Thursday, May 14, 2009

14 May, 2009
My biography of Russian-born Toronto artist Paraskeva Clark (1898-1986) will be published in November by Cormorant Books of Toronto.

One of the many things I enjoyed about writing this book was learning about her native land and her city, St. Petersburg. This is a society that from its beginning was saturated with tyranny and subservience. The city was built by peasants. Peter the Great combed the countryside and forced inhabitants to dig out the city he dreamed. Many of these poor workers dug up the soil with their bare hands and carried it in their aprons.

A city with a history like that cannot easily give up the tyranny of the tsars, which had continued on and on over centuries, finally shattered by the 1917 Revolution, and then, wouldn't you know it, the tyranny continued under a different name. How strange are we humans, who think we improve our situation only to continue the nastiness that was in our history. It's not only the Russians who have done this!

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