Author Topic: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov  (Read 112698 times)

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Offline Sarushka

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #30 on: October 06, 2008, 04:46:43 PM »
Olga's diary is now in stock at GRB.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Helen

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #31 on: October 07, 2008, 02:02:52 AM »
Thank you, Sarushka, for breaking this news. I ordered a copy right away.

And a BIG 'Thank you!' to Raegan for giving us this wonderful book! :)
« Last Edit: October 07, 2008, 02:26:59 AM by Helen »
"The Correspondence of the Empress Alexandra of Russia with Ernst Ludwig and Eleonore, Grand Duke and Duchess of Hesse. 1878-1916"  -  http://www.bod.de/index.php?id=296&objk_
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Offline Sarai

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #32 on: October 07, 2008, 01:48:43 PM »
That's great news, I will order my copy ASAP as well!

By the way, I live in Ontario (same province as Gilbert's) and I wrote to him saying that I *know* that it won't cost $15 USD to ship the book within the same province. He replied saying that of course I wouldn't have to pay that much and he will let me know the actual shipping cost once he gets it weighed at the post office. Just thought I'd pass that information along to others who live in the same province (even within Canada it may be cheaper). All it takes is just to ask him, don't just pay what is asked if there is a justifiable reason not to.

Offline matushka

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #33 on: October 10, 2008, 08:22:06 AM »
I want to order a copy, but the post cost are indeed very high! Perhaps someone in Europe want to order with me a second copy? Nena, perhaps you?

Offline leslie

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #34 on: October 14, 2008, 10:19:52 AM »
There are 4 copies of the book being sold as "Buy It Now" on E-bay.  Price is $25.00 american dollars plus $15.00 shipping and handling.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #35 on: October 14, 2008, 01:04:31 PM »
There are 4 copies of the book being sold as "Buy It Now" on E-bay.  Price is $25.00 american dollars plus $15.00 shipping and handling.

Same price as Gilbert offers on his bookshop website.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Sarushka

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #36 on: October 14, 2008, 02:32:39 PM »
I got my copy yesterday, thanks to the sneakiness and generosity of Laura Mabee!

Basics: The text itself is more lively than you've probably been led to believe over the years, but at the same time an odd combination of engrossing and boring. On one hand, I don't think I've ever read so many tennis scores in my life(!) but on the other, I couldn't help staying up until nearly 2:00 am last night to finish. It is FAR less tedious than Alexandra's last diary, for example, and I'm fairly confident that serious Romanov devotees will not be disappointed. The 12 photographs inside are not likely to be new to AP members.

A word to the wise: the pink dye on the back cover is prone to rubbing off. I covered my copy with contact paper to prevent staining, and reinforce the binding.

Overall, I'm thrilled to have access to a full year of Olga's diary. However, being accustomed to thoroughly annotated volumes like The Complete Wartime Correspondence and The Last Diary of Tsaritsa Alexandra, I'm somewhat disappointed with a few of what you might call the academic aspects of the presentation. For instance, there's no index, very few notes, and dozens of unfamiliar names are not identified -- lots of officers and guests at Olga A's weekend parties, as well as nicknames I'd never heard of like "Aunt Mops" and "Aunt Minnie." There's apparently some kind of family code referring to Alexandra's heart complaints ("Mama's heart is #2" for example) which isn't explained or addressed. In December Olga also began using a code to write about Voronov, but I was disappointed that the few coded lines have been omitted. (Though you can find a brief discussion of them in At Home with the Last Tsar and His Family, which includes a few deciphered lines.)


*I don't know if I'd call these "spoilers" but I'm going to get into a few specifics now. Avert your eyes or consider yourself warned...*


Things that surprised me:

1. Olga's overall lightheartedness. Now that I have some solid context for her pre-war personality, I'd really like to read the wartime diaries and letters so I can gauge her changing state of mind.

2. The state of Alexandra's health, even out of the public eye. There's a virtually daily litany of headaches, backaches, and heart complaints, and it's clear that Alexandra's health is more worrisome to Olga than Aleksei's. It's frankly amazing that Alexandra worked in the lazaret as often as she did.

3. How many ballets, plays, circuses, and operas Olga attended during the social season (New Year's through lent). It's not a daily thing by any means, but I didn't realize how often the older girls were able to attend cultural events of this sort.

4. How little fanfare the 1913 tercentenary celebrations claim in Olga's diary.

5. Just how much seasonal physical exercise NOTMA took -- sledding, skiing, horseback riding, kayaking, swimming, hiking, tennis, etc. It's one thing to be told they exercised a lot, but quite another to see how prominently outdoor activity figured into their daily lives.

6. Olga's delight, at age 17, in playing childhood games (hide and seek, slap-on-hands, etc.) with officers as much as 5-15 years her senior at Olga A's.

7. How rarely Maria, Aleksei, and to some degree Anastasia are mentioned by name (unless there was a doubles tennis match). Olga's diary provides almost no hints into her siblings' personalities, and solidly reinforces the idea of a Big Pair-Little Pair split.

