The West, and in particular France, through the Eyes of a Distracted Russian

  • Anatolii Gladilin
Part of the Studies in Russia and East Europe book series (SREE)


‘I knew my beloved by his walk …’. I do not know about anyone else, but I came across this song for the first time as performed by Alesha Dmitrievich on tapes brought to me from Paris in the early 1960s. But I should like to start elsewhere. Twenty years later and already a well-established émigré, I was taking a walk through New York. I love walking. I have always liked Manhattan and on this occasion I had decided to walk down to the bay from the Fifties. That is about 100 blocks, no great distance for me. In Lower Manhattan strict geometry blurrs, the streets begin to curve and meander, and at one point I thought I had lost my way. Wall Street ought to have been nearby, but where precisely? I wanted to watch the sharks of imperialism teeming in their skyscrapers. I knew that I would not be allowed into the banks to see how they made their money, but I just wanted to walk past and imbibe the air of profit. When wandering about an unfamiliar city you have to ask passers-by the way. I could ask in English ‘How do I get to Wall Street?’. Understanding the answer was quite another matter. But then they would probably point me in the right direction, and I could work it out from there myself …


Press Conference Soviet People Western Life Leather Jacket Russian Speech 
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© School of Slavonic and East European Studies 1992

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  • Anatolii Gladilin

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