Tsvetaeva’s short story “The Tale of Sonechka”

“The Tale of Sonechka” tells about the most romantic period in the biography of Marina Tsvetaeva – about her Moscow life in 1919-20. in Borisoglebsky Lane. This time of uncertainty, poverty, persecution. At the same time, this is the time of the great crisis, in which there is something romantic and great, and behind the triumph of the cattle there is seen the true tragedy of the historical law. The present is meager, poor, transparent, because the material has disappeared. The past and the future are clearly visible. At this time, Tsvetaeva meets with the same kind of poor and romantic youth as Vakhtangov’s studio students, who rave about the French Revolution, the 18th century. and the Middle Ages, mysticism – and if the then Petersburg, cold and stern, ceased to be the capital, is inhabited by the ghosts of German romantics, Moscow dreams of Jacobin times, about the beautiful, gallant, adventurous France. Life boils here, there’s a new capital here,

not so much mourning the past as dream of the future.

The main characters in the story are a charming young actress Sonechka Golliday, a girl-woman, a friend and confidante of Tsvetaeva, and Volodya Alekseyev, a student in love with Sonechka and bowing before Tsvetaeva. A huge role in the story is played by Alya – a child with surprisingly early development, the mother’s best friend, a writer of poems and fairy tales, an adult diary of which is often cited in The Tale of Sonechka. The youngest daughter, Irina, who died in a children’s orphanage in 1920, became an eternal reminder to Tsvetaeva of her involuntary guilt: “she did not save.” But the nightmares of Moscow life, the sale of manuscripts, rationing with rations – all this does not play a significant role for Tsvetaeva, although it serves as the backdrop for the story, creating its most important counterpoint: love and death, youth and death. It is this “dance of death”

Sonechka – the embodiment of the beloved Tsvetaeva’s female type, later revealed in dramas about Kazanova. It is a bold,

proud, invariably narcissistic girl, whose narcissism is still nothing compared to eternal love for an adventurous, literary ideal. Infantile, sentimental and at the same time endowed with a full, feminine knowledge of life from the outset, doomed to die early, unhappy in love, unbearable in everyday life, Tsvetaeva’s favorite heroine combines the features of Maria Bashkirtseva, Marina Tsvetaeva, Pushkin’s Mariuly – but also courtesans of gallant times, and Henrietta from the notes of Casanova. Sonechka is helpless and defenseless, but her beauty is victorious, and her intuition is unmistakable. This woman is a “pair of exeliance”, and that is why all ill-wishers give her charm and mischief. The book by Tsvetaeva, written in difficult and terrible years and conceived as a farewell to emigration, with creativity, with life, imbued with excruciating longing for the time when the sky was so close, literally close, because “not for long after from the roof to heaven.” Then through everyday life, the great, the universal and the timeless shone through, through the thinned fabric of being, its secret mechanisms and laws showed through, and any epoch easily gushed with the time, Moscow, the turning point, on the eve of the twenties.

Yuri Zavadsky, already a dandy, selfish, “man of success”, appears in this story, and Pavel Antokolsky, the best of the young poets of Moscow at the time, is a romantic young man composing a play about the Infanta dwarf. The motifs of Dostoevsky’s “White Nights” are weaved into the fabric of “The Tale of Sonechka,” for the hero’s self-forgetting love for the ideal, unattainable heroine is, first of all, self-giving. The same dedication was the tenderness of Tsvetaeva to the doomed, omniscient and naive youth of the end of the silver age. And when Tsvetaeva gives Sonechka her very, very, very last, precious and unique corals, in this symbolic gesture of giving, giving, giving thanks to the whole unquenchable Tsvetaeva soul with its thirst for sacrifice.

And the plot, in fact, no. Young, talented, beautiful, hungry, untimely and conscious of this people converge on a visit to the eldest and most gifted of them. Read poetry, invent stories, quote favorite stories, play etudes, laugh, fall in love… And then the youth ended, the silver age became iron, and everyone left or died, because it always happens.

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Tsvetaeva’s short story “The Tale of Sonechka”