Author Topic: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?  (Read 76175 times)

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Offline katmaxoz

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2010, 07:42:02 PM »
Laura - thanks for the offer.

I don't have the Winter Palace Ball book.  I have Noblesse Russe:  Portraits.  I just got through the first three volumes.  I had never sat down and studied it before or translated the French.  I realized that every volume of this set has a chapter on the 1903 ball.  I have amazing pictures that I didn't even know I had.

I have noblesse russe, except for volume 1 & also the winter palace ball book. Overall, I'd say the winter palace ball book has more images...BUT...what it is lacking are the photos of couples that were taken. It's almost all individual photos of the people who attended the ball in line with what Alexandra wanted for the original book. There are a handful of pair images, but only in the supplementry volume...so those are the ones you really want to keep your eyes open for as rare pictures.


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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #61 on: September 01, 2010, 07:56:24 PM »
Kat - thanks.

We are looking for pictures of  Madame Geringer (or Adelung) or Mouchanow to see if there truly was a member of the Tsaritsa's ladies with any of those names.

We thought that in 1903 or in the books by Ferrand, we might be able to find her mentioned in some way.

If you could help that would be great.

Offline Laura Mabee

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #62 on: September 01, 2010, 09:36:21 PM »
I will start looking through the Ball book to see if I can find anything as well :)

Offline katmaxoz

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #63 on: September 01, 2010, 09:58:55 PM »
Kat - thanks.

We are looking for pictures of  Madame Geringer (or Adelung) or Mouchanow to see if there truly was a member of the Tsaritsa's ladies with any of those names.

We thought that in 1903 or in the books by Ferrand, we might be able to find her mentioned in some way.

If you could help that would be great.

I'd love to help you out, but I'm in the middle of moving and all these books are packed away and hard to get at for the moment....so this may need to wait a couple of months till things settle down again.



Offline griffh

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #64 on: September 02, 2010, 09:54:52 AM »
Everyone is so kind to keep this thread going and I think that we will find out, eventually, who was the author of My Empress, if indeed it was Mme. Geringer.  In the meantime it is really interesting to learn more about Mme. Geringer.  I have been working so hard researching for my article on the Empress, 1915: The Paralysis of Reason and a Reassessment of the Empress Alexandra.  But I did want to say that I heard again from Eric at the Library of Congress and he said that he has temporarily come to a dead end.  One of his researchers felt that book was a fraud while the other felt it was written by one or another of members of the Court.  Eric still feels that he might be able to contact someone who may know more about who the author was but says that it may be difficult as this particular source is apparently thorny.  Eric did not explain more.  He suggested in the meantime that I contact the NYC Library which I had intended to do.  Having the Corinne Bacon article behind me find a new doorway to the authorship of My Empress. 

I might also ask Bill at the John Lane archives in Texas U to start on the correspondence boxes.  Well I will keep everyone informed.  And just to say again thank you Alixz for making this thread and thanks to everyone who is contributing.... as alas, the search goes on... 


Alixz

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #65 on: September 03, 2010, 02:30:23 AM »
griffh - I was wondering about the Library of Congress contact and how it panned out.  Since they have every book published, one would think that they would have the edition that we are looking for.  Did your contact make it clear why they didn't have any information on the 1940's edition?

Offline griffh

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #66 on: September 03, 2010, 11:43:59 AM »
Hi Alixz, fortunately Eric is still involved in our search and has not given up.  

Eric doesn't appear to believe that the book is a fraud, but he is puzzled by the lack of information about the book and he will contact a few more experts.  He said, just as Janet Ashton told me is happening in England, that budgets have been cut and that the Library of Congress is going to cut back which is tragic as available researchers are becoming scarse.  I think that these cut backs must be playing a part in the limited access to information.  Eric also said that NYC Library has had to cut back also and their Slavic's expert, who would probably have all the information on the authorship of My Empress,  and that the man has now had to try and find employment elsewhere.  Eric thinks the man has found a position at Columbia U. and is helpiing me track him down.   As usual I can't remember his name but have it written down somewhere.   

