May 01, 2020

Writers in Isolation

Russian literature is rich with experiences of isolation: the three months that Alexander Pushkin was confined to his family’s Boldino estate during a cholera outbreak is judged one of the most productive of his life. Others, like Leo Tolstoy, rarely left their estates (which were, admittedly, quite a bit larger than the homes most Russians are stuck in today). Writers, publishers, and museums of literature have published some isolation musings under the hashtag #писательдома (writer at home).

Chekhov«Я приказал никого не принимать и сижу в своей комнате, как бугай в камышах – никого не вижу и меня никто не видит. Этак лучше, а то публика и звонки оборвёт и кабинет мой превратит в курильню и говорильню. Скучно так жить, но что делать?»

 “I have ordered that no one be let in and am sitting in my room like a bittern in the reeds. I see no one and no one sees me. And that’s for the best, because otherwise the public will tear out the door bell and my study would be taken over by smoking and chatter. It’s boring to live like this, but what to do?”

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