8. Some readers may disagree with me, but IMO, Olga's relationship with Pavel Voronov wasn't much more than an intense teenage crush. Infatuations with three other officers also flare and then fade within the course of the year. (I was amused to discover that 33-year-old Sablin was one of them.) For example, near the end of the year her affection for "S" (Voronov) even seems to wane a bit as another fellow called "Sh" takes prominence.

9. There's no entry on Olga's 18th birthday. (Drat!)

10. Her adoration of Olga A -- "sweetheart Aunt Olga."


Things that didn't surprise me:

1. Olga's social life. A fair number of theatrical performances in the early winter months, followed by the relatively quiet domestic life we've come to expect from the IF. Yes, there are occasional visits with Ksenia's family, lots of outdoor exercise, and lively afternoons at Olga A's home capering with officers, but to me, none of these habitual acquaintances stood out as a real friendship. Rita K is never mentioned, for example. Olga clearly treasures those afternoons at her aunt's house, but in a sense even that comes off as sad to my modern social sensibilities. There appear to have been a few cousins and other young people invited (it's hard to tell for sure in the absence of identification or biographical info), but Olga's attention is always devoted to the officers. She's basically drinking tea and playing hide-and-seek with men who might be nearly twice her age, and it's the highlight of her week. To my mind, that actually reinforces the notion of the OTMA's naivete and insulation rather than contradicting it.

2. Olga's lack of introspection. She writes plainly of being happy, sad, bored, etc. and you can infer her state of mind from the overall tone, but IMO there's little depth. It's all surface emotion, though her entries aren't quite as laden with pet names and endearments as I'd expected.

3. Olga's intellect. We know from the courtiers' memoirs that she was a quick study, had a good memory, played complicated piano pieces well by ear, and liked to read. But if she was also exceptionally thoughtful and perceptive, it doesn't come across in her 1913 diary. Matter of fact, this diary reminds me a bit of the beginning of Anne Frank's diary -- for all her eventual wisdom and insight in captivity, Anne was a perfectly typical teenager at the beginning, and so is Olga throughout 1913. Again, I'm left REALLY wanting to read the girls' wartime diaries to see how their outlook changes.

*end of potential spoilers*

Overall, the diary hasn't drastically changed my view of Olga, but I'm still thrilled with it in a dorky fangirl way. There is definitely a valuable sense of context and continuity to gain by reading an entire, uncut year. As I said initially, as an academic reference it has some shortcomings, but for a glimpse into the daily life of the IF, this book is a treasure.

Thanks again to Laura for such a treat!
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #37 on: October 14, 2008, 03:32:50 PM »
Sarushka, thank you so much for your assessment of the recently published diary of Olga Nikolaievna. Very generous of you, and much appreciated! Many thanks to Laura as well for helping to expedite your receipt of the diary.

Offline JBenjamin82

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2008, 02:04:29 AM »
1. Olga's overall lightheartedness. Now that I have some solid context for her pre-war personality, I'd really like to read the wartime diaries and letters so I can gauge her changing state of mind.

For sure. After reading the diary, I really, really wanted to read the rest of her diaries. Maybe Raegan will publish them in the future (I hope so!).

Quote
Some readers may disagree with me, but IMO, Olga's relationship with Pavel Voronov wasn't much more than an intense teenage crush. Infatuations with three other officers also flare and then fade within the course of the year. (I was amused to discover that 33-year-old Sablin was one of them.) For example, near the end of the year her affection for "S" (Voronov) even seems to wane a bit as another fellow called "Sh" takes prominence.

I agree. They struck me as being strong infatuations rather than anything more serious. One month, she'd be all, "I love him very, very much," but a few months later, she seemed to be like, "Meh, whatever." Also, I found it amusing that she pretended to be "over" Voronov in December when it seemed sort of obvious that that was anything but true. But anyhow, I got the impression that she realized the futility of her crush, and that she tried to convince herself that she wasn't as interested in him as she once was. Oh, and how cute/funny was it that she'd watch Voronov through binoculars? :-)

I wonder who that AKSH fella was. Anyone know?

Quote
Olga's lack of introspection. She writes plainly of being happy, sad, bored, etc. and you can infer her state of mind from the overall tone, but IMO there's little depth. It's all surface emotion, though her entries aren't quite as laden with pet names and endearments as I'd expected.

Totally agree with you here. I kept hoping Olga would write a bit more like Anne Frank or Grand Duke KR.

Quote
But if she was also exceptionally thoughtful and perceptive, it doesn't come across in her 1913 diary. Matter of fact, this diary reminds me a bit of the beginning of Anne Frank's diary -- for all her eventual wisdom and insight in captivity, Anne was a perfectly typical teenager at the beginning, and so is Olga throughout 1913.

I don't mean this as a criticism of Olga, but Anne Frank seemed a bit more introspective even before she went into captivity. But then again, I think Anne Frank was an exceptionally talented writer, especially for her age. Had she survived, I think it's possible we'd have known her name anyway. Olga was a nice, sweet kid, and I love all of the Romanovs, but I don't think she can hold a candle to Anne Frank in the writing department (Sorry, Olga!).

