Category Archives: Archives

Sophia Kuvshinnikova’s Diary

People had widely divergent opinions of Sophia Kuvshinnikova, who was Levitan’s mistress from sometime in the late 1880s until 1894. Chekhov found her to be a social gadfly and couldn’t forgive her for cuckolding her husband, a hard-working and unassuming … Continue reading

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Levitan Meets Tolstoy

Among the unpublished memoirs at the Tretyakov Gallery archive, I came across an interesting anecdote about how Levitan once met Tolstoy, albeit very briefly. In the late 1880’s Levitan was living, on and off, in a furnished room in the … Continue reading

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The Lenin Library

On Saturday I plunged into working at the Russian State Library. Getting into the library is a somewhat elaborate process: first, there is a checkpoint at which you scan your reader card, then you walk up to the checkroom to … Continue reading

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State Archive of Literature & Art

After a series of e-mail exchanges, the staff of RGALI (the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art) has let me know that the documents I’ve requested are being set aside for me and will be available when I make … Continue reading

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Levitan’s Women

With my departure for Moscow less than two weeks away, I’m finishing up translating all of Levitan’s published letters to ensure that I don’t overlook anything that should be followed up from sources in the Russian State Library or archives. … Continue reading

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Levitan’s Lost Letters

After Chekhov died in 1904, his sister Maria set about methodically to retrieve his voluminous correspondence. The 1974-83 Soviet Academy of Sciences Complete Collected Works and Letters of Chekhov contain 4,468 letters, although some were cut by the prudish Maria … Continue reading

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Archive Access

Accessing Russian archives appears today to be nothing like the frustrating experience many of us had in Soviet times. I’ve had an email exchange with the Russian State Archives of Literature and Art (RGALI) in which they’ve confirmed the documents … Continue reading

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