The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

September 9, 2013

September 9, 1890

D. S. Mirsky, (September. 9, 1890 to June. 6, 1939) also referred to as Prince Mirsky, was a Russian aristocrat who died in a Soviet labor camp. He had succeeded in escaping to England in 1920. In England this intellectual poet and essayist wrote about Russian literature, until he became sick at heart at his separation from his homeland and begged to be allowed to return there. The story goes that he was arrested after lunching with an English leftist historian, E. H. Carr, whom he accidentally encountered in Leningrad (now St, Petersburg). Mirsky pretended not to recognise his old friend, since he knew that unauthorized contact with foreigners was against the law, but this academic blustered on about their life and succeeded in getting Mirsky to sit down with him. The authorities arrested Mirsky soon after.  We can imagine this encounter so vividly not because we have known Marxists, but we have known intellectuals..

The literary histories Mirsky published before his return to the Soviet state are still highly regarded.
In his 1931 volume, Russia, A Social History, we catch this vignette of social criticism:

[The] ... the famous picture of the mice burying the cat, which is a satire on Peter the Great...[was meant for]...the small townspeople and the servants, but it reached far into the [public imagination.]

Nabokov described Mirsky as the author of the best history of Russian literature in any language. He referred to: A History of Russian Literature: From Its Beginnings to 1900 (1926, 1927).

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