Moura: The Dangerous Life of the Baroness Budberg

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New York Review of Books, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 360 pages
4 Reviews
Baroness Maria Ignatievna Zakrevskaya Benckendorff Budberg hailed from the Russian aristocracy and lived in the lap of luxury—until the Bolshevik Revolution forced her to live by her wits. Thereafter her existence was a story of connivance and stratagem, a succession of unlikely twists and turns. Intimately involved in the mysterious Lockhart affair, a conspiracy which almost brought down the fledgling Soviet state, mistress to Maxim Gorky and then to H.G. Wells, Moura was a woman of enormous energy, intelligence, and charm whose deepest passion was undoubtedly the mythologization of her own life.

Recognized as one of the great masters of Russian twentieth-century fiction, Nina Berberova here proves again that she is the unsurpassed chronicler of the lives of Soviet émigrés. In Moura Budberg, a woman who shrouded the facts of her life in fiction, Berberova finds the ideal material from which to craft a triumph of literary portraiture, a book as engaging and as full of life and incident as any one of her celebrated novels.
  

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Review: Moura: The Dangerous Life of the Baroness Budberg

User Review  - Marina - Goodreads

Adorable reading: vivid, fascinating, clever. Read full review

Review: Moura: The Dangerous Life of the Baroness Budberg

User Review  - Elvira Baryakina - Goodreads

Really enjoyed it. Especially interesting were details about Gorky's life and literary business of the early 20th century. Read full review

Contents

The Beginnings i
8
Love and Prison
48
The Struggle
87
Italian Intermezzo
147
The Deal
202
Survival
255
SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
301
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Nina Berberova (1901-1993) was born in St. Petersburg. She and her companion Vladislav Khodasevich, later described by Vladimir Nabokov as the "greatest Russian poet of our time," lived in the household of Maxim Gorky for some years before emigrating to Paris. Khodasevich died in 1939, and in 1950 Berberova moved to the United States, where she taught herself English and worked as a clerk before becoming a professor of Russian literature at Princeton in 1963. In 1985, the novellas Berberova had written in the 1930s about Russian émigrés living in Paris were rediscovered by Hubert Nyssen, the director of the French publishing house Actes Sud, who began a program of reissuing her works, which include The Ladies from St. Petersburg, The Tattered Cloak, The Book of Happiness, The Accompanist, and an autobiography, The Italics Are Mine.

Marian Schwartz has been translating Russian fiction and nonfiction for over thirty years. Her work includes Edvard Radzinsky's The Last Tsar, Yuri Olesha's Envy, and many works by Nina Berberova.

Richard D. Sylvester is Professor Emeritus of Russian at Colgate. His writings about Russian poetry include essays on Khodasevich and Brodsky, and Tchaikovsky's Complete Songs: A Companion with Texts and Translations published by Indiana University Press.

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