Author Topic: Re: Books That the Romanovs Read  (Read 17548 times)

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Thomas_A.

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Re: Books That the Romanovs Read
« on: April 21, 2004, 03:55:38 PM »
I read that the Tsarina lived the books of Marie Corelli, a Victorian author.

I bought a book about Voltaire by David Friedrich Strauss. He discussed it's contents with the Tsarina's mother Alice of Hesse and she influenced and supported him much in his thoughts about the book - which he dedicated to her in the end; it caused a real scandal  :o
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 10:28:47 PM by Alixz »

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2004, 04:45:46 PM »
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Would anyone like to share thoughts on Romanov reading matter? Did anyone ever read the book Alix and Nicky mentioned those times in their war letters about Little Boy Blue?:)


'Fraid so. :-) I picked up a copy in a second-hand book sale years ago, and also have other of Florence Barclay's books from similar sources. It's actually not as sentimental as it might be; the theme is how a man might fall for a woman who is both older than he is AND a bluestocking, so in that sense it's positive...

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I know when Alix was still at her lessons, she read
Guizot's "Reformation de la Litterature", the Life of Cromwell, and Raumer's "Geschichte der Hohenstaufen" in nine volumes, and Paradise Lost. :)

Elisa :)


Other authors read by Alix (most of these are religious): James Russell Miller (Protestant clergyman with practical advice on life)
Jacob Boehme (early Protestant mystic)
"the sixteenth and seventeenth century Dutch theosophists" (her words; I am not quite sure who she means; Bob might know?)
St John of the Ladder (Orthodox ascetic)
Auguste Jundt (modern French mystic, author of the infamous "A few friends of God")
Mary Baker Eddy (founder of Christian Science)

I am interested in people's reading matter for what it tells us about how they think. It's possible to read too much into such things, but all these authors were sufficiently important to Alix that she mentioned or recommended them to friends.

On the fiction front, both Alix and Nicholas had a leaning to light romance or thrillers: during the war he read a lot of William LeQueux, who wrote trashy spy stories and pseudo-history (around three a year) and in fact ironically, later, also some real howlers about Rasputin. :-)

Janet

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2004, 05:48:53 PM »
Janet:

I read The Rosary and The Postern Gate by Barclay after seeing that they read them - man, those were tough going.

I have a copy of the Millionaire Girl by Rita - they were reading that as well - another sentimental book - now I still need to get Little Boy Blue.  It can take a long time to find them - The Millionaire Girl took me several years to find.

I have found a few other books from the Imperial rooms, I had a copy of "On Desert Altars", another favorite of Alix's from the Mauve Room - unfortunately it was stolen and I have been trying to get it back for four years from the person who took it.

They had Gibson Girl books, "60 Years a Queen", lots of others you can get copies of today at reasonable prices.

Janet - have you read that book on friends of God?  Did they read it in English?  I'd like to find a copy.  It seems to have had a big impact on them.

Bob

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2004, 06:15:25 PM »
I continue to haunt used book stores for specifically mentioned books that they read, or books that they might have read.  I do have several Marie Corelli novels, but not the ones mentioned by Alix. I also have copies (though not from before 1918 ) of Rider Haggard's stories--the ones Alexei enjoyed so much--plus Les Miserables and a few of the plays they read and/or performed.  

Last night I found two volumes of Rudyard Kipling tales, each published around 1912 or 1913. (With original publicaton dates from 10-15 years earlier.) When I opened one of the books I nearly fell over--on the frontspiece was Rudyard Kipling's name with a swastika . . . the same symbol used by Alix!  All before Hitler, of course, and used in a considerably different context than what would follow.

Offline JM

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2004, 06:20:12 PM »
Did the Empress or her daughters read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or any other books by native Russians? Which books did they enjoy?

I think Tolstoy's amazing ;D.

