Author Topic: Re: Books That the Romanovs Read  (Read 17603 times)

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Offline Sarai

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2004, 02:47:26 PM »
Here are a couple more books that were read to the girls, which are mentioned in their letters. Unfortunately I don't know anything about them, what they're about, etc.:

- The Hunter's Notes by Turguenev. This book was read to Anastasia and Maria by their tutor.

- An Icy House by ?. Also read to the "little pair" by their tutor. Maria notes "it's awfully interesting."

Offline Belochka

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2004, 08:57:13 PM »
My copy of Ivan Turgenev's (1818 - 83) book is titled: Sketches from a Hunter's Album, although it is also found with the title A Sportsman's Notebook. This classic was written as a series during 1847 - 51. In Russian it is called Zapiski Okhotnika

This compilation consists of 25 different short stories which illustrate rural Russia during the period just prior to the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. The stories present real life images - the hunter wanders through the natural countryside, contrasting the gentry who were full of self importance having their own set values to that of the simple superstitious serfs who were distinct individuals with their own thoughts, and who were oppressed by the system under which they lived. This collection was deemed subversive when it was published because it challenged the Russian social system.

I'm sorry but there are not enough details about the second book to understand what it may be. Do you remember who the author may have been?
;)

« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Belochka »


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IlyaBorisovich

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2004, 07:53:28 AM »
I've read from several sources that Olga N's favorite book was Les Miserables, but I don't know how true it is.  If anyone can confirm this it would be appreciated.

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2004, 03:54:53 PM »
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Janet - As I am Dutch, I was quite intrigued by your reference to Dutch theosophist from the 16th and 17th century. The word "theosophy" now most often refers to the teachings of the Theosophical Society (Madam Blavatsky and related people), that originated in the second half of the 19th century, so I was a bit confused. It turns out that the word "theosophy" has also been applied to kabbalah, neoplatonism and the system of Jakob Böhme.


Yes, that's right, and I assume the latter is what Alix meant - although people in or alleged to be in her circle did have tenuous links to the Theosophical Society. Her brother for one did dabble with ideas that today might be thought rather "New Age," and Nikolasha was into spiritualism, which was one of the main selling points for Blavatsky et al.

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This German mystic (1575-1624) was a Lutheran who wrote about his religious experiences (Aurora and a lot of other works). His writings were considered heretical. Abraham Willem van Beyerland (1596-1648 ) translated them into Dutch. In the 18th century, Böhme had a group of followers in the Netherlands that later amalgamated with the Quakers.


Thank you for posting this - it's very useful as I had no idea who she might mean. I did wonder about earlier mystics such as Meister Eckhardt, who is sometimes described as a theosophist, but he is too early and the wrong country!

Janet

Offline Janet_Ashton

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #19 on: July 08, 2004, 12:27:04 PM »
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Janet, you may have been right in wondering about Eckhart. On the internet, I found a reference to a person called Jundt who wrote a book "Histoire du Panthéisme" (1875) using or inspired by texts of Meister Johann Eckhart. Could this be the Jundt you referred to?


This is definitely the same man - I think he was a theologian or even sociologist of religion, and yet another of his works is on Protestant mysticism. I think Eckhardt is often described as a "Friend of God" - at any rate, the latter were medieval mystics too, so although I have never seen any specific evidence to confirm it, I would be very surprised if Alix had no knowledge of Eckhardt's thinking.
Confusingly, there are several other Jundts who wrote about religion around the same era, but Auguste is the one in question.

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I've also found something on a Dutch poet who was a follower of Boehme. His name was Luiken. I'm not sure whether Alix read any of his poems, but I will continue my search for other followers.


Thanks! I'll be interested to hear what you find...

Janet

Offline grandduchessella

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2004, 11:22:59 PM »
This link doesn't relate to especial books but rather their libraries:

http://www.romanovrussia.com/Exl.html
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Offline Sarai

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2004, 07:13:05 PM »
Here are some more books to add to the list of those read by the family, from the "Nicholas and Alexandra: At Home with the Last Tsar and His Family" exhibition catalogue:

1. The Lady of la Garaye by Caroline Sheridan Norton. From Alexandra's library.
Online copy: http://www.indiana.edu/~letrs/vwwp/norton/lagaraye.html

2. Gleanings from Pious Authors by Montgomery (London, 1850). From Alexandra's library.

3. Rubaiyat by Omar Khayyam. Given as a gift from Nicholas to Alexandra for Christmas, 1912.
Online copy: http://classics.mit.edu/Khayyam/rubaiyat.html

4. Secret History by Williamson (London, 1915). From Alexandra's library.

5. Heavenly Dew. Gift from cousin Maud to Alix for her confirmation in 1888.

6. English Sacred Poetry (London, 1877). Kept in Alexandra's Maple Room. Gift from her grandmother, Queen Victoria.

7. In Memoriam by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Gift from Alexandra to Olga for Easter 1911.
Online version: http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem2124.html

8. In Green Pastures: Daily Readings for Every Day in the Year by J.R. Miller. Gift from Alexandra to Olga, July 1914.
Online version: http://www.zeitun-eg.org/greenidx.htm
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Sarai_Porretta »

Sergio

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2004, 08:47:57 AM »
According to his English teacher Sir Charles, Alexi´s liked this books a lot:

1) "King Solomon´s mines" Rider Haggard.

