Arthénice (_niece) wrote,

Литератор Киже

Товарищ интересуется, что за Пяжнин такой. Подозревает, что Лямин. Булгаковеды в зале есть?

Оригинал взят у languagehat в PYAZHNIN.

I've started Moscow, 1937 by Karl Schlögel, a book I'm enjoying every bit as much as I'd anticipated—it's just the kind of blend of literary, cultural, and political history, with constant references to geography (and a nice annotated map of Moscow on the endpapers), that I love. It opens with a bird's-eye conspectus of the city in a chapter called "Navigation: Margarita's Flight" (from the novel I posted about here), which leads to a discussion of "Bulgakov's Moscow," in the course of which Schlögel mentions "N. Piashnin's apartment in Savelevskii pereulok 12, the meeting place of the literary Moscow of the end of the 1920s." Well, I'm extremely interested in the literary Moscow of the 1920s, so of course I wanted to know who this N. Piashnin was. Unfortunately, Google could find no trace of any Piashnin or Pyashnin, and I didn't have any better luck with Пяшнин. Fortunately, it occurred to me that this "sh" might be a Germanized version of Russian ж, normally rendered in English by "zh" (see this cri de coeur from the very first week of LH), and with a little detective work I turned up this page on Bulgakov from Москва энциклопедия (clearly Schlögel's source), which says "на квартире Н.Н. Пяжнина (так называемые пяжнинские чтения, куда съезжалась вся литературная Москва 20—30-х гг.; Савельевский переулок, 12)" [in the apartment of N. N. Pyazhnin (the so-called Pyazhnin readings, which all literary Moscow of the '20s-'30s attended; Savelevsky pereulok, 12)]. But there is no other record of this "N. N. Pyazhnin"! In fact, if you google the surname you get "Your search - Пяжнин - did not match any documents." So I turn to the Varied Reader: does anybody happen to know what literary figure is being referred to here? Or is this a Russian Mountweazel?

Update. OK, I think I've solved part of the puzzle. It turns out that Bulgakov's close friend N. N. Lyamin (Булгаковская Энциклопедия entry for Лямин Николай Николаевич) lived at Savelevskii pereulok 12 with his wife Natalia Ushakova. The nonexistent name "Pyazhnin" is clearly a distortion of Lyamin. But how and why did the distortion creep in? At any rate, it just goes to show you can't trust any information without double-checking it.

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