Classic Author Focus: Teffi


The book I read by Teffi for the last Classics Club Spin made me interested in learning more about her. Teffi was the pen name for Nadezhda Alexandrovna Lokhvitskaya, one of the most prominent Russian writers of her time and a favorite of both Tsar Nicholas II and of Lenin. She was a humorist, writing mostly articles, plays, poetry, and books.

Teffi was born into a prominent Saint Petersburg family. Her father was a lawyer and a scholar, her mother a lover of literature, especially poetry. Her sister, Mirra Lokhvitskaya, was a well-known poet.

Teffi’s first poetry was published in 1901 and her first story in 1905. She adopted her pen name in 1907. Beginning around 1905 and continuing on, her stories began to be critical of the Tsarist government, and she initially supported the October Revolution. She also contributed work to the Bolshevik journal The New Life. She rapidly became disillusioned by the Bolsheviks, however, and left St. Peterburg with a theatrical company, documented in her book Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea. She eventually settled in France, where she continued her literary career and became the most widely read Russian émigré writer in Paris.

Dates: 1872?-1952

Most popular works: A Modest Talent, Diamond Dust, All about Love, Time, A Family Journey, When the Crayfish Whistled, Tolstoy, Rasputin, Others, and Me: The Best of Teffi, Memories: 1928-1930

Other works: Subtly Worded, The Dog, and Baba Yaga, Love, The Woman Question, Walled Up

4 thoughts on “Classic Author Focus: Teffi

  1. What an interesting woman who lived through such interesting times! I’ve never heard of her before, so thanks for highlighting her this month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t heard of her either until I saw a mention of the book I read for the spin somewhere. I really liked it, and I agree that she is very interesting.


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