2) "Cast up by the sea" Samuel Baker.


Sergio

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #23 on: September 30, 2004, 01:12:42 PM »
Elisabeth wrote on 28.09.2004
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Nicholas must have liked Pushkin's novel in verse, "Eugene Onegin," since he named his second daughter Tatiana after its famous heroine (and possibly his first after the heroine's sister Olga - debatable, whatever he later told GD Konstantin Konstantinovich!). He and Alexandra read Tolstoy's epic "War and Peace" together during the first years of their marriage. In the Ipatiev House, Nicholas was systematically reading the complete works of Saltykov-Shchedrin, which he had found in a bookcase there. These works included Saltykov's intensely dark and depressing novel, "The Golovlyov Family," which N notes in his diary he finished reading on June 3 (May 21, O.S.).

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2004, 09:46:21 AM »
While looking for something else, I found this in Spiridovitch's "Last Years"

Their Majesties greatly loved books.  Once every week, the Librarian Tchtchegelov would lay out on a table all of the newest Russian books and many of the newest foreign ones.  The Emperor would examine the books, placing to one side the ones which pleased him, which were to be purchased for the library and returning the rest to the booksellers.
     During the time when the Empress was still in good health and when no outside intrusions would come to disturb the private life of Their Majesties, they would often of an evening, take turns reading out loud to each other.  One could say that they read in this manner everything noteworthy in Russian literature, which they understood perfectly.  The Narratives of a Hunter by Turgenyev, and the works of Lesskov were the favorite tomes of the Emperor.  The Unforgettable Angel by Lesskov so pleased the Emperor that he carried this book with him on all of his voyages: "I can never travel without him" he said one day to a member of the Suite.

Offline Mike

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2004, 10:09:25 AM »
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 Once every week, the Librarian Tchtchegelov would lay out on a table all of the newest Russian books and many of the newest foreign ones.

Nobody was allowed to touch these books or even approach the table. A servant was always on duty in the room, whose order was to politely keep away any curious passer-by, including the tsar's children and ministers.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2004, 10:55:50 AM »
The Imperial Libraries must have been vast.  So many have been dispersed not only to public libraries but private collectors as well. Over the years I have seen many such books, with palace bookplates, I am guessing each palace had a different one? And each family member had their own ? They still come up for sale now & then, the price not depending on the real value of the book, but the provenance, of course.  Even the condition- from pristine to pitiful does not seem to matter.  There must have also been a seperation from the private libraries and the larger collections.
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Offline Elisabeth

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2004, 10:59:23 AM »
In reference to what someone wrote earlier, it is a complete myth that Nicholas and Alexandra did not read Russian literature. According to N's own diary, they read "War and Peace" together during the early years of their marriage. They named their second daughter after the quintessentially Russian heroine of Pushkin's novel-in-verse, "Eugene Onegin."

I suspect the story that Nicholas and Alexandra did not read Russian literature derives from what Klavdia Bitner, the children's governess at Tobolsk, told White investigators about the imperial children's supposed lack of knowledge of Russian literature. Since Bitner was a liberal, I would take such testimonies with a grain of salt -- what she probably meant was that the children were not familiar with the "seditious" works of writers like Belinsky, Nekrasov, Chernyshevsky, Gorky, etc., the literary saints of the early twentieth-century Russian intelligentsia. It does not mean that OTMA and Alexis did not read Pushkin, Lermontov, Tolstoy, and so on.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Elisabeth »
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Offline hikaru

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2005, 02:09:10 AM »
About Russian roman "Icy House" by Lazhechnikov: russian children loves this book even now.
This is an intresting book telling about the story of the
clown's wedding on times of Anna Ioanowna.
It is quite a terrible story too.
In front of the Winter Palace it was built by fun the Icy palace for wedding celebration and newly marriages had to spent their first night there...

Dialog of Klavdiya Mikhaylovna Bitner and Comissaire Pankratov (According of the Pankratov's book) :
In several days Klavdiya Mikhaylovna have began to teach .
- What about of the education level of the children?
- It is very much to be desired. I did not expected completely what I have found. Such adult children but their knowledge about Russian literature is so tiny. They did not read much of Pushkin, Lermontov , though know something of them. But Nekrasov - they never heard about him. I am no speaking about others ...
Alexey did not learn about primitive grammar , and his knowledge of Russian geography is very unclear. What does it mean? The parents had all possibility to provide children with the best professors and teachers - and they did not do it!

When M-me Bitner read  next day to the OTMA Nekrasov's
"Russian Women" and " Father Frost, Red Nose" , they
engoied it and said: "It is very pitty, that nobody told us before that we have such a wonderful poet".


Offline lexi4

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Re: Romanov books
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2005, 10:03:32 PM »
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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

Bob,
Any tips on how to find some of these books? Suggested web sites?
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