Tuesday, September 27, 2011


I'm reading Kornei Chukovsky's diary, an extraordinary, legendary document, which the Russian writer continued to write from 1901 to 1969. Chukovsky knew everyone of any importance in Russian literature and left sharp, revealing portraits of their personalities. And it is also full of anecdotes and observations on language.

On 28 October 1918 Chukovsky writes:
Tikhonov today instead of phantasmagoria said phantasgarmonia.  Gorky winked at me: excellent!

To explain: harmony in Russian is garmoniya. A tired man inadvertently created a lovely pun – phantastic harmony with an element of primaeval disorder.

Alexander Tikhonov was a prominent publisher of the day.

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