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Messages - s.v.markov

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Thank you for that. No, I have no evidence to support its being a genuine memoir, and having looked at it again over the weekend, I agree with you that it should be assigned to the 'fictional' category, together with Mouchanow etc. I found a copy many years ago when I was compiling a bibliography of memoirs of late Imperial Russia published in English or translated into English. I remember then being surprised by the strength of the anti-Communist language, even in the opening prologue 'To the Men and Women of the British Empire' ! Parts of the book read like a romantic novel ~  'Zizie Engel is a lovely girl ~ a white and golden blonde, with gentle manners and big, trusting blue eyes...' and so on!! (p.46). I was unware of Phyllis Gotch ~ thank you for clearing that up. The bibliography I referred to runs to some 50 or so titles by contemporaries, but I am sure you would be able to add to it. I'll PM you with more details.

My copy arrived today ~ good to see some familiar names among the acknowledgements (Janet Ashton, Charlotte Zeepvat, Greg King etc).
I'm sure it will be a good read.

I am rarely moved or excited by a 'new' Romanov-related book now ~ it seems to me that everything has been said. But this one is an exception. The simple descriptions and memories recorded here by the Grand Duchess do more to evoke those lost times than any of the more weighty history books. Two examples : 'I often think of the people who go there (to Tsarskoe Selo) and wonder whether they can hear the past whisper in the leaves of the gnarled oak trees, and are able to listen to the tongues of springs and fountains telling tales of bygone times. Perhaps they are deaf to the voices of the past.......but just sit around and pass the time on Catherine's old marble benches....', and again a little further on 'I often think of those evenings of peace and beauty among the Finnish islands (on board the royal yacht with her brother and sister-in-law and her nieces and nephew) ~ the quiet calm water and the dark outlines of the pinewoods and rocks against the evening sky. Little did we know of what was to come and the trials were to endure.....'

Olga Nicholaievna / Re: Favorite pictures of Olga
« on: April 14, 2010, 03:07:08 AM »
Yes, this 1907 sequence (showing Olga and her sisters in individual portraits on board the royal yacht)  is very well reproduced in Sablin's 'Ten Years Service on Standart' (Petronius 2008). Worth taking a look if you can.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Duplicate Books
« on: March 08, 2010, 04:43:43 AM »
'Michael and Natasha' have already found a new home, where I hope they will be happy. Thanks and apologies to other members who sent a message, but there will be other copies I am sure.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Duplicate Books
« on: March 07, 2010, 07:11:56 AM »
I have a nice spare copy of 'Michael and Natasha' in hardback, by Rosemary and Donald Crawford (1997). Please tell me by PM if you would like to have it, and why. (svm).

'Once I Had A Home', The Diary and Narrative of Nadejda, Lady of Honour to Their Imperial Majesties The Late Empress Alexandra Feodorovna And The Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia, published October 1926 by Duckworth (London), with a 2nd impression March 1927. 320 pages, no illustrations.

Yes, her real name was Marchioness Felise Maureen de Verdieres, only child of an Imperial Guard officer. Most of the names of people in her memoirs are also changed 'to secure the safety of those still in the danger zone, to respect the privacy of certain relatives...and to preserve the incognito of some of the living characters'. This of course limits its value as an historical document, but it is still a useful account of how the two revolutions of 1917 affected members of the aristocracy and effectively destroyed their way of life. The author is by turns angry, romantic, gossipy and bitter in her descriptions, but she is always sincere and her love of Russia is clear at all times. Her final description of the 'lonely, black-robed figure, dignified and sorrowful' of the Dowager Empress on board 'Marlborough' is quite powerful.

The book is quite hard to find now, but worth the trouble.

'......I first saw her in 1912, at a ball in the Hall of the Nobles....That evening, she wore a pale pink chiffon dress of almost classic simplicity, a silver ribbon was bound round her golden hair, which was parted in the middle, and her only jewels were a string of pearls round her slender neck. She had not the regular features, the almost mystical beauty of her sister, but with her rather tip-tilted nose, her wide laughing mouth, her sparkling blue eyes, she had a charm, a freshness, an enchanting exuberance that made her irresistible.......'

....and here in the UK there are soft-back copies on offer for £12, and hard-backs for about £20. Have a look on the ABE books website.

