Alison Lurie, Sergej Dovlatov

De Amerikaanse schrijfster en literatuurwetenschapster Alison Lurie werd geboren op 3 september 1926 in Chicago, Illinois. Haar jeugd bracht zij door in White Plains. Zij bezocht het Radcliffe College in Cambridge (Massachusetts) waar zij in 1947 een graad haalde in Engels en geschiedenis. In 1948 trouwde zij met Jonathan Peale Bisshop met wie ze drie zonen kreeg. In 1985 kwam het tot een scheiding. Al gedurende haar jaren als huisvrouw publiceerde zij haar eerste romans. Zij werkte van 1969 tot 1998 als docente, en later als hoogleraar en buitengewoon hoogleraar voor Amerikaanse literatuur aan de Cornell University in Ithaca (New York). Tegenwoordig is zij getrouwd met de schrijver Edward Hower. Voor Foreign Affairs kreeg zij in 1984 de Pulitzer prijs.

Uit: Foreign Affairs


As I walked by myself

And talked to myself,

Myself said unto me,

Look to thyself,

Take care of thyself,

For nobody cares for thee.

Old Song

On a cold blowy February day a woman is boarding the ten a.m. flight to London, followed by an invisible dog. The woman’s name is Virginia Miner: she is fifty-four years old, small, plain, and unmarried—the sort of person that no one ever notices, though she is an Ivy League college professor who has published several books and has a well-established reputation in the expanding field of children’s literature.

The dog that is trailing Vinnie, visible only to her imagination, is her familiar demon or demon familiar, known to her privately as Fido and representing self-pity. She visualizes him as a medium-sized dirty-white long-haired mutt, mainly Welsh terrier: sometimes trailing her silently, at other times whining and panting and nipping at her heels; when bolder, dashing round in circles trying to trip her up, or at least get her to stoop down so that he may rush at her, knock her to the ground, and cover her with sloppy kisses. Vinnie knows very well that Fido wants to get onto the plane with her, but she hopes to leave him behind, as she has successfully done on other trips abroad. Recent events, however, and the projected length of her stay, make this unlikely.

Vinnie is leaving today for six months in England on a foundation grant. There, under her professional name of V. A. Miner, she will continue her study of the folk-rhymes of schoolchildren. She has made this journey a number of times, and through a process of trial and error reduced its expense and discomfort to a minimum. She always chooses a daytime charter flight, preferring those on which no films are shown. If she could afford it, she would pay the regular fare so as to avoid boarding delays (she has already stood in various lines for nearly an hour); but that would be foolishly extravagant. Her grant is small, and she will have to watch expenses carefully as it is.




Alison Lurie (Chigaco, 3 september 1926)


De Russische schrijver Sergej Dovlatov werd geboren op 3 september 1941 in Ufa, in het zuiden van Rusland.Hij schreef voornamelijk (vaak autobiografische) korte verhalen en romans. Hij vervulde zijn militaire dienstplicht in een Goelag gevangenenkamp, waarover hij later een roman zou schrijven. Hij begon zijn carrière als schrijver in de jaren ’60. Hij leidde het leven van een bohémien, vol drankmisbruik en vechtpartijen. Zie ook mijn blog van 3 september 2006.




”The jacket really was old. If Soviet posters are to be believed, the unemployed in America wear jackets like that.

”Cherkasova looked at me strangely and said, ’that jacket belonged to Fernand Leger. He was about your size.’
”I repeated in amazement, ‘Leger? The Leger?’

” ‘Once we were very close. Then I was friends with his widow. I told her about you. Nadya went into the closet, took out the jacket, and handed it to me. She said that Fernand asked her to befriend all kinds of riffraff.’ ”




Sergej Dovlatov (3 september 1941 – 24 augustus 1990)