Maria Moravskaya

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Maria Magdalina Francheska Ludvigovna Moravskaya
Portrait of Maria Moravskaya
Maria Moravskaya when she was living in Saint Petersburg
Native name Мари́я Магдали́на Франче́ска Лю́двиговна Мора́вская
Born (1890-01-12)12 January 1890
Died 26 July 1947(1947-07-26) (aged 57)
Occupation poetess, translator, critic
Language Russian, English
Citizenship Russian Empire, United States
  • somebody unknown in Russia (approx. 1906–1907)
  • Edward "Ted" M. Coughlan (approx. 1920s–1940s)
  • unknown Chilean postman (possible 1950s)

Signature Maria Moravskaya

Maria