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The Magic of Places, Science and the Arts
by Zilma Mayants/Edited by Felice Bochman

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6" x 9"
324
July 2008

Softcover
978-1-934881-08-8




    

 
 


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About the Author

Zilma Mayants, a retired professor of Comparative Literature, Aesthetics, and History of Fine Arts, was born in Smolensk, Russia in 1923—a passionate lover of literature and music. She experienced the horrors of the Nazi invasion of her native country, published several books about Chekhov, Hemingway, and several articles, in Russian. She and her husband, Professor Lazar Mayants, immigrated to America and arrived in Amherst, MA in 1980. She taught at Amherst and Smith Colleges and continues to live in Amherst, MA.

This is her second book written in English.

Editor's Note

In this book, Zilma Mayants continues the narrative introspection begun in her previous book, Miraculous Coincidences. The chief editorial challenge has been to step lightly while allowing her prose free reign over an extensive and detailed memory of a riveting past, which spans pre and post war Russia and Europe.

The details rendered, characters recorded, landscapes appreciated, art analyzed and admired, all chronicle the “magic” of the places Zilma has been. In fact, the meaning imbued by memory further impresses the reader with the power and significance of story telling. It is the act of creating a personal history, which, as much as any history book, unfolds a truth told through narrative imagination. The events recounted, places described, critics critiqued, are elements essential to the reality of an enlivened past. The present retelling reveals the way the past has shaped the present—and the way the present quickens the past.

It is, I believe, why Zilma Mayants can say, ”It is good to be alive” and truly mean it.

Felice Bochman,
Editor

About the Book

People have asked me, “What country do you love the most?” It is difficult to answer this question. Each country has a heroic past and some shameful pages in their history. Russian is my native country. I love many parts of it: St. Petersburg and its environs—Petergoff with its amazing fountains and the city’s wonderful, unique architecture. I love also parts of Moscow, the Kremlin, and the Vorobyev mountains.

I love the wonders of Andalusia, the Alhambra in particular with its flowing, splashing, streaming water, pools, fountains and fragrant roses…

I love Norway, the beauty of its landscape and it’s heroic history. Then there is Prague—one of the most picturesque and interesting cities on and equally stunning river, the Vltava.

I have been asked which art I love the most. It is an even more difficult question to answer. In literature, my favorite poets are Pushkin and Lermontov. I love Anton Chekov the most, but also Tolstoy’s War and Peace, Dostoevski, and Anna Akhmatova. I adore the works of Shakespeare as well as the work by other classical and contemporary writers and poets. I love the creations of great genius, such as Johann Sebastian Bach, his St. John Passion sung by Marian Anderson.

I am happy that I love the arts so much. My life has been rich, interesting and compelling despite the losses and tragedies I have suffered. But, I continue to read books, listen to beautiful classical and folk music, and old, Russian romances.

I am almost happy. Life is hard, tragic, but interesting and exciting.
It is good to be alive.

— Zilma Mayants


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