Lav Tolstoj i tenis

When Tolstoy was in his forties, he thought tennis was a faddish luxury, a pastime of the new rich, something imported, inauthentic.

Gerald Marzorati napisao je tekst, nedavno objavljen na sajtu magazina The New Yorker, o Tolstojevoj odluci da počne da igra tenis. Evo odlomka o tom događaju:

What brought Tolstoy to tennis so late in his life? Or, better, what brought him around to the game? When he was in his forties, he thought tennis was a faddish luxury, a pastime of the new rich, something imported, inauthentic – a child’s game enthused about by well-to-do grownups who refused to grow up. We know this from Part 6, Chapter 22, of Anna Karenina, which he was writing in the eighteen-seventies, when the modern game of ‘lawn tennis’ was developed and patented by Major Walter Clapton Wingfield, a British Army officer.

Autor u tekstu pominje i scenu koja se pojavljuje u romanu Ana Karenjina, a koju je kasnije i Nabokov komentarisao. Upitanju je igra tenisa koju posmatra Doli, gošća Ane i Vronskog.

After a formal dinner party that tires and deflates Dolly – who in this chapter, a reader presumes, embodies Tolstoy’s own point of view – the guests stroll to the tennis court and begin to play. Before long, it is mostly the men who are playing: running, laughing, shouting, perspiring in their frock coats. Nabokov, who loved tennis and loved Tolstoy, and who was perhaps the greatest reader of Anna Karenina, wrote in a note that I found buried in the manuscript of his Lectures on Russian Literature: ‘Now comes a nice detail: the men with the ladies’ permission took their coats off and played in their shirt sleeves.’ Watching them, Dolly senses her mood darkening. The ‘unnaturalness of grown-ups when they play at a children’s game by themselves, without children’, has made her unhappy. And the tennis gets her to thinking that the players she’s watching are players off the court, too – that Vronsky and his friends are new types, modern bourgeois strivers who are in all aspects of their lives ‘actors’, and for whom all settings are essentially ‘theatre’. You’d think, from all this, that Tolstoy despised tennis and all he thought it represented.

Izvor: The New Yorker

Fotografija: Lav Tolstoj igra tenis, kraj 19. veka.