Janet Whitcomb

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2004, 06:33:48 PM »
I believe that while imprisoned Nicholas read War and Peace for the first time.  Alexandra seemed to stick to sentimental novels--the popular fare of the day--and books about religion. I've read that in some quarters the children were thought to be woefully undereducated.  Olga did seem to have an interest in reading for knowledge as well as for amusement.

Thomas_A.

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2004, 03:41:59 AM »
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Did the Empress or her daughters read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or any other books by native Russians? Which books did they enjoy?

I think Tolstoy's amazing ;D.


I read that Grand Duke Sergej A. did not allow Ella to read "Anna Karenina" by Tolstoi...
I really enjoyed that book, though.............
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Thomas_A. »

Offline Forum Admin

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2004, 10:06:58 AM »
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Did the Empress or her daughters read Tolstoy, Dostoevsky or any other books by native Russians? Which books did they enjoy?


The Librarian of the Alexander Palace had a standing order for a copy of every single new book published in Russia to be delivered to the Palace. The new books were placed on a particular table each day for Nicholas II to examine. He would indicate which books he wanted to keep, to read for himself and the family, and the rest were distributed to public libraries.  Newly published books in German, French and English from abroad were also similarly ordered and reviewed. Many authors worldwide would send specific dedication copies (unrequested) of their works to the Imperial Family. We have seen such works from Alexandra's library, as well as the childrens' libraries.

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2004, 01:06:35 PM »
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Janet - have you read that book on friends of God? Did they read it in English? I'd like to find a copy. It seems to have had a big impact on them.

Bob


I haven't read it, Bob. It's one of the few of their books whose titles I know that I couldn't get my hands on - though it may be available from one of the internet book shops (I confess I haven't looked).
I think they must have read it in French, because that's the language they use when referring to the title. I think it probably had quite an effect on the whole French mystical scene as well....

Janet



Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2004, 01:10:52 PM »
PS - To Bob - Is there a complete list anywhere of the books held in the personal library of Nicholas and Alexandra? - I know the Russian National Library has a lot of what was in the Winter Palace, but parts of the collection were dispersed so are not covered by the National Library's catalogue....(which is a card index in any case and inaccessible to me from here...)

Just wondering if you knew anything about this?
Thanks...

Janet

Offline Joanna

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2004, 08:16:04 PM »
Hello Janet !

There was an exhibition at the New York Public Library in 1998 The Romanovs: Their Empire, Their Books:

"...This exhibit presents a selection of some 124 items from a collection of over 3,000 Romanov volumes acquired by The New York Public Library during the 1920s and 30s..."

http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/slv/exhibit/roman.html

Joanna


Offline Antonio_P.Caballer

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2004, 08:44:30 PM »
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Did anyone ever read the book Alix and Nicky mentioned those times in their war letters about Little Boy Blue?


Elisa :)


Hello Elisa!

Good question. I bought that book by Marie Corelli, The Boy. I tried to read it but found her english difficult and the book a little boring...im sorry to say...Also i read that Alixs expression Blue Boy came from another book i cannot remember...

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2004, 02:27:04 PM »
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Hello Janet !

There was an exhibition at the New York Public Library in 1998 The Romanovs: Their Empire, Their Books:

"...This exhibit presents a selection of some 124 items from a collection of over 3,000 Romanov volumes acquired by The New York Public Library during the 1920s and 30s..."

http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/slv/exhibit/roman.html

Joanna




Hi Joanna!

They certainly have some gorgeous books there....NYPL is one of the organisations that bought part of the Winter Palace Collection; the Library of Congress is another....
The Russian Library is of course very short of money to look after its own part of the collection. A great pity...

Janet

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2004, 02:28:33 PM »
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 I bought that book by Marie Corelli, The Boy. I tried to read it but found her english difficult and the book a little boring...im sorry to say...Also i read that Alixs expression Blue Boy came from another book i cannot remember...


It comes from "Through the postern gate" by Florence Barclay. the hero was known by this name as a child...(or something!:-))

Janet

Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2004, 02:32:48 PM »
Thanks for clearing that up, Janet.