Quote
Again, I'm left REALLY wanting to read the girls' wartime diaries to see how their outlook changes.

Me too. What I would give to have free, unrestricted access to GARF! I'd be like a kid in a candy store. I guess I'm a dork like that. ;-)
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 02:07:18 AM by JBenjamin82 »

Offline nena

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2008, 07:49:28 AM »
Fantastic, Sarushka! Thanks. I hope I'll ge book someday. About other girls' diaries, we'll be maybe able to read them, expect of Anastasia.  :-\
And I forgot list of OTM diaries with years. Only remember Maria's for 1913, 1916. And Tatiana's for 1916.
And about Olga; for example -- playing games--she was oldest, and had younger sablings, so it is maybe logic she played games with them. I know Olga was mature girl, but..(I think she did it unawares)
And I am really suprised about 1913 ceremonies you mentioned.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2008, 08:03:59 AM by nena »
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2008, 08:02:29 AM »
Oh, and how cute/funny was it that she'd watch Voronov through binoculars? :-)

Loved that. And I couldn't help thinking, jeeze, if Olga's watching her crush with binoculars, what on earth was Maria doing to get her boy-crazy reputation??


Quote
I wonder who that AKSH fella was. Anyone know?

Nope. But we might be able to track him down with a few little clues in the diary. His birthday and namesday, for example.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Sarushka

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2008, 08:06:17 AM »
And I forgot list of OTM diaries with years. Only remember Maria's for 1913, 1916. And Tatiana's for 1916.

GARF's holdings of the grand duchesses' diaries, according to the book Royal Sisters of Mercy:

Olga: 12 diaries from 1905 - 1917, with the 1910 volume missing. The first entry on 01/01/05 begins "I was at Church with Mama and Papa." Olga's last diary entry was on 15/03/17.

Tatiana: 9 diaries from 1907 - 1916, with the 1911 one missing. The last entry is on 24/10/16. The exercise book she used for a diary for the rest of the year and into 1917, apparantly, she destroyed.

Maria: 3 diaries: 1912, 1913 and 1916.

Anastasia: No diaries. All appear to have been destroyed or lost.

(Thanks to Georgiy, who translated and posted this info in November of 2006.)
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline markjhnstn

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #42 on: October 21, 2008, 07:19:09 AM »
I've just started Olga's diary. Have read up to the end of March. I'm amazed at how much time Alexandra is not well. Nearly every day of the year so far. Her health seems to be even worse than I had ever realised from everything i have read about her.

Aunt Olga's seems to be the place where they let their hair down. Hide and seek in dark basements with young officers. Playing games called; turkey, rope and slap-hands!!

AKSH is number one beau it seems, closely followed by NP.

AK is a cossack officer i gather and NP is from the Standardt i guess.

Quite poignant on the entry for the ball she attends when she writes "my first ball". There probably wasn't that many more.

Offline Sarai

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #43 on: October 21, 2008, 07:48:43 AM »
I have also started reading the diary and am up to the beginning of March so far. It is quite amazing how Alix was sick nearly every day. If it wasn't her head it was her heart. Also how meticulously Olga records her mother's temperatures when she had fevers. I wonder what those heart ratings like #1, #2, #3 even mean. Maybe it's the severity of how she feels? It seems to be a ranking of some sort, perhaps the severity of the symptoms.

I really enjoy reading about her crushes, makes her seem more "real" and like any normal teenage girl. And I also like it how even at the age of 17 she enjoyed playing hide-and-seek and other childish (to our eyes) games. I think it's charming and shows her innocence. But I believe that at that time girls of her rank especially stayed childish longer than they do now, where by 17 a girl is into modern past-times like boyfriends, shopping, movies, etc. My mother went to Russia in the 1960's and was struck by how even older teenage girls wore large bows in their hair like little girls.

I thought 1911 was her first ball, at her coming out party in Livadia. But I guess that was a more intimate family and friends affair and the 1913 ball was her first state ball.

Finally, I was really surprised at her entry of February 15th when she states that Grigory (Rasputin) "kept patting Alexei on the head and said that I could rule like Tsarinas did in the past." Seems kind of insensitive to me, saying that right in front of the little boy! Almost insinuating that his sister could rule if something were to happen to him.


Offline Sarushka

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Re: 1913 Diary of Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna, transl. by Marina Petrov
« Reply #44 on: October 21, 2008, 08:30:54 AM »
AK is a cossack officer i gather and NP is from the Standardt i guess.

Yes -- NP was Admiral Nikolai Pavlovich Sablin. Incidentally, Sablin deserted the imperial family after the abdication.


Finally, I was really surprised at her entry of February 15th when she states that Grigory (Rasputin) "kept patting Alexei on the head and said that I could rule like Tsarinas did in the past." Seems kind of insensitive to me, saying that right in front of the little boy! Almost insinuating that his sister could rule if something were to happen to him.

Wasn't that kooky?! Thanks for mentioning the date -- I'd forgotten to mark that passage and hadn't gotten around to hunting it down again.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King