Alixz it is something of a mystery too that the section of the John Lane archives in 1918 is missing.  But there is still the large correspondence files which I will ask Bill my researcher in Texas to look into.  

While working on my article I was looking up something in the 1929 Hynes publication of the Tsar's letter to the Empress and saw that it too had been published by John Lane/Bodley Head which remains a well respected book.  And as I mentioned before, Behind the Veil of the Russian Court, was also published in 1913 by John Lane and the author's name, Count Paul Vassli was fictitious.  We learned after the Revolution that the book had been written by Princess Catherine Radziwill.  And again, as I mentioned before, the 1913 edition of Behind the Veil contains a rather extensive Publisher's Note in which it is explained that the book was one of the few chronicles of the Russian Court which had been written by a member of that milieu and that it was the hope of the publisher that the work would reveal the truth concerning Russian Society and the Imperial Family, while explaining that the author takes all responsibility for the judgments and facts shared in the book.  

If My Empress was a simple fraud, I can't help wondering why a well respected publishing house who had just a few years prior to the publication of My Empress openly displayed an interest in publishing the memoirs of members of the Russian Court.   It seems to me that there was already a process in place at John Lane that would have ensured the publisher's knowledge of the real author of My Empress, just as they knew the real author of Behind the Veil of the Russian Court, before publishing the work.  John Lane appears to have remained an important publishers of Russian History with the 1929 publication of the Tsar's Letter s to the Empress which forms half of theNicky - Sunny Letters.    It seems to me that a publisher such as John Lane would not have wanted to be part of a fraud.  If the book was published by some obscure publishing house then I suppose I would be more inclined to accept it as a fraud.    Of course my argument is not fool proof as Speller & Sons, a well respected publishing house that had published Russian histories for 38 years were responsible for publishing another Anastasia fraud, the "Anna Smith" debacle.  

Well I shall try and follow up the leads at the NYC Public Library and Columbia U. and continue my search in the John Lane Archives.  

« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 11:56:53 AM by griffh »

Offline blessOTMA

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #67 on: September 04, 2010, 09:42:41 AM »
griffh, thank you and the others for all your amazing work in this matter!To me, one of the  keys to this mystery is the timing of its publication. ..summer of 1918 ...alot was going on....Pressures were great  and a great deal of change was just in the wings.  This book, whether real or a fraud, has  strong view points it wishes to promote at this time . It's not merely an eyewitness account, but has an  strident agenda.. What I'm saying is, imo,  it was created to serve a purpose...what purpose, I can barely guess at. But I will note  a fraud can have real elements with in it ...indeed, the best frauds always do .

"Give my love to all who remember me."

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Alixz

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #68 on: September 04, 2010, 11:03:17 AM »
I finally got to read a copy of this book and it is amazing that it was published in the summer of 1918.  How was it that someone, anyone thought to keep records of 23 years of service in any kind of order and then compile and write a manuscript just before the murder of the Imperial Family?

Offline griffh

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #69 on: September 04, 2010, 12:56:12 PM »
griffh, thank you and the others for all your amazing work in this matter!To me, one of the  keys to this mystery is the timing of its publication. ..summer of 1918 ...alot was going on....Pressures were great  and a great deal of change was just in the wings.  This book, whether real or a fraud, has  strong view points it wishes to promote at this time . It's not merely an eyewitness account, but has an  strident agenda.. What I'm saying is, imo,  it was created to serve a purpose...what purpose, I can barely guess at. But I will note  a fraud can have real elements with in it ...indeed, the best frauds always do .

blessOTMA I agree that there is quite an agenda behind the publication of the book and I cannot quite define it.  It appears to have been written prior to the fall of the Provisional Government and it is not as critical of the IF as other publications would prove to be.   Possibly this is because the Provisional Government had not been overthrown by the Bolsheviks.          

I finally got to read a copy of this book and it is amazing that it was published in the summer of 1918.  How was it that someone, anyone thought to keep records of 23 years of service in any kind of order and then compile and write a manuscript just before the murder of the Imperial Family?

