By Sofya Kovalevskaya (auth.)
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Madame Krukovskaya and her daughters are traveling the melting roads from Petersburg toward home at the beginning of spring. The experience with Dostoevsky has been catalytic, but differently for each of the sisters: for Anyuta, crystallization of her sense of herself, for Sofya the disclosure of emotions she does not know how to handle: 41 A RUSSIAN CHILDHOOD an unsettling pre-vision of adulthood. But all of this is swallowed up for a little while in the April night, in the passage of the carriage through the pine woods toward home, while the sisters cling to one another in the unreasoning happiness of youth and the blind conviction that the life stretching out ahead of them will be boundlessly long and good.
At the very beginning of the relationship with Maxim Maximovich Sofya had told Anne-Charlotte that in his presence she was fired with the urge to write. The next two years were in fact extraordinarily productive. Memories of Childhood began, according to Sofya' s own account, as a casual vacation pastime at the Beaulieu villa: she happened to recount some episodes from her childhood which Kovalevsky and his friends found interesting, and they urged her to write them down. But it is evident that the impulse went much deeper and represented a major effort to retrieve and understand the past.
Hereafter referred to as VIP, followed by page numbers in the text. 2. Since Russian law made it almost impossible to obtain a divorce. 3. His later work laid the foundation for the study of evolutionary paleontology in Russia. His brother, Alexander Onufrievich Kovalevsky (1840-190 1) was a distinguished biologist and a pioneer in the study of comparative embryology. 4. Ivan Mikhailovich Sechenov, 1829-1905. Eminent physiologist, . professor at the University of Petersburg. 5. N. G. Chemyshevsky, Chto defat'?
A Russian Childhood by Sofya Kovalevskaya (auth.)