Author Topic: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter  (Read 8976 times)

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Offline Lady Macduff

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Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« on: February 09, 2014, 05:34:49 PM »
I have been digging around for the text of the letter Dr. Botkin was writing to his brother when Yurovsky knocked to lead the family to their deaths. Every source I have come across contains ellipses, but for the book I am writing I need as complete a text as I can get my hands on. Can anyone point me in the right direction? (And is it possible that the ellipses were in fact put into the letter by Dr. Botkin himself?)
We are sitting together as usual, but you are missing from the room. - AN

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2014, 07:19:10 PM »
Where have you looked already?
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline Lady Macduff

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2014, 08:14:35 PM »
Last Days of the Romanovs, Fate of the Romanovs, Fall of the Romanovs, etc. Weirdly the most complete text I've found was on the Wikipedia page.
We are sitting together as usual, but you are missing from the room. - AN

Offline edubs31

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2014, 11:06:31 PM »
I swiped this from FOTR which I realize you've already read, but just thought I'd post to make it easier for everyone to see. Are you certain those ellipses you speak of are done by the writers of the books copying over the material, or done by Botkin himself? Alexandra used to use plenty of ellipses and dashes in her letters.

Isn't there also some dispute as to when exactly the famous letter was written? I feel like it's commonly accepted that he was in middle of the unfinished letter when Yurovsky knocked on his door of the Drawing Room around 1:30am on the night of July 16/17, 1918. But according to King & Wilson the letter was written nearly two weeks earlier on July 3rd and simply went unfinished. It's easy enough to see where the confusion comes from. If you're using the old Julian calendar than July 3rd translates to July 16th, the night of the murders. But if it's July 3rd new-style, as K&W seem to suggest, than the correct old-style date should actually be June 20th.

“I am making a last attempt at writing a real letter. A letter from here. Although qualification, I believe, is utterly superfluous. I do not think that I was fated at any time to write anyone from anywhere. My voluntary confinement here is restricted less by time than by my earthly existence. In essence I am dead. Dead for my children, for my work. I am dead but not yet buried, or buried alive, whichever. The consequences are nearly identical. My children may hold out hope that we will see each other again in this life but I personally do not indulge in that hope, and I look the unadulterated reality right in the eye. I will clarify for you the smallest episodes illustrating my condition. The day before yesterday, as I was calmly reading Saltykov-Shchedrin, whom I was greatly enjoying, I suddenly saw a reduced vision of my son Yuri’s face. But dead, in a horizontal position, his eyes closed. Yesterday, at the same reading, I suddenly heard a word that sounded like “Papulya”. I nearly burst into sobs. Again this is not a hallucination because the word was pronounced, the voice was similar, and I did not doubt for an instant that my daughter, who was supposed to be in Tobolsk, was talking to me. I will probably never hear that voice so dear or feel that touch so dear, with which my little children spoiled me…If faith is dead without works then works can live without faith. If any of us does combine faith and works, then ut us only out of God’s special kindness. One such happy man, through grave suffering, the loss of my firstborn, my half-year old boy Seryozha, was I. Ever since then my code has significantly expanded and defined itself, and in every case I have also been concerned about the patient’s soul. This vindicates my last decision, too, when I unhesitatingly orphaned my own children in order to carry out my physician's duty to the end, as Abraham did not hesitate at God’s demand to sacrifice his only son.”
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2014, 07:18:23 AM »
Can you read or translate Russian? If so I'll check Tatiana Botkin's memoir when I get a minute.
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline TimM

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2014, 11:11:40 AM »
I'm guessing this is for your book, Kelly?
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Offline Lady Macduff

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2014, 06:21:57 PM »
Yes, for the book, Tim. Circumstances have arranged themselves such that May 1 looks like it's going to be my final writing day, then the real struggle begins. :) In my editing process I realized that Dr. Botkin's real letter would work just as well in place of the fictional one from Tatiana B. I had in the original draft.

And no, Sarah, no Russian for me except the most elementary stuff. It's on the bucket list, though.
We are sitting together as usual, but you are missing from the room. - AN

Offline TimM

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2014, 11:16:52 AM »
I hope you get published, Kelly.  It won't be easy, believe me.
Cats: You just gotta love them!

rosieposie

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Re: Complete Text of Dr. Botkin's Last Letter
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 05:10:00 AM »
Wow his letter is deep and the irony amazes me.