Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Friday, June 25, 2021

“Rasputin” by Teffi - 1932 - A feuilleton- translated by Anne Maria Jackson - 2014

 “Rasputin” by Teffi - 1932 - A feuilleton- translated by Anne Maria Jackson - 2014

Teffi was The Pen name of Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya

May 21, 1872 - Born St Petersburg, Russia

1920- initially a supporter of The Revolution, she soon turned against The Bolsheviks.  She came to live in Paris and never returned. She was an important part of The Russian Émigre community.  She published extensively in Russian language publications, including 100s of Short stories and feuilletons. 

October 6, 1952 - Dies Paris, France

The best book on Rasputin is probably Grigory Rasputin Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs by Douglas Smith (2016, 850 pages)

“Rasputin” is an account of Teffi’s impressions  derived from her two encounters with Rasputin, at the height

 of his influence.

Teffi met first met Rasputin at a social gathering hosted by an aristocratic lady. Teffi knew from gossip some Ladies in The inner circles of St. Petersburg high Society were rumoured to have had sex with Rasputin.  She says he had high echelon women  wash his feet to “teach them humility.”.  She was brought to The party by journalists who felt Rasputin would open up to her. She also knew that Rasputin was being watched by the Secret Police.  Rasputin told her he knew some hated  his influrence on the Czar and wanted him killed.  Teffi says she felt a kind of sinister power in Rasputin, he attempted  to force her to meet him again  through messermizing her,  which did involve physical contact at times.  As she saw it, he only did this with women. She describes in detail his appearance and mode of dress.  Her attitude toward him seemed amused at times.  I am not sure she knew exactly why he had sway over the royal family.  She for sure had little respect for those trying to use his power to advance their ambitions.

Rasputin gained an emotional hold on the Empress Alexandra through his seeming ability to stop the potentially deadly hemophiliac episodes of her son, heir to the throne.  He first met the imperial family in November 1905. 

Rasputin had large sexual appetites.  He mingled with street women as well as women of high rank.  He had large parties, often described as orgies in the press.  Rasputin knew aristocratic Russian women would be fascinated by his roughness and his wild often filthy dress and outrageous manners and Rasputin, a master psychologist, played the holy mad man role for all it was worth. False rumors spread about he and Alexandra.  

Rasputin 1869 to 1917

Royal Family Executed July 17, 1918

I found this first hand account very interesting.  

I read this work in TEFFI SUBTLY WORDED AND OTHER STORIES - Translated from the Russian by Anne Marie Jackson with Robert and Elizabeth Chandler, and others. From Pushkin Press

There are 23 works in the collection.  The New York Review of Books has published two collections of her work.  In is my hope to do a full read through of these collections.

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