MASTER OF ARTS IN LIBERAL STUDIES PROGRAM - April 18, 2002,
The Story of a Rescued Novel: Leonid Tsypkin’s Summer at Baden Baden
A Lecture by Azary Messerer, Ph.D.
Summer at Baden Baden, which Susan Sontag called "among the most beautiful, exalting and original achievements of a century's worth of fiction," was first published in its entirety last fall, some twenty years after it was smuggled out of the former Soviet Union by radio journalist Azary Messerer. Written by the late Leonid Tsypkin, a physician by profession and author by avocation, Summer at Baden Baden addresses the enigma of the Jews' love of Dostoyevsky in the face of his vaunted anti semitism while drawing parallels between the renowned novelist and the self-hating converted Jew.
Azary Messerer will discuss the novel in the context of Jewish life in post World War II Soviet Russia, his friendship with Leonid Tsypkin, as well as his own adventures as a "literary smuggler." As the host of a popular talk show on Radio Moscow, Messerer had interviewed such figures as John Gielgud, Paul Scofield, Ellen Burstyn, and Dmitri Shostakovich before turning "refusenik" and beginning the four year process that culminated with his immigration to the United States in 1981.
Dr. Messerer is a member of a distinguished Russian family, the nephew of Asaf Messerer premier choreographer of the Bolshoi Ballet for 70 years and Dame Sulamith Messerer prima ballerina of the Bolshoi and choreographer of the Royal ballets, and the cousin of Bella Akhmadulina, poet laureate of Russia and the great ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.