Apartment of Natalya Volokhova

             Ofitserskaya Street 45

 

             Given the enchanting winter landscape of St. Petersburg, it seems only fitting that Blok spent much of his time with Volokhova walking through the city. The actress describes these walks in her memoirs: “Often, after the theatre, we went for long walks, and Alexander Alexandrovich introduced me to “his city,” as he called it. Passing the deserted Mars Field, we would take the Trinity Bridge and gaze enthralled into the endless chain of streetlamps, set like burning fires along the river and fading away at last into an infinity of darkness. We would walk further and stroll about the outskirts of the city, along the embankments, along the canals, crossing bridges… Reality was so intermingled with the invention, the dreams of the poet, that I voluntarily lost the boundaries of the real and entered with awe and enchantment into this world of poetry that I had never known before. I had the feeling that I was receiving this extraordinary, legendary city as a gift at the hands of the poet.”

 

Blok's inscription Natalya Volokhova
Blok's inscription to Volokhova   Natalya Volokhova
(Click on image to see a larger version)

 

             As with other women in Blok's life, including his wife, the poet idealized Volokhova, and this was the source of much friction between them. Volokhova became so frustrated that Blok was treating neither her nor himself as a real person, but rather as a poetic figure or symbol, that she refused to allow Blok to accompany her on her tour with the theatre. Blok was shocked, but eventually returned to his wife.

 

             Blok's aunt, Maria Beketova, spoke highly of Volokhova's beauty, but found that it faded after Blok's passion for her passed: “The poet did not exaggerate the fascination of his 'Snow Maiden.' Those who saw her at the time of his infatuation with her know how spellbinding her charm was. A tall, slender figure, fine features, black hair and eyes, truly 'winged' eyes, black, wide open… Striking, too, was her smile, glittering with the whiteness of her teeth, a triumphant, victorious smile. Someone said at that time that her eyes and her smile could flare through the darkness… Yet, strange to say, all this radiance did not outlast the poet's infatuation. He retired, and she immediately faded. The mysterious glamour died away and left something not so very much out of the ordinary– a pretty brunette.”

 

             Almost uncannily, however, Blok's life continued to center around Ofitserskaya Street. He moved to Ofitserskaya Street 57 in 1912, and he lived there until his death in 1921. Blok's mother also lived on Ofitserskaya, as did the actress Lyubov Delmas, with whom Blok was involved in 1914.