Saturday, July 24, 2010

say Leo

July morning in the new apartment. Outside my window, sun-gilded, the deep-olive foliage of the old poplars is trembling against the soft-turquoise sky. 25 July. Sirius rises. Happy birthday everyone, who was born under the sign of Leo!
26 July is birthday of the outstanding researcher and non-fiction writer Nina Berberova (1901–1993), Russian-born √©migr√©, professor of Russian literature at Princeton--I love her autobiography The Italics Are Mine--

--her birth, and by a mere chance, mine too.
“My shallow heart's the only thing that's beating”
I read the book Brideshead Revisited more than once, but not in English which was my great mistake, because if only I read at least one book by Evelyn Waugh in original, then I could speak and write English much better than I can now--yet, unfortunately, I never did it because after reading Brideshead Revisited, I started my own projects, and never had much free time to read somebody else's writings.
Nina Berberova (1901-1993), Russian-born writer from St. Petersburg wrote the book "Moura: The Dangerous Life of the Baroness Budberg" (1981), non-fiction biography, in Russian translation entitled "Iron Lady". Countess, later Baroness, Moura (Maria Zakrevskaya Benckendorff) Budberg (c.1891-Nov.1974), was the Ukrainian-born wife of Count Djon (Johann) Benckendorff, a high-ranking Czarist diplomat whom she married in 1911. They owned the mansion called Yendel in Janeda, Estonia where he was shot dead in 1919. Later she was briefly married to Baron Nikolai von Budberg-Bonningshausen, and was at various times the mistress of Sir R. H. Bruce Lockhart, Russian writer Maxim Gorky, and at the end of her dangerous adventures she settled at the household of historian and science fiction writer H.G. Wells, as his secretary. Wells proposed to marry him several times, but she preferred to be his secretary. Being an authoress in a small way, she translated and wrote in English, French and her native Russian--being weak in all the three languages. Knowing of this distinctive peculiarity of her writings, at times I think that I am an authoress like she.
According to Wikipedia, Moura Budberg was the great-great aunt of Nick Clegg, the British Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam and, since 18 December 2007, leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Perhaps, at times I seem to be one of the big women, who care about many things and persons, and I seem to do it in my blog, but in fact my heart is small, it can't hold much, only the small circle of interests and only one man.
"Iron Lady" is the term that Nina Berberova invented in her book--but in the opinion of her biographers, this term becomes her personally as nobody else.
The British science fiction writer H. G. Wells, whose secretary Moura Budberg was, several times proposed to marry him, but she refused. When her friends asked her why she kept on living with the old man, she answered: “He smells of honey.” Oh Moura, Moura, could you ever know that one Lara would cite you some day! Mentioning her is of good omen--as well as reading about her and to citing her--because she was a woman who survived. The young people here don’t know how it is important to survive, much more important than any sexual problems. The Survival of the Fittest is not survival of the best. My collected essays The Jetsam may be called Moorings, and I am one of the survivors, the women who survived.
"I had learnt to seek intensity…more of life, a concentrated sense of life." (Nina Berberova, O Magazine, September 2003)
"A concentrated sense of life is pleasure. Our desires vary our life--desire to love, desire to revenge, desire to possess, desire to bestow. To exist with intensity equal to discovery." (Anthony Blanche)

*a thing of the past*

“One should always be in love.”--Oscar Wilde

One should kill everyone who loves him, everyone, with the exception of parents, children and cats. Do it as soon as you notice the eye of a dog that watches your expression, the arched eyebrows, rounded mouth and the manner to follow you wherever you go in the house keeping you in his sight all along. You are sorry for him, of course, it’s a pity and no reason, but do it now lest it’s too late. Because he, oh so loving, will dig a warm sultry burrow nearby your dwelling, from where he’ll be spying on you for some time, and then he’ll begin attack giving you slight shoves and even dragging you so that you would take a look at his dwelling and appreciate its comfort. Well yes, it’s cozy. It’s always warm there, the clean bed, many interesting bric-a-bracs, and each of them he is ready for giving to you--nice, though a little fusty. By the winter, it seems to you that it’s good when there is no draught. Perhaps, this year you’ll stand fast and having wintering somehow in a snowdrift you’ll meet the springtime being free, or rather almost free, because between your shoulder-blades you have a sense of the red spot of the telescopic sight of his loving eye. And you get used to the new circumstance that you have to ring up or at least reply to his messages and to have meal at his at least once a week and to sleep with him at least once ten days. For he loves. Then the inevitable sense of guilt comes--it seems to you that you destroy his life, using the warmth of his heart and giving nothing in return. Now, one especially lonely night, you shall come to him, without a call, and you’ll stay by him. Because it’s pleasure to see his face beaming for the only reason that you are beside. You feel like a magician. Should I tell you how it all would end? His embrace will be tighter and tighter, your private space will be smaller and smaller, his requests will turn into demands, and the happiness on his face will turn into a mask of capricious irritation. Therefore, kill him now. And then, when you are again alone, look in the locker and take out the photo of the only man whom you wanted to give your life, who could make you happy, who you admired--he who killed you one day.
Enjoy the image of some artemis-like nymphs from the artist Julius LeBlanc Stewart (1855-1919)--

*gloriole of quotations*
“I will survive: if the hell rejects me, there is always paradise.”--(Jocelyn Lindenridge-Blanche, our dear boy at a moment of dismals)

"To clutch life's hair, and thrust one naked phrase Like a lean knife through the ribs of time."--(from the sonnet The City of the Soul by Alfred Douglas)

“May it won't be so little which is so dear for You…"--(Marcus Valerius Martialis about a life of a beloved thing)

“If You are with me at heart, if we love each other, then Rome is wherever we live.”--(Marcus Valerius Martialis to his friend)

“Life is like the Games. Some come to compete, some to trade, and the happiest ones to watch.”--(Pythagoras)

“Death has nothing to do with us. While we are, death isn’t here; when death is here, we are no more”.--(Epicure)


Anonymous said...

Dear Lara

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Nice tp fin your mew blog, though.


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