Moura: The Dangerous Life of the Baroness Budberg (New York Review Books Classics Series)

Moura: The Dangerous Life of the Baroness Budberg (New York Review Books Classics Series)


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590171370
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 06/28/2005
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 5.88(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.07(d)

About the Author

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.

Table of Contents

Translators' Noteix
Author's Prefacexiii
1The Beginnings1
2Love and Prison48
3The Struggle87
4Italian Intermezzo147
5The Deal202
Select Bibliography301
Index of Names311

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Moura: The Dangerous Life of the Baroness Budberg (New York Review Books Classics Series) 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
almigwin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book reads like a history text book. It hardly delves into the feelings, passions, fears and fumbles of these fascinating people. The history, however, is clearly written and replete with purges, assassinations, successful and unsuccessful spying, much friendship and many lies. I am a big fan of Berberova's fiction and her autobiography, and was not disappointed with this book. If you want to follow a fascinating and troubling life, go for it. You will feel like you are really there with them all.
yooperprof on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fascinating life, but poorly executed biography. Baroness Budberg (1892-1974) was a survivor of the Russian Revolution and an enchanting woman who was successively the mistress/companion of Robert Bruce Lockhart, Maxim Gorky and H.G. Wells. Nina Berberova knew Moura personally, as well as most of the main personages of Russian emigre life, but this book presumes such a wide knowledge of 20th century literature and politics that most readers will be left rather in the dark about several key events and individuals. There's a great book to be written about this interesting muse and lover, but this isn't it.