the whole toy Moscow, and above it there are golden crosses. ” (from the novel “Summer of the Lord”)
Pre-revolutionary patriarchal Moscow is one of the favorite themes in the emigre work of Ivan Shmelev. From a foreign country, he saw old Russia more distinctly and brighter. In the novel “The Lord’s Summer”, the author nostalgically describes Moscow streets, the bends of the Moscow River and “along the banks of its ancient churches.”
This is an autobiographical work: a writer, a representative of a merchant family, talks about the way of life in his family, about traditions, holidays. Three times the reader together with the author lives the church year from Great Lent to the noisy festivities of Maslenitsa week. The novel, surprising in its poetry, is considered one of the artistic heights of Ivan Shmelev’s work. It took him almost 15 years to write the book.
Shmelev left Russia in 1922, first went to Berlin, then to Paris. Two years earlier, the Bolsheviks arrested his son Sergei, who was an officer in the tsarist army. Sergei was shot, and his grief-stricken father was no longer connected with his native country, except memories of its past.
“Porphyry Widow” by Alexander Kuprin
Childhood and early adolescence of Alexander Kuprin were closely associated with Moscow. He warmly recalled the time he spent at the Alexander Military School. Kuprin dedicated the novel “Juncker” to him – a sequel to the story “At the Turning Point”.
The main character, Alexei Alexandrov, is a graduate of the school, his image is almost completely copied from the author himself. In addition, other characters also had very real prototypes from among students and teachers. Kuprin spoke here about the first love, friendship, traditions and life of the institution, but most importantly – about the character of Moscow, which, as the writer believed, she definitely had.
“Moscow in those distant times remained truly a“ porphyry widow ”who not only did not bow before the new St. Petersburg capital, but majestically despised it from the height of its forty forties, its innumerable wealth and its glorious ancient history. Bureaucratic Petersburg, with its dryness, narrowness and European pettiness, did not exist for her. And she did not recognize the Petersburg aristocracy. ” (from the novel “Juncker”)
In this passage, the writer calls Moscow a porphyry (that is, autocratic) widow, hinting at the ambivalent position in which she found herself after the capital was moved to St. Petersburg. From that moment on, the confrontation between the “new queen” and Moscow, the “porphyry widow” began.
The idea of the novel appeared in 1911, the writer nurtured it for a long time. And then the revolution broke out. In 1919, Kuprin left the country, choosing the French capital as his new place of residence. There he quickly found a job – he wrote articles, essays, essays for Russian-language magazines and newspapers. The author returned to the idea of ”Junkers” only in 1927. Since January 1928, the novel was published in parts in the Parisian newspaper “Renaissance”, while the first chapters appeared in print, which later became the middle of the work – the composition was gradually formed in the writer.
Kuprin missed Russia, especially Moscow, about which he repeatedly wrote to his friends. He was not pleased with the Parisian sights, French culture, and even about the flowers that adorned the streets, the writer said that they “smell like kerosene.” He called his homesickness hunger and assured him that he was ready to return even on foot.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.