D.S. Mirsky

The Choice of a Tutor by Denis Fonvizin

At the end of October 1915, in the British literary magazine The New Age, Carl Erich Bechhöfer continued with his regular column ‘Letters from Russia’, which he had been contributing from the turn of the year. His subject this time was Denis Ivanovich Fonvizin (1745-1792), the Russian playwright, whose name Bechhöfer renders as ‘von Vizin’, which had been the typical spelling in…

On the Fugitive and French and Russian Poetry

When we hear or read the word ‘fugitive’ today, we perhaps tend to think of someone fleeing from something: most often in a legal frame, from justice; but also potentially from persecution, or simply from the uncomfortable circumstances of their lives. Supporting the first relation is the FBI’s list of the ‘Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’. This was conceived by J. Edgar Hoover,…

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…

Fyodor Sologub: His Life, and ‘At Times There Comes a Strange Smell Wafting’

Fyodor Sologub: His Life, and ‘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…

Alexander Blok – ‘Night, street, street-light, drugstore,…’ (1912)

Alexander Blok (Александр Блок) (1880-1921) was the foremost of the Russian Symbolists, who changed the face of Russian letters from the late 1890s through until the Russian Revolution, leading Russian literature into a ‘Silver Age’ after the great works of the previous century. Chekhov died in 1904, and Tolstoy, over thirty years his senior, not until 1910. Tolstoy published his…

‘Silentium!’ by Fyodor Tyutchev

‘Silentium!’ by Fyodor Tyutchev

Silentium! Speak not, lie hidden, and conceal the way you dream, the things you feel. Deep in your spirits let them rise akin to stars in crystal skies that set before the night is blurred: delight in them and speak no word. – How can a heart expression find? How should another know your mind? Will he discern what quickens…