Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya – Teffi
Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya was a Russian humorist writer and she wrote under the pseudonym Teffi.
Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya was born in April 1872. Her father, A.V. Lokhvitsky, was a very famous man – a professor of criminalistics, a wealthy man. The numerous family had various talents. All children wrote something, especially had a great interest in poetry.
Teffi said about this: “This occupation was considered for us somehow very shameful, and hardly anyone who caught a brother or sister with a pencil, notebook and inspirational face – immediately started shouting: Writes! He writes! Writer!”
Only the eldest brother was out of suspicion, a creature full of gloomy irony. But one day, when after the summer holidays he went to the Lyceum, scraps of papers with some poetic cries were found in his room. One line was repeated several times: “Oh, Mirra, pale moon!” Alas! He also wrote poetry! This discovery made a strong impression on us, and my elder sister, Masha, becoming a famous poetess, took the pseudonym Mirra Lokhvitskaya precisely because of this impression.”
Poetess Mirra Lokhvitskaya was very popular in Russia at the turn of the century. It was she who introduced her younger sister to the literary world.
Nadezhda Lokhvitskaya also started with poetry. Her first poem was published in 1901 under her real name. Then there were plays under the mysterious pseudonym Teffi.
And soon the name Teffi became one of the most popular in Russia. Her stories, plays, feuilletons were read, without exaggeration, by the whole country. A Russian emperor became a fan of a young and talented writer.
Interestingly, even with such a powerful admirer, Teffi did not suffer from a “star fever”, she was ironic not only in relation to her characters, but also to herself.
Teffi, unlike many humorists, was a cheerful, open person. Just like Arkady Averchenko, who was a witty person both in life and in his works. Naturally, soon Averchenko and Teffi begin close friendship and fruitful cooperation.
Averchenko was the editor-in-chief and the creator of the most famous Satyricon. The illustrations were drawn by the artists Remi, Radakov, Junger, Benoit, Sasha Cherny, S. Gorodetsky, O. Mandelstam and Mayakovsky published their poems there. A. Kuprin, A. Tolstoy, A. Green wrote for the magazine. Teffi, surrounded by such brilliant names, remained a star – her stories, very funny, but with a touch of sadness, always found a warm response from readers.
About the events associated with the revolution, Teffi told in her book Memoirs. It is impossible to read this book without shudder…
Fleeing in horror from Soviet Russia, Teffi was in Paris. There she quickly became as popular as at home. Her phrases, jokes, witticisms were repeated by all Russian emigrants. She continued to work, feuilletons and stories by Teffi were constantly published in the Parisian editions.
During the occupation of Paris by the Nazi troops, Teffi could not leave the city because of illness. She had to endure the torments of cold, hunger, and lack of money. But at the same time she always tried to maintain courage and helped her friends. But her friends died one after another. Teffi had only memories, and she tried to share them with others. She wrote memoirs about Z. Gippius, A. Kuprin, F. Sologub, Vs. Meyerhold, G. Chulkov.
In October 1952, Nadezhda Alexandrovna was buried in the Russian cemetery of Saint Genevieve de Bois near Paris. Very few people came to the funeral, almost all her friends by that time had already died…