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In the 1910s. all of Russia was read by Teffi's humorous stories. The popularity of the writer was so great that one company even released a candy called "Teffi", and Nicholas II, according to rumors, wished that the literary collection dedicated to the 300th anniversary of the Romanovs consisted only of her works, and the tsar was persuaded with great difficulty … But few of the readers who admired the writer's light style and sparkling humor knew that her personal life was by no means cheerful.
Difficult youthWhen a girl named Nadezhda was born in the friendly Lokhvitsky family in 1872, one could assume that she would have a carefree childhood in the hall and luxury. But as soon as the girl was 12 years old, her father, a successful lawyer Alexander Lokhvitsky, died suddenly. The family's financial situation worsened, nevertheless, Nadya continued her studies at the gymnasium.
In the gymnasium, Nadya was carried away by poetry, but the family already had one poet. The elder sister Maria, who made her debut at the age of 15 under the pseudonym "Mirra Lokhvitskaya", really wanted to become popular, and Nadezhda agreed to postpone her publications so as not to interfere with her literary career. For several years Nadya wrote "on the table", not counting on recognition. Soon after graduating from high school, the girl married a certain Vladislav Buchinsky and left with him to his Mogilev estate.
For several years, the Buchinskys had three children, but there was no harmony in the family. After lengthy hesitation, 28-year-old Nadezhda decided to leave her husband. Buchinsky refused to give his children to his ex-wife, and the laws of the Russian Empire were on his side.
The turn of the two centuries - 19th and 20th - became a turning point in the life of Nadezhda. In 1901, she finally entered the world of literature, having published a lyric poem in the Sever magazine. It is curious that Nadezhda, who chose the pseudonym Teffi, continued to write poems in the future, but they did not bring her popularity. Teffi's poetry, although not devoid of merit, was not particularly original. But the small humorous stories published in the most popular magazines "Satyricon" and "New Satyricon" sharply differed from the work of colleagues.
The writer rarely turned to political topics, preferring to take plots from everyday life. Under her pen, the little things of urban life and commonplace situations were transformed, revealing their humorous side. Teffi was very good at character types, and some of them, for example, "demonic woman", are still found today. At the same time, a number of the writer's stories can hardly be attributed to satirical prose: they are too close to the traditions of Russian classics with her compassion for the "little man". Especially touching - but not sugary - were many stories about children ("Underground Roots", "Unliving Beast", etc.).
Before the First World War, Teffi was at the peak of fame: one after another came out collections of stories, which were instantly sold out, and magazines and newspapers considered it an honor to publish her fresh feuilleton. The writer tried herself in new genres, and not without success: her first play "The Women's Question", dedicated to the then fashionable problem of female emancipation, was staged at the Maly Theater. Surrounded by admirers of talent and admirers, Teffi was also highly respected by her literary colleagues from A. Averchenko to I. Bunin.
In emigrationA new turning point in Teffi's life was November 1917. The writer, who was distinguished by moderate opposition to the tsarist regime, did not accept the Bolsheviks, although at first she did not even think about emigration. But at the end of 1918, hunger and difficult living conditions forced Teffi to go on tour to Kiev. From there, the writer went to Odessa, then to Novorossiysk, where, on the advice of friends, she decided to temporarily leave Russia. As Teffi later wrote in her "Memoirs", "by spring" she planned to return to her homeland. But she was not condemned to return.
After a short wandering, Teffi settled in Paris. Unlike other writers, she did not know serious material problems: books were still regularly published, literary evenings were held in her house. But the sad notes, barely perceptible in her previous work, began to sound stronger and stronger. The reasons for this were both social, common to all emigrants, and personal. The children of the writer, becoming adults, did not want to communicate with her. After a long illness, the second husband, P. Tickston, died. And in old age, Teffi had to endure the hardships of the German occupation of 1940-44.
In the last years of her life, the writer increasingly turned to the genre of memoirs. She died on October 6, 1952 in the same place where she lived - in Paris.
In Russia, new generations of readers were able to get acquainted with Teffi's work only in the late 1980s, when, after a long oblivion, some collections of her stories were republished. A little later, a rethinking of her work came, and today Teffi's prose occupies its own, special place among the masterpieces of the Silver Age - as an example of refined intellectual humor that has retained its artistic value.