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Messages - Naslednik

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Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra - Slandered and Hated
« on: July 26, 2011, 05:48:25 PM »
Alexandra made decisions and sometimes carried herself in such a way that even today she can make us uncomfortable.  But she was a good, honorable woman.

Bad things can happen to good people.  I push myself to separate the bad outcome from the person him/herself.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Her Accent
« on: July 26, 2011, 05:27:26 PM »
What about Alexandra's writing (sorry if slightly off topic)?  Has anyone else noticed that her English writing is, well, disappointing? I find that Nicholas' English writing is far more sophisticated, with balanced sentences (mixture of long and short ones), and sometimes expressive or poetic descriptions of nature. Perhaps this is simply evidence of the extra effort put into a boy's education? 

You are in for some surprises!  Well, I won't give anything away....the ending is nothing I ever considered, but probably the real Little K thought about it from time to time...   :)

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Her Accent
« on: July 21, 2011, 05:25:33 PM »
This isn't actually accurate.  For example, I can speak French with virtually no accent, and I can also speak England accented English (Home Counties actually) well enough to fool native Brits, yet I am an American, born and raised in California.

Actually, Forum Admin, I think that your example lines up exactly with what I am saying.  French and English county accents are so similar in sonority to American sounds that we can learn, even as adults to find some connection (perhaps subconsciously) between our 'new' language to sounds we know from childhood.  I, too, have a great French accent and can do various Brit accents.  But really unusual sounds (like that Russian "y" in Myshkin) are hard to hear cognitively, at least to English speakers  I sure would like to fix that! Thankfully, most Russians are quite forgiving.


Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Her Accent
« on: July 21, 2011, 05:14:10 PM »
Very interesting about the fine tuning and your pit/spit example.  Do you know Russian?  Can you explain why I can't "hear" the y sound in a word like Myshkin?  Is the the infancy pruning thing, or is there hope that I might get it some day if I persevered...
I do like the character of Prince Myshkin so much I hate to call him Prince Bear or Prince Mouse, which is what I sound like in Russian!

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Her Accent
« on: July 19, 2011, 08:16:57 AM »
This accent issue may be a matter of perspective.  People with really developed hearing (musicians, interpreters, or lovers of music and language) may be more critical in assessing whether someone has an accent.  I think that Kerensky, too, said Alexandra had an accent in 1917.

I don't think adults can totally erase an accent in languages with sounds that can't be explained by our native alphabet.  For instance, "SH" or "SHCH" can explain these Russian letters.  But there is no English set of letters to explain the sound of "i" in a word like Mishkin or Myshkin (from Dostoevsky).  No matter how this is taught to me, I don't seem to get it -- and I am a professional musician.

Then I heard that when we are infants, about 9 mos. old, our brain begins to pare out the parts that aren't being used, maybe a bit like opening up space on your hard drive.  So if you haven't heard that particular sound or anything like it, it gets harder and harder to imprint it on your brain later to allow you to reproduce the sound.  My guess is that Alexandra did speak Russian with an accent, but Nicholas did not speak English with an accent because he started learning so young.

Alexandra Feodorovna / Re: Alexandra's Engagement and Wedding rings
« on: July 19, 2011, 08:01:26 AM »
OK, Alixz, back to Alexandra!

The xray 'inventor' Roentgen didn't take them; it was an American doctor and his wife who traveled to St. Petersburg with their machine.  And here a funny thing happened -- when they turned on the xray machine it caused a black-out at the Alexander Palace, and in the darkness, the doctor's wife ran smack into the Tsar. 

The doctor's wife explained that Nicholas was very charming and smoothed over that little breach of etiquette.

I got to see the original prints of those xrays as they were being set up for exhibit in Vienna and San Francisco.  There may be more than one copy, but I think that Harvard Medical School owns a set.

Yes I completely agree with your summary of Nicholas' attitude toward Kschessinska.  I'll have to search the forum for threads of (your) discussion on his devoutness and conflict with his emerging manhood. 

I think his religious feelings/her virginity/his awareness of her Father's feelings did cause him guilt. You can feel that in K's unpublished memoirs when she describes him sitting in a chair away from her, inert, as she was trying to convince him to be 'her first.'  The degree of her devotion to him, even after 1894, must also have added to his guilt.

What intrigues me is how our post-revolution views interfere with a clear view of events well before 1917; hence writers see Nicholas' reticence with Kschessinska as more proof of his spinelessness.  Have there been any general threads on the forum discussing that general social problem? (a sort of antidote to 'History is Written by the Victors') (I have a son named Viktor  :-)

What is really missing from library shelves is a thorough study of Nicholas as a boy and young man, in my humblest of opinions.
Alison Naslednik

Tsarevich Alexei Nicholaievich / Re: Alexei and Hemophilia
« on: July 04, 2011, 12:29:20 PM »
Robert K Massie mentioned (I'd have to track down where) that he was amazed at how much less virulent Alexei's hemophilia was than his own son's (Rev. Bob Massie).  It would be interesting to hear a geneticist explain how the disease expresses itself in different intensities.

