Archive for December 2008
“When Nummo speaks, what comes from his mouth is a warm vapour which conveys, and itself constitutes, speech. …Thus clothed, the earth had a language, the first language of this world and the most primitive of all time. Its syntax was elementary, its verbs few, and its vocabulary without eloquence. The words were breathed sounds scarcely differentiated from one another, but nevertheless vehicles. Such as it was, this ill-defined speech sufficed for the great works of the beginning of all things.”
– from Conversations with Ogotemmêli, by Marcel Griaule.
“I see the village of Borvikha near Moscow…on the Moscow river…Where we were staying there was a square field about one verst each side surrounded by a forest. In the middle of the field was a small island of young pines, and within that little wood was a tiny meadow.
If it had rained the night before and the sun came out hot in the morning, then a miracle occurred: an invisible vapour of mint rose up from the field…The same vapour, a mist of mint, enveloped one on the downslope of a shallow green ravine some distance away…”
– Mikhail Osorgin remembering his last summers in the Russian countryside before being exiled, on Lenin’s orders, in 1922. From The Philosophy Steamer by Lesley Chamberlain.
Cover of RUSSKAYA ZEMLIA (“Russian Land. Almanac for Youth”).Paris, RPK & YMCA Press, 1928, a book which contains a contribution by Mikhail Osorgin. One of the many fascinating, and often very rare, books to be found at Russian Art and Books.