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Svetlana Payne on Mikhail Osorgin's 'The Riven Heart of Moscow'

When: Wednesday, January 24, 2024, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Where: ArtsOne 1.28 Queen Mary University of London London E1 4NS, Mile End


The Centre for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CEREES) event

‘In 1914, the Russian Empire is at its peak of affluence. The future looks bright, and spring brings new promise with the migrating swallows heralding summer. Ivan Alexandrovich, internationally renowned professor of ornithology, lives with his granddaughter Tanyusha, an aspiring concert pianist, in their family villa in Sivtsev Vrazhek, a little lane in central Moscow. They hold weekly musical soirées, and entertain their friends ― dashing cadets, scientists, lawyers, and musicians. However, tectonic shifts are just around the corner and the ensuing catastrophic crisis will rip apart not only Russia, but also Europe and the entire world.

The First World War, the Revolution of 1917, the fratricidal civil war in Russia, and the subsequent rise of the Red Terror will destroy many of the things previously considered certain and eternal. There will be death, hunger and loss, betrayal of and by friends, courageous ― if futile ― attempts to intercede on behalf of the victims. Yet despite the prevailing cruelty and wickedness, common humanity will still strive to survive and shine. This is a story of a family living through impossible trials, of a society torn apart, and of the survival of the human spirit against all odds …’

Svetlana Payne will introduce and discuss her translation of Mikhail Osorgin’s engrossing account of this turbulent period, reflecting on the horrors that once again afflict the region today.


Event outline:

Welcome, by Olga Makarova (QMUL) – 19:00

Discussion, chaired by Olga Makarova (QMUL) – 19:05

Drinks reception, meet the speaker – 20:00

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