I just read this novel and would recommend it if you have already read Kschessinska's autobiography, Dancing in Petersburg.  It is important to have the 'facts' down so that you can suspend disbelief enough to continue on the novel's tale and understand that you are reading fiction. That said, I think it is a good read - the language is sometimes unbelievably beautiful and poetic, and the author explores the possibilities of Kschessinka's thoughts, the things that she doesn't mention in her memoirs.  I wasn't much interested in the issue of Vova's paternity, but I loved exploring Kschessinska's emotional world: her real attachments, the double-edged sword of her connection to the IF, and her motivation to reign supreme on the stage.  However, I do disagree with Sharp about Kschessinka's view of Nicholas.  In the novel, Nicholas' reticence to be deeply involved with Little K is presented as proof of his lukewarm love for her.  Instead, I think his actions were deeply influenced by his religious feelings and hope to marry Alix H.

Nicholas II / Re: St Nicholas' day
« on: February 10, 2011, 09:59:32 PM »
Fyodor Petrovich, what is the 'tonic diacritic' that you mention:
"a way of transliterating the tonic diacritic on the "o" of the original Greek Νικόλαος!

It occurs to me that if you pronounce the "i" in Nicholas as a long "ee" the way so many cultures do, it makes it easier for the "ch" to have the flavor of a Greek or Russian "X" as you mentioned.  In other words, the h is no longer gratuitous. The tongue has already compressed the air in "ee" and the glottal X follows easily.  But Russians just pronounce the K as it is, anyway.

Nicholas II / Re: portraits (paintings) of Nikolai II Aleksandrovich #2
« on: February 10, 2011, 09:37:41 PM »
That does sound pricey.  But Romanov devotees are likely to be around for a while, so maybe it would hold its value.

She must have used the 1893 photo (London?), but she has turned his torso slightly, and consequently his face looks narrower than I am used to seeing in other paintings.  Maybe thinness is considered an aristocratic look??

Nicholas II / Re: Personal Attributes of Nicholas II
« on: February 10, 2011, 09:28:37 PM »
Yes, I've seen re-enactors at Gettysburg: medical corps re-enactors!  They educated us about anesthesia, amputation, etc.  But this is off topic.

I mention 'canned' not in the obvious sense, people dressed up playing the part of another era.  What I mean is something slightly closer to a thin veil of unintended propaganda.  I am so moved at Gettysburg each time I visit, but the message they convey is sometimes canned: the North was fighting to end slavery.  But I know the average Union soldier was not risking his life to end the inequality of slavery.  So I leave this historical site with deep emotions, but aware that I have witnessed some 21st century spin.

I cannot imagine how hard it would be to have a palace display of the IF and avoid the problem of 'spin.'  Each one of us has such different opinions on Nicholas and Alexandra, and future historians may never reconcile all the controversies of propaganda, gossip, suppressed publication and martyrdom.  A wise Curator might just label items for what they are: uniform, chair, toy, and leave the interpretation to the individual.

Nicholas II / Re: Personal Attributes of Nicholas II
« on: February 09, 2011, 05:01:48 PM »
About the 1902 voice recording with President Loubet:

Now I'm not so sure it is Nicholas.

I just had my French friend listen to the 1902 recording, and he thinks that it is not Nicholas talking!  I am so disappointed.  He believes that the recording is like this:

(short Narration Voice #1) (Speech in French, Voice#1) (short Narration Voice #1) (Speech in French Voice#2).

In other words, a French person speaks the quick introductions and Loubet does his own speech.  I guessed why this might be -- if the event was in Krasnoe, Nicholas would have spoken in Russian, and Loubet in French.  But if it were re-recorded back in France, the narrating voice might have spoken Nicholas' speech translated from Russian to French.  Perhaps it was prepared for a radio transmission?  I don't know, radio was just being invented, so that's unlikely, unless it was transcribed much later.

On the other hand, if the audience at these speeches was more educated, it is possible Nicholas might have spoken French.

So it all depends upon whether the "Narrator" voice is the same as the first real Speaker....

What do you think?

I believe that Massie was deeply disappointed in the movie.  And no wonder -- the movie makes it look so easy, a sort of "just modernize and democratize, you (Imperial) idiot, and you'll be fine!"  In fact, nothing was that obvious 100 years ago, and Russia is still debating these questions.  We native English speakers have the advantage of Magna Carta showing up in 1215, and having centuries to ripen into Democracy.

Both movies make me uncomfortable, tho' Romanovy is eye candy!

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