OUT OF PRINT
Length 240 pages
Remembering Anna Akhmatova
“After her death I began to remember her, and since then I have been remembering my memories” — Anatoly Nayman was Anna Akhmatova’s literary secretary and disciple during her last years and he recalls here their conversations about literature and friends, anecdotes of family life and vignettes, some amusing, some ordinary and some tragic: Joseph Brodsky digging a nuclear fall-out shelter for her to her utter bemusement; Akhmatova’s bravery in intervening with the authorities on behalf of Brodsky and journeys to her dacha.
Anna Akhmatova had been a central figure in the renaissance of Russian poetry which took place at the beginning of the twentieth century. A stunningly grand woman of immense intellect and acerbic wit, she was capricious, and yet capable of great loyalty.
Her life was tragic. During Stalin’s years of terror, she had seen her husband and son taken away to prison camps, suffered the disappearance of many friends, and had lived in cultural isolation and utter deprivation.
Anatoly Nayman’s memories are vivid and affectionate and his reading of Akhmatova’s poetry deeply perceptive.
About Anatoly Nayman
Anatoly Nayman was born in Leningrad in 1936. His father was an engineer, a follower of Tolstoy and a member of a Tolstoyan colony. His mother studied in France and qualified as a doctor. He worked as an engineer for four years and began to write poetry in the early 1950s. Together with Bobyshev, Reyn, Brodsky he formed a group of poets in Leningrad.
In 1959, through mutual friends, he met Anna Akhmatova. From 1962 until her death in 1966 he was her literary secretary. Nayman lives in Moscow with his wife and two children and has worked as a translator, mainly from Provençal and English.
The Russian edition of this book sold over 150,00 copies in the Soviet Union and close to a million copies in a magazine serialisation.