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Used: Very Good | Details
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Publisher: Reader's Union
Date of Publication: 1950
Binding: hardcover
Condition: Very Good
Description: In black cloth boards, lettering in silver, slightly edge-worn, corners slightly bumped and frayed, a few small marks to front. Spine has slightly loose hinges, ends bumped and frayed, lettering in silver. Endpapers and cut edges slightly tanned. Text block lightly tanned.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 237 pages
  • Publisher: Readers Union Constable; Reprint edition (1950)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0006AS7HC
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 841,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this when a star-struck ballet student in my teens. For me, It set the standard for stage autobiography. Having re-read it I am almost equally impressed. I do wonder though if her British diplomat husband had a hand in the editing. Karsavina was a sharp-witted, creative person who lived though a tumultuous period in her art. There's hardly anything about the Great War or the Revolution (she lived through both) but that alone is a testimony to the special, sheltered place of artists in Russia in the early C20. Her reminiscences of the Diaghilev Ballets Russes are also very piquant as she was writing a little before the death of Diaghilev and the long-term hospitalisation of Nijinski. A great book for young ballet students to read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
They say that no one ever had anything detrimental to say about Tamara Karsavina. Reading her memoirs you can understand why. This beautiful dancer, who worked incredibly hard all her life and kept her dignity throughout old age in Hampstead, lived through some of the most dramatic times in history. She had immense success in Russia and Europe, (and a complicated lovelife!) but writes with modesty and discretion. Published originally back in the thirties this biography could have been dated but I found it in the 'impossible to put down' category. Essential reading for those who love the Ballet and its history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What can I say this book has been around for years and it is a MUST for everyone the least bit interested in ballet, Russia, - totally wonderful.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Old St. Petersburg revisited 31 Aug. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tamara Karsavina (1885-1978) starts by telling us of her childhood in pre-revolution Russia, in turn of the century St. Petersburg. Her father was also a dancer, Platon Karsavin, and the account of her childhood gives us a rare insight in middle class life of that epoch. There is a detailed description of life in the boarding school and the Imperial ballet. She writes with great tenderness about life at school and about one of the teachers, Christian Petrovich Johansson. In those days he was already in his nineties, a Swede who had turned grumpier with the years, but was one of the greatest teachers in the history of the school. It is with great pride and joy I read that she attributed so much to my compatriot! During the revolution and its aftermath, Karsavina remained in Russia till the bitter end. Then, she too, with her English-born husband and small son, decided to leave. The family escaped through the North of Russia on an English vessel - the famous ballerina and her husband on the crew list as stewardess and purser respectively. Safety was at last in sight in England where they made their home. The last sentence of her account is beautiful: "That night we arrived in Middlesbrough - The Maryinski and Theatre Street left behind for ever, these were the footlights of a new world". Anyone who has ever been to grimy Middlesbrough can only compare with the glitter of old St. Petersburg. The book was originally published in 1930; in the revised edition of 1981 there is an added chapter on Diaghilev which Karsavina wrote in 1947. This beautiful volume with its evocative illustra- tions would really merit 10 stars, but as five is the highest accolade, I have to limit myself. Maybe the finest dance biography written this century.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting 7 Aug. 2005
By Lama - Published on
Format: Paperback
An absolutely enchanting book, encompassing so much. A funny and lyrical story of a farouche young girl who grows into a great artist. An intimate and fascinating portrait of Russian life before and after the Revolution. And for the lover of ballet history, a treasure: first-hand accounts of training in the Imperial Ballet School, the Maryinsky theater in the time of the Tsars, the early years of the Ballets Russes. She was in the center of one of the most volatile and important periods of art, and she reminisces of her collaborations with Diaghliev, Chaliapin, Nijinsky, Stravinsky, Cocteau, Picasso, Bakst, and many more.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an artistic narration 28 April 2013
By dc metro area - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This autobiography is a bit difficult to read at times. (I read the 1930 edition.) Sometimes Karsavina's descriptions are just too poetic or convoluted. She has a large vocabulary but doesn't always use it correctly. Also her story is not linear and jumps here and there into tangents or different time periods. It is helpful if you have familiarity with her life history because she either assumes the reader has knowledge of her life or doesn't mind throwing in otherwise random bits. For example, she mentions Nikita having never mentioned that she had given birth to a son of this name. She refers to someone as "B" who one must figure out was her husband and an Englishman. His last name was Bruce. She is very sketchy on dates and sequence of events in her personal adult life. She omits major life details. Allegedly, Fokine wanted to marry her but she only described him in terms of a difficult professional relationship. Additionally, she doesn't mention that she was married twice and she gave birth to Bruce's child before she was divorced from her first husband. Early on in the book, she noted that her father did not want her to become a ballerina because of sordid elements in the theatre of which he was aware having had his own career there. Yet she never discussed any of the sordid details that existed behind the scenes, such as the "protectors" of ballerinas who supplemented their income. Did she have any? I suspect so. The last chapter on her escape from Russia was exciting to read. Much of the information about the schooling at the Mariinsky or her dance partnerships can be obtained from other sources. Overall, I would not rely on this book for historical accuracy because it is too vague and she glosses over so much. It is a colorful and artistic interpretation of her life until she left Russia. The photos and artistic drawings included throughout the book are wonderful.
5.0 out of 5 stars It is refreshing to read about the events of this great ballerina, much preferred than the sometimes overly pompous ... 28 Jun. 2014
By Elden - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An insight into the world of the Russian Ballerina written by herself. It is refreshing to read about the events of this great ballerina, much preferred than the sometimes overly pompous writing about someone such as Tamara Karsavina. Woven into the story of her life, as she tells it, is additional information that gives a clear picture of life as a dancer in the time of Anna Pavlova and Vaslav Nijinsky and others. The emergence of these artists gave rise to the high standard of classical ballet we appreciate today. Karsavina, Pavolova, Nijinsky, laid the groundwork for the great classical tradition to be passed on to the willing young aspiring ballerina.

To all those who aspire to dance, read of the great ones gone before you, their experiences will often mimic yours.
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip back in time to a vanished world 23 Feb. 2016
By Nancy - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A classic. I've read and re-read this so many times. Aside from her brilliance as a dancer, Mlle Karsavina was a gifted writer and brings you into her world with skill and artistry.
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