Nadezhda Aleksandrovna Teffi

The 20th century was full of personalities who left a truly indelible mark on the history of the development of society as a whole. Great discoveries, achievements of science and technology ... Wireless Mobile Internet and unlimited tariffs for mobile communication - a direct consequence of such research. But at the dawn of the twentieth century, emphasis was placed not only on technology. The cultural component of society was also important. And therefore, the formation of literature, of course, following its course, really developed thanks to the most talented names left in the memory of those who admire prose and poetry of the early XX century.

One such person was Nadezhda Aleksandrovna Taffy, nee Lokhvitskaya, and Buchinskaya for her husband. She was born on May 9 (and according to other sources - April 27) in 1872 in the city of St. Petersburg (here the data are also different, since there are allegations that she was born in the Volyn province). The future writer was the daughter of the then-famous professor of forensics, and also the publisher of the journal “Judicial Herald” A.V. Lokhvitsky. Nadezhda is also the sister of the fairly well-known poetess Mirra (née Maria) Lokhvitskaya (she was called “Russian Safo” at one time).

The very first humorous stories, as well as the play “The Women's Question”, which appeared in 1907, were signed with the pseudonym “Taffy”. But the poems, which in the distant 1901 and Lokhvitskaya debuted, nevertheless, were published under her real maiden name.

The very origin of such a pseudonym "Teffi" still remains undiscovered. As she herself indicated, he directly goes back to the home nickname of the old Lokhvitsky servant - Stepan (he was called Steffy in the family), but also to the poems of Rudyard Kipling himself, sounding like “Taffy was a walesman / Taffy was a thief”. But the stories and sketches that appeared under this signature were incredibly popular in pre-revolutionary Russia, so at one time there were even perfumes and sweets called “Teffi”.

Teffy was published in the Satyricon and New Satyricon magazines from their very first issue, published in April 1908, until the publication was banned in August 1918, therefore, as the author of a two-volume collection of Humorous Stories, published in 1910, followed by several other collections followed (Carousel, Smoke Without Fire, which appeared in 1914, as well as The Inanimate Beast, written in 1916). From the very beginning, Teffi earned a reputation as a malicious, witty and very observant writer. It was believed by everyone that she was distinguished from other writers by her subtle understanding of all human weaknesses, her kindness and incredible compassion for her unlucky characters.

Taffy's favorite genre was a miniature that was built on a description of a minor comic incident. She began her two-volume epigraph from B. Spinoza's Ethics, which very accurately defines her tone in many of her works: “For laughter is joy, and therefore it is good for itself.”

A rather short period of revolutionary moods, which as early as 1905 prompted Teffi, a beginner to write, to collaborate with the Bolshevik newspaper New Life, left no noticeable trace in her work. Nor did her attempts to write social feuilletons on topical issues, which the editorial board of the Russkoe Slovo newspaper expected from Teffi, also failed to bring significant creative results. There she published, starting in 1910. At that time, the head of the newspaper “feuilleton king” - V. Doroshevich himself, of course, reckoning with the peculiarity of Taffy’s talent, he rightly once remarked that “it’s worthless to carry water on an Arabian horse”.

Together with the popular satirical writer A. Averchenko, at the end of 1918, Taffy left for some time in Kiev, where they initially planned to hold their public appearances, and then, after a year and a half of wandering around the south of Russia (via Odessa, Novorossiysk and Ekaterinodar) they finally got through Constantinople itself right up to Paris. In her book “Memoirs” (published in 1931), which is not a memoir in the literal sense of the word, but rather an autobiographical story, Taffy was able to vividly and completely recreate the entire route of her wanderings and wrote that she was never left with hope for a speedy return to painfully native Moscow.

Both in prose and in the dramatic art of Taffy, after her emigration, certain sad, even slightly tragic motives noticeably intensify. Which is not surprising, because longing for the native land is one of the strong emotional problems of many emigrants. And not only them. What do you do when you do not call your relatives and friends for a long time, do not know what happens to them? That's right, you will be upset and even oppressed, you will not find a place for yourself.

The tone of Taffy's stories increasingly combines some hard and immediately conciliating notes. According to the writer herself, the difficult time that her generation is going through, still could not fail to change that eternal law, in which it was sometimes impossible to distinguish between fleeting joys and sorrows that have long been customary.

Subsequently, the entire Second World War and the subsequent occupation of Taffy survived, never leaving Paris. However, from time to time, she still agreed to read her own works to a motley emigrant audience, which became smaller every year. Well, in her post-war years, Teffi was pretty busy with memoirs about her original contemporaries - from Alexander Kuprin and Konstantin Balmont himself to Grigory Rasputin.

Taffy passed away in Paris on October 6, 1952, leaving behind an excellent culture sprout that blossomed for a long time, until, at last, it was completely entangled in the crown of true literary talents.


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