Alixz another Russian memoir published in 1918 is from an anonymous member of the Russian Court, The Fall of the Romanoff's: How the Ex-Empress & Rasputin Caused the Russian Revolution.  It is written by the same author of the 1916 publication, Russian Court Memoirs: 1914-1916.  When one compares the tone of   The Fall of the Romanoffs with that of My Empress there is a considerable difference and though My Empress is critical of Alix in some respects, it is not filled with the kind of spite and misinformation one finds in   The Fall of the Romanoffs.   Actually that book sounds almost as insane as Princess Catherine Radziwill's 1918 book, Rasputin and the Russian Revolution, also written just prior to the Bolshevik Revolution.  I had forgotten that Rasputin and the Russian Revolution,  was published by John Lane.  

As we know from the nightmare experiences of those pro and con historian involved in trying to prove or disprove historic identities, it is a mine field.  

Just for the sake of argument let us say that authorship of Gleb Botkin's memoirs,
The Real Romanovs, was being challenged.  As proof of our doubt let's examine Botkin's description of Stolypin's assassination.  

According to Stolypin's biographer, Abraham Ascher:

Stolypin occupied a seat in the first row of the pit, not far from the governor-general's box in which the tsar and his daughters were seated.  During the second intermission, Stolypin stood up, facing the audience, most of whom were in the foyer, and talked casually to people who approached him.  Baron Frederiks, the minister of the court, and Sukhomlinov, the minister of war, were standing nearby, also chatting amiably.  Suddenly, a young man dressed in evening clothes walked toward the prime minister from the rear of the theater without ever being stopped or questioned by any of the policemen and detectives in the building.  However, according to one report, "Stolypin seems to have noticed him, and to have looked interrogatively at him, as if to ask him what he wanted.  Before...he could say anything the young man drew a revolver and fired two shots point blank at his Excellency.  One ball struck M. Stolypin's right hand, and the other entered his body just beneath the right breast, striking the cross of one of the orders which he was wearing."  Without losing consciousness, Stolypin sunk into his seat, tried to open his jacket, and looking up at the imperial box make what witnesses interpreted as a sign of the Cross...

The tsar who was in a drawing room with his daughters at the time of the shooting, made an uncharacteristically imaginative gesture: he returned to his box, stepped up to the front row, and pointedly faced the audience.  "He was enthusiastically acclaimed"; at the request of the audience the orchestra played the national anthem, which was sung by the entire opera company kneeling on the stage."

In the meantime, Stolypin had been rushed to the Makovskii Hospital, where he languished for four days.  [Ref: Abraham Ascher, P. A. Stolypin: The Search for Stability in Late Imperial Russia, , (2001), pp. 371-372.]  

Asher documents his description of the event with the with quotations from British Documents; Kokovstov's, Out of My Past,, and Von Bock's Reminiscences.

Now let's have the author of The Real Romanovs share his version of Stolypin's assassination:
 
Then came the fatal day of the gala performance in the Kiev theater.  The Emperor was in his box, with Stolypin and my father, who had been intimate friends for years, standing together in the orchestra.  Stolypin had just finished talking to my father and was moving in the direction of his seat, when a man took a pistol from his pocket and fired point blank at Stolypin.  My father rushed towards the Prime Minister and reached him in time to catch him in his arms.  Stolypin was still alive, and as my father, assisted by several other courtiers, was carrying him out of the theater, he raised his hand, made the sign of the cross in the direction of the Emperor, and said:  "May God save him."

A few minutes later he died...  [Ref. Gleb Botkin, The Real Romanovs (1931), p. 87.]  

If Gleb's identity rested on his accuracy we could really question whether the book was a fraud or not given the glaring errors in what should have been a perfect memory of such an important event.  And so it goes.....

« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 12:59:57 PM by griffh »

Offline Elisabeth

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #70 on: September 04, 2010, 01:33:09 PM »
This is really interesting because the obvious conclusion is that Gleb Botkin was not actually present at Stolypin's assassination in Kiev, that he was in fact lying about his presence at such a historical event in order to make his autobiography more interesting, more sensational even. We all know Gleb was not beyond wanting to make a sensation. He would have been perfectly at home in our modern age with all our YouTube videos and Facebook, both of which provide an easy means of self-promotion. It's quite possible that Gleb actually wrote The Real Romanovs but that most of it is exaggerated and embellished, or worse, a complete tissue of lies. I for one have always found it hard to believe that he was on such familiar terms with OTMAA.
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Offline blessOTMA

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #71 on: September 04, 2010, 06:06:14 PM »
 It appears to have been written prior to the fall of the Provisional Government and it is not as critical of the IF as other publications would prove to be.   Possibly this is because the Provisional Government had not been overthrown by the Bolsheviks.
griffh, I think they were kinder to Alix and the Tsar because they knew the IF would soon be dead...or at least permanently imprisoned .  While it speaks of Alix  and the family in the present tense, it seems to be speaking of people  forever gone. The book seeks to create a sweet legend  to replace a person.  imo...And it's a legend  that stood for many years. Alix:  kind hearted but wrong headed ...and at least partly responsible for her demise. I don't think you had to be psychic to know the family was doomed by the Spring of 1918 , if not before.  Just well placed enough to know not a finger was being raised to help them in any manner and attentive enough to notice the trajectory of their captivity.  Week by week , it was always getting worse. 
Quote
I had forgotten that Rasputin and the Russian Revolution,  was published by John Lane.
Well  that's interesting.
 

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  Olga Nikolaevna

Alixz

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #72 on: September 04, 2010, 07:56:22 PM »
griffh - as usual you put everything in perspective.  I didn't realize that so many books were already in production and publication before the murder of the family in 1918.

It seems that quite a few people rushed to get their opinion of the story told.  My Empress is not as critical of Alix, but it is much more critical of Ella and now, in another thread, there is discussion about Ella and her hatred of Rasputin and her maneuvering of facts.  Perhaps Ella was not the "saint" that she was thought to be and the author of My Empress somehow knew that.

Who would know something like that?  Only someone who was very close to those people involved and had an "ear to the ground" but was not seen to be an intruder.

I am getting "thread confusion".  I know this happens when posting in several threads that have tie ins to the same people.  But I know that in your thread "Alexandra Fights Back" we were just discussing Ella and the facts that have come to light about her hatred of Rasputin and her condoning his murder.  (However many of the members of the Imperial Family not only condoned the murder but rejoiced in it.)  

Alixz

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #73 on: September 04, 2010, 08:05:59 PM »
Perhaps the publisher - John Lane - had something to do with the proliferation of books published after Nicholas's abdication in 1917 and the murders in 1918.

That seems to be one of the common facts about all of the books even if the author's are subject to question.

Offline griffh

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Re: My Empress by Marfa Mouchanow - who actually wrote it and why?
« Reply #74 on: September 05, 2010, 12:13:16 PM »
This is really interesting because the obvious conclusion is that Gleb Botkin was not actually present at Stolypin's assassination in Kiev, that he was in fact lying about his presence at such a historical event in order to make his autobiography more interesting, more sensational even. We all know Gleb was not beyond wanting to make a sensation. He would have been perfectly at home in our modern age with all our YouTube videos and Facebook, both of which provide an easy means of self-promotion. It's quite possible that Gleb actually wrote The Real Romanovs but that most of it is exaggerated and embellished, or worse, a complete tissue of lies. I for one have always found it hard to believe that he was on such familiar terms with OTMAA.

Elizabeth, I am sorry if I made it seem as if Gleb was present at the assassination, it was his father he was writing about.  But still as you said, Gleb is clearly making up a story that is appallingly filled with misinformation and yet Gleb's identity remains intact as we know he was the son of Dr. Botkin.  I was trying to use this as an illustration to those who accuse My Empress as a fraud because of similar mistakes.  I think one of the chief accusations is that those who accompanied the Tsar and Empress into exile was wrong, and similar things like that which critics say should have been known by the author if the book was genuine.  Well Gleb's book is genuine enough but filled with mistakes and misinformation.  Uising the absence of mistakes as an assurance of authenticity does not prove to be a reliable test.  



 
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 02:08:21 PM by Alixz »