Are the letters numbered and dated? If so, it will be possible to look them up in the book's English equivalent ~ 'Letters of the Tsaritsa to the Tsar, 1914 - 16', with an introduction by Sir Bernard Pares (Duckworth, London, 1923).

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Meriel Buchanan's books
« on: September 03, 2009, 07:03:57 AM »
Her early books are still well worth reading. There is inevitably some overlap with material in later books, but I would still recommend them all.

'Petrograd ~ The City of Trouble 1914 - 1918'  came out very quickly after the events it describes (December 1918) and begins with a vivid description of a review at Krassnoe on July 23rd 1914 and then has chapters on all the significant events that took place while Meriel was in the city ~ including the declaration of war, days spent at the hospital for the wounded, the murder of Rasputin, the two revolutions....right up to her journey back to England. It is quite a small book, with no pictures, but is a personal and sad journal of the times. 'Recollections of Imperial Russia'  (published in 1923) is a very different book, with chapters looking way back at the 'old Russia' of Peter, Catherine and Paul as well as at more contemporary events. It is a larger book, with 19 black and white plates. Finally, you mention 'The Dissolution of an Empire' (1932). This is a more complete account of her stay in Russia as daughter of the ambassador, with a lot of personal stories and anecdotes which are always of interest. She defends her father's actions strongly, in the face of severe criticism at the time.

Yes, there IS a lot of Romanov material in 'Queen Victoria's Relations' (1954). There are chapters on GD Olga Nicolaievna, GD Cyril, GD Elizabeth (Ella), as well as some of the Hesse relations and many others. 'Victorian Gallery' (1956) has chapters on Empress Marie, Grand Duke Dimitri, Grand Duchess Vladimir, and many other characters ~ all written with Meriel's usual grace and style. My advice would be to try and find them all if you can ~ and look out for signed copies. Meriel signed many copies of her books at publisher's events and for friends and acquaintances.

The Imperial Party was attending a performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's opera 'Tsar Sultan' at the Kiev Opera House in September 1911, when Piotr Stolypin was shot and later died.

Most of these books certainly DID have dust-wrappers on publication, but they are notoriously difficult to find now. I have the following with wrappers if you need them Sarushka :

Benckendorff : Last Days at Tsarskoe Selo (1927)
Buxhoeveden : Before the Storm (1938)
Narishkin-Kurakin : Under Three Tsars (1931)

Gilliard's original French version (Le Tragique Destin de Nicolas II) was a soft-back. My version was published by Payot, Paris, in 1924.
Nadine Wonlar-Larsky's 'The Russia that I Loved' (1937) had a very attractive wrapper, and I have seen really good copies of Grand Duchess Marie's two books (Education of a Princess and A Princess in Exile, 1931 and 1932), both with wrappers and signed by the author, go for very high prices in auction. Similarly, GD Alexander's two sets of memoirs (Once a GD and Always a GD, 1932 and 1933) also had wrappers, featuring a portrait of the GD of course!

Some books (e.g. Eagar and Viroubova) have attrative designs on the boards, and the original point of a wrapper was to allow the buyer to get the book home undamaged, and for the publisher to display the price on the spine. This is the case with Benckendorff. Once at home, the buyer would usually discard the wrapper before displaying the book on his/her shelves! That's why they are so difficult to find now, but, believe me, they do exist!

You might like 'How We Tried To Save The Tsaritsa' by Sergei Vladimirovich Markov (London, 1929). He was a soldier in the Empress' Own Crimean Regiment. You will find more details about this book in the Discussion Forum. The thread is 'How did you pick your user name?', page 3.

Books about the Romanovs and Imperial Russia / Re: Duplicate Books
« on: May 03, 2009, 01:55:30 PM »
I'm not sure that anyone will actually want it after the all the criticism and adverse comments it has received here, but thanks to well-meaning and generous friends and relatives who know my interests, I have ended up with two copies of Carolly Erickson's 'The Tsarina's Daughter' (hardback, 2008). Remember it is a work of fiction, so not one for those who demand historical accuracy!!  Perhaps it will serve to boost this thread, which seems to have been in the doldrums recently. I await the rush......!!!  (svm)

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