“Spindleshanks” - A Set in Paris Short Story by Sasha Chorny -1931. Translated by Maria Bolshteyn - 2017 - included in Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky - edited by Bryan Karetnyk -2017
This is my eighth year participating in a wonderful event, Paris in July. The event hosts are Reader Buzz and Thyme for Tea. Posts on any and all things Paris are welcome. You can share your memories of a trip to Paris, your favorite French recipes or restaurants, art in the Louvre, your favorite set in Paris Movies (mine are Ninotchka and Midnight in Paris). Of course the French literary masters as well as contemporary writers are great subjects.
My Prior Paris in July 2022 Posts
- Yiddish Paris by Nicholas Underwood - 2022
- After the Romanovs- Russian Exiles in Paris from the Belle Époque to Revolution and War by Helen Rappaport - 2022
- Late Hour” -A Set in Paris Short Story by Ivan Bunin - 1938- translated by David Humphries -included in The Gentleman from San Francisco and other Stories--
- The Paris Tattoo” - An Essay by Ann Patchett - from her essay collection These Precious Days- 2022
“Spindleshanks” is a Russian Emigre married man’s deeply felt litnany of complaints about living in Paris has negatively impacted Russian women, particularly his wife. He is talking to an old friend who has just arrived in Paris.
“You remember what my Natasha looked like back in Narva. A meadow blossom! Glowing with health. She really turned heads on the street: all those curves – natural, no padding! Round shoulders, apple cheeks and so forth … A regular cello!…. Take Rubens, for example, or our own Kustodiev, or some sensible ancient Greek sculptor – they’re all on the same page. If it’s Venus you’re depicting, then make her look like Venus…But now … Have you seen what my Natasha did to herself, following everyone else’s lead? Started out as a beautiful Houri and finished off looking like one of the Furies. ‘Why did you plane yourself away like this?’..
Ok we get the idea. Paris has for Russian men made their women want to be Spindleshanks, an arhachic term for a long logged skin and bones woman, just opposite of what Russian men like.
SASHA CHORNY (1880–1932) was the pen name of Alexander Mikhailovich Glickberg. A satirical poet, short-story writer and children’s writer, he enjoyed immense popularity in pre-Revolutionary Russia. He served at the Front during the First World War and was opposed to the 1917 October Revolution. In 1918 he and his wife left Russia for Lithuania. In spring 1920 they moved to Berlin. Following a brief stay in Rome in 1923, he moved to Paris, and in 1929 he purchased a plot in La Favière, where he spent the last years of his life.