Literature

Podcast: ‘Silentium!’ by Fyodor Tyutchev

This is the first in a new series of videos/podcasts drawing upon what I have written and published here at Culturedallroundman.com. The podcast returns to the very first piece I published back on my old WordPress.com site, on Fyodor Tyutchev’s 1830 poem ‘Silentium!’. I expand upon Tyutchev’s life, before reading his poem in Vladimir Nabokov’s translation, published with New Directions…

Burroughs: The U.S. Drag and the Publication of Naked Lunch

A couple of weekends ago, I listened to a recent episode of This American Life on the writer William Burroughs. For this episode, Ira Glass briefly expressed his ambivalent feeling towards Burroughs’ work, before handing over to a recording which first aired last February on BBC Radio 4. Produced by Colin McNulty, and presented by Iggy Pop, the radio story…

A Cultural History of the Potato as Earth Apple

The etymology of the word ‘apple’ takes us back to the Early Middle Ages, when it appeared in various related forms across the Germanic languages: as ‘apful’/’aphul’ or ‘apfel’/’aphel’ in Old High German, ‘appel’ in Old Frisian, ‘appul’ in Old Saxon, ‘epli’ in Old Icelandic, ‘æplæ’ or ‘æpæl’ in Old Danish, and so on. At the time, the word referred sometimes…

The Masquerades of Fyodor Sologub

In 1899, as Fyodor Sologub progressed in the teaching profession while continuing to elaborate his literary career, Sologub was appointed principal of the Andreevskoe municipal school in Saint Petersburg. With the position came an apartment on Vasilievsky Island, which Sologub shared with his sister Olga. In the late 1890s and at the beginning of the 1900s, the art world of Petersburg saw Konstantin…

Fyodor Sologub – ‘At Times There Comes a Strange Smell Wafting’

Fyodor Sologub – ‘At Times There Comes a Strange Smell Wafting’

Fyodor Sologub was born Fyodor Kuzmich Teternikov on 1 March, 1863, in Saint Petersburg. Accounts of his father’s life evoke Gogol’s The Overcoat and Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, for Kuzma Afanasyevich Teternikov was a shoemaker and tailor, and apparently the illegitimate son of a local landowner. When Kuzma Afanasyevich died in 1867, Fyodor’s mother became a domestic servant, and Fyodor…

English Translations of Jorge Luis Borges’ ‘Funes the Memorious’

The impetus for Jorge Luis Borges attaining widespread international recognition came when, in May 1961, at 61 years of age, he was awarded the first Prix International alongside Samuel Beckett. The Prix International was an international award for literary merit, established by six publishing houses – Seix Barral of Barcelona, Gallimard of Paris, Einaudi of Turin, Grove Press of New York,…

A Brief History of Ukraine

A Brief History of Ukraine

With the situation in Crimea apparently determined, at least for the time being, attention is turning to other sites in Ukraine and beyond. The withdrawal of Ukrainian forces at the beginning of this week – after Russian troops seized the Belbek airbase and Feodosia naval base – marked the interim Ukrainian government’s tacit acceptance that Crimea has been lost. Russian military…