A place in Moscow, Russia that was given a permanently bohemian reputation by a novel

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 13.21.01

Anyone who’s ever read Mikhail Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita will want to see Patriarshy Prudiy, just off the Garden Ring and not far from Tverskaya Ulitsa (the city’s main drag). Anyone who hasn’t should; there’s no better guide to Stalinist Russia and the surrealism that, in some sense, still pervades Russia.

This patch of green in central Moscow is a great getaway from the buzz of nearby Tverskaya Street and the Garden Ring, and an unmatchable spot for lazy people-watching. Mikhail Bulgakov made the neighbourhood famous and gave it a permanently bohemian reputation with his novel Master and Margarita, in which the devil meets the protagonists next to the ponds. There’s actually just one pond now, which serves as an ice rink in winter and shelters a few swans in summer.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Great detail: there is a street sign that shows three main characters from Mikhail Bulgakov’s classic novel “The Master and Margarita” above the warning, “Don’t Talk to Strangers” – the warning is actually the title of the first chapter.

The three figures are recognizable as Professor Woland, an incarnation of Satan, and his assistants the demon Koroviev and the oversized black cat Behemoth, who wreak havoc in 1930s Moscow.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In that chapter, Woland materializes and engages two writers in a debate about the existence of Christ. The scene ends with one of the writers being beheaded in a freak tram accident.

 

via 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Top 5: Sunday photo inspiration.

While searching for beautiful post illustrations, I find photos that I cannot use but love anyway.

So I decided to post them on Sundays. Hope they will put you in  a good mood too, inspire you to take a book from the shelf, take a trip to Paris (ok, or to a local bookshop/a personal happy place).

Jardin Luxembourg
WHEN YOU THINK JARDIN LUXEMBOURG IN PARIS, YOU MIGHT THINK “FLANEUR,S LUXURY AND BEAUTY.” HMMM…WELL, HERE IT IS, ALL OF IT.
Man reading India
THAT KIND OF BOOK. 
Book swirl
BOOK SWIRL

 

Girl reading
A BIT DIRECT BUT STILL UNUSUAL
book-1528266_1920
MMMMMM…ANTICIPATION

Ernest Hemingway on what is now one of the most popular districts in Paris

Hemingway was twenty-two, his wife Hadley twenty-six, when they moved to the Quartier Latin, No. 74 rue du Cardinal-Lemoine, three weeks after arriving, on January 9, 1922. Now it is the epitome of tourist Paris but in the early 1920s, the district was solidly lower class.

Rue de Cardinal Lemoine Hemingway Paris

In The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1987), the writer Harry, dying of a wound in Africa, thinks back to his life in this neighborhood:

And in that poverty, and in that quarter across the street from a Boucherie Chevaline* and a wine-co-operative he had written the start of all he was to do. There never was another part of Paris that he loved like that, the sprawling trees, the old white plastered houses painted brown below, the long green of the autobus in that round square, the purple flower dye upon the paving, the sudden drop down the hill of the rue Cardinal Lemoine to the River, and the other way the narrow crowded world of the rue Mouffetard. The street that ran up toward the Pantheon and the other that he always took with the bicycle, the only asphalted street in all that quarter, smooth under the tyres, with the high narrow houses and the cheap tall hotel where Paul Verlaine had died. There were only two rooms in the apartments where they lived and he had a room on the top floor of that hotel that cost him sixty francs a month where he did his writing, and from it he could see the roofs and chimney pots and all the hills of Paris.

*boucherie chevaline –  a horse butcher; in many parts of Europe, horse meat is eaten quite commonly.

 

Panorama Place de la Contrescarpe Rue Mouffetard Before and Now
RUE MOUFFETARD IN THE 1920’S (THE WAY HEMINGWAY SAW IT) VS. NOW.
Rue Mouffetard market
FAMOUS MARKET ON RUE MOUFFETARD IN THE 1920-S AND NOW
map
PLAN OF THE LATIN QUARTIER

Source: 1, 2, 3

The myth of a writer in Paris

John Baxter, Five Nights In Paris, 2015.

Anyone sucking a pen in a Paris café today is probably a freshman from the Oatmeal, Nebraska, Community College, wondering what to write on a postcard after “Having wonderful time. Wish you were here.” Professional writers seldom put pen to paper in public , and that goes double for the French. One is as likely to find an author practicing his trade in a café as, say, a dentist.

1961-Jane-Fonda-Paris-Café-de-Flore

Japanese poetic souvenir from 1676

In the summer of 1676, Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉, 1644 – 1694), the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan returned to his native place for a short visit and had a the poem:

                                        My souvenir from Edo*
                                        Is the refreshingly cold wind
                                        Of Mount Fuji
                                        I brought home on my fan.
Matsuo Bashō, 1676.

In the summer of 1676, Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉, 1644 – 1694), the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan returned to his native place for a short visit and had a the poem:

*Edo – is the former name of Tokyo. 

Alexander Mccall Smith on beauty of one small city

The name is what attracted me: Mobile, Alabama. What sheer poetry! What lovely, mellifluous, feminine sounds! And I had read that Mobile, by long tradition is said to have more ghosts than any other town. Why, I wondered? When I went there I found the answer: the streets are shaded by oaks that form a natural canopy across the road. Ghosts, as anyone knows, like shade and a slow, Southern life-style.

Alexander Mccall Smith, A Tango With Freud, 2012. 

 

Where are the croissants?

No matter how politely or distinctly you ask a Parisian a question he will persist in answering you in French.

Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan life, 1978

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 19.12.17