May 9

May. 9th, 2009 05:15 pm
avrelia: (Default)
Happy Victory Day to my countrymen! It has nothing to do with Queen Victoria (that is the next week in Canada), and everything to do with survival. I remember, and I am proud of my relatives who fought in that war and who simply survived it.

http://www.iremember.ru/ (this site with memoirs of the veterans is in English)

May 9

May. 9th, 2009 02:54 pm
avrelia: (iris 2)
Happy Victory Day to my countrymen! It has nothing to do with Queen Victoria (that is the next week in Canada), and everything to do with survival. I remember, and I am proud of my relatives who fought in that war and who simply survived it.

http://www.iremember.ru/ (this site with memoirs of the veterans is in English)
avrelia: (Default)
Norman Davies “Europe. A History”

I have a book, it’s called “Europe. A History”, written by Norman Davies. It is a rather big book, more than a thousand pages about – obviously – the European history. It took me more than a year to finish, and not only because it is so long and has a very specialized lexicon, but because during the reading I had a strong urge to throw this book at the wall, and had to put it away and cool off a little bit.

Do not mistake me: I loved this book. I finished it two years ago and wanted to write about it since. The author – British historian – undertakes an impossible task: to write about the history of the part of the world we call Europe from the first people there to year 1992 AD. His main objective was to show all parts of Europe in an equal light. He was very subjective what light it should be.

The book taught me one important thing – the thing I probably should have known by now: history is subjective. As diligent as we try to find how people lived hundreds, thousands years ago, what happened, what those events meant – we are not discovering the TRUTH. We are interpreting the evidence. And sometimes we are interpreting interpretations.

The fact that the world history in Russia changed several times in this century – without falsifying any documents – is rather telling.

Norman Davies is unapologetically subjective in his vision of the European history. He presents a brilliant, lively picture where the author’s face is not hidden as it is usually appropriate in this kind of books. His style is flowing easily between countries and centuries, making interesting analogies, surprising connections, and curious hypotheses. He takes an interest in obscure places and epochs and makes them take their rightful place in the building of Europe as we know it now.

So, if the book is that wonderful what caused that violent reaction I was talking about earlier?

You see, he really, really doesn’t like Russia. And he confused Katherine Medici with Maria Medici.
avrelia: (sandro)
I got through the lamenting of the untimely demise of “Angel the series”. I was sad, I still wish it lasted one more season at least, but getting into perspective: it is silly to dwell on it for long. So I am moving on – to the Valentine’s Day.

St. Valentine’s Day is still The Weird Custom of Foreign People for me, and has mostly literary associations. It is something crazy Ophelia sang about, it is something from the The Pickwick Papers , not from the real life.

Yet because I am shallow and easily influenced by popular culture, I was thinking about it. After prolonged thinking I decided to tell you a story about something that also has no connection to real life – my crush, no my… what exactly? .. . let’s say ‘pure love’ that has lasted 10 years already. It is kind of perpetual background, most of the time I don’t even remember that it is here. But it is. Who is that translucent image on the background, the hero of my decade-old crush? Look at my icon. He was young and cute so long ago.

Alessandro di Mariano Felipepi, called Botticelli )

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