Thomas Bolt

Stories   Poems   About    Ask    Add

Writing.

September 30, 2014 at 10:17am

22 notes
Reblogged from foxpass

Tolstoy behaving badly

foxpass:

Chekhov told me once, “You know, I recently visited Tolstoy in Gaspra. He was bedridden due to illness. Among other things, he spoke about me and my works. Finally, when I was about to say goodbye he took my hand and said, ‘Kiss me goodbye.’ While I bent over him and he was kissing me, he whispered in my ear in a still energetic, old man’s voice, ‘You know, I hate your plays. Shakespeare was a bad writer, and I consider your plays even worse than his.’

—Peter Gnedich, “Memories,” from The Book of Life (1922), quoted by Peter Sekirin in Memories of Chekhov (via House of Culture and the New York Review of Books).

I first learned of this quote when my mother insisted—and I mean insisted—on reading it to me in Russian from her book of Chekhov reminiscences. In the book, the quote is published alongside Ivan Bunin’s account from The Russian Word (1904). It’s a great exchange—you can just picture the scene unfolding. She also read to us extensively about Chekhov’s last wife, the actress Olga Leonardovna Knipper and her illustrious mustache. The much younger Knipper was apparently quite pleasing to the eye but had a rather unfortunate facial hair situation going on. At the end of his life, when Chekhov himself was bedridden with tuberculosis, Knipper would dress for the theater and parade her escort, a dashing young colleague, before his bedside. Although the actor was widely rumored to be gay, in theater circles it was common knowledge that the pair were having an affair. Knipper outlived her husband by more than half a century, dying in 1959 at the age of 90.

She, like many in Chekhov’s circle of associates, contributed to the growing body of reminiscences that emerged following his death. In Russia, reminiscences (vospominanie, lit. “memories”) are a hybrid nonfiction literary genre that compiles biographic anecdotes and sketches from a notable person’s life as told by his family, friends and contemporaries. Reminiscences are either issued in consecutive volumes or as a single tome, and are always posthumous. Oftentimes, they go hand-in-hand with letters, a genre that is much more widespread in the West. And it is not uncommon to encounter the same stories told in altogether different publications of a reminiscence, kind of like the hadith. Essentially memoiristic in nature, they are a combination of biography and anthology. But because they are not written by any single person, they are a more dynamic format that allows readers to glimpse multiple angles of the subject’s life and personality.

Reminiscences are particularly interesting from an anthropological standpoint. A native Russian genre, they harbor a distinctly Russian mode of expression. Every culture, it seems, has its version of reminiscence, but typically this is confined either to oral tradition (the third world) or to one-sided narrative (the West). In postmodern America, for example, memoir reigns supreme. Like all things American, memoir pushes the mandate of individualism to the fringes of narcissism (and fiction). Notice memoirs are never called autobiography—no memoirist thinks he has enough material/acclaim to be worthy of such a rite. Time for a new sales pitch. Even biography is an essentially individualistic pursuit, as it not only glorifies the myth of the subject, but that of the writer-researcher, who has presumably undertaken this humongous reconnaissance mission all by his lonesome.

On the other hand, reminiscence is an egalitarian genre, inasmuch as it privileges multiple readings in a single work. Perhaps this has something to do with the Russian tradition of bending to a distant authority under the pretense of the common good, which in my opinion, existed way before the advent of socialism. (It’s worth noting that every culture has its measure of slavishness—it’s the way the culture manifests the slavishness that tells it apart from other cultures.) Still, in spite of this, reminiscences remain a brutally honest, even cynical, medium, owing in no small part to the agendas and agency of multiple contributors. It in Chekhov’s reminiscences, for example, that we find out how Tolstoy hated his plays, which made both men laugh.

7:40am

66 notes
Reblogged from amare-habeo
amare-habeo:

Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867 - 1947)
Fenêtre ouverte sur la Seine, 1911
Musée des Beaux Arts, Nice, France

amare-habeo:

Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867 - 1947)

Fenêtre ouverte sur la Seine, 1911

Musée des Beaux Arts, Nice, France

(via impressionsonmymind)

6:20am

18 notes
Reblogged from ontheheap
ontheheap:

The red cupboard 1939 - Pierre Bonnard

ontheheap:

The red cupboard 1939 - Pierre Bonnard

(via impressionsonmymind)

5:00am

13 notes
Reblogged from mauregatos
mauregatos:

Mesa delante de la ventana.

mauregatos:

Mesa delante de la ventana.

(via impressionsonmymind)

3:40am

197 notes
Reblogged from fleurdulys
fleurdulys:

Sunlit Interior - Edouard Vuillard
1920

fleurdulys:

Sunlit Interior - Edouard Vuillard

1920

2:20am

174 notes
Reblogged from fleurdulys
fleurdulys:

From the Balcony - Pierre Bonnard
1909

fleurdulys:

From the Balcony - Pierre Bonnard

1909

(via impressionsonmymind)

September 29, 2014 at 6:59pm

243 notes
Reblogged from failedarchitecture
failedarchitecture:

Tropical Babel — Failed Architecture

failedarchitecture:

Tropical Babel — Failed Architecture

(via architectureofdoom)

6:58pm

18,326 notes
Reblogged from ryanpanos

ryanpanos:

Movie Theaters in South India | Stefanie Zoche

(via witches-forever)

6:58pm

71,101 notes
Reblogged from starry-eyed-wolfchild

starry-eyed-wolfchild:

Bee Hotels for Solitary Bees

You may be wondering what bees need a hotel for, when they make their own hives. The truth is that many species of bees are solitary – the do not live in hives but instead construct their own nest. The main reason for this is because in these species every female is fertile and this would not make for comfortable communal living in a hive.

(Source: arkinspace.com, via makilikesflowers)

6:56pm

53 notes
Reblogged from victtoriaalol

Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.

— Samuel Johnson (via victtoriaalol)

7:40am

70 notes
Reblogged from importantmodernart
importantmodernart:

Piscine Versus The Best Hotels, 1982Jean-Michel Basquiat

importantmodernart:

Piscine Versus The Best Hotels, 1982
Jean-Michel Basquiat

6:20am

827 notes
Reblogged from luminacoeli
villenoire:

Giovanni Battista Crespi alias Il Cerano, San Gregorio libera dal Purgatorio l’Anima di un Monaco.

villenoire:

Giovanni Battista Crespi alias Il Cerano, San Gregorio libera dal Purgatorio l’Anima di un Monaco.

(Source: luminacoeli, via the-wolf-and-the-mockingbird)

5:00am

868 notes
Reblogged from nuclearharvest
nuclearharvest:

The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment, Diptych (detail) by Jan van Eyck 1425

nuclearharvest:

The Crucifixion; The Last Judgment, Diptych (detail) by Jan van Eyck 1425

(via arte-fucked)

3:40am

285 notes
Reblogged from abamefra
Dance of Death

Dance of Death

(Source: abamefra, via danskjavlarna)

2:20am

62 notes
Reblogged from aleyma
aleyma:

Bahu Masters, King Dasaratha and His Retinue Proceed to Rama’s Wedding: Folio from the Shangri II Ramayana Series, c.1690-1710 (source).

aleyma:

Bahu Masters, King Dasaratha and His Retinue Proceed to Rama’s Wedding: Folio from the Shangri II Ramayana Series, c.1690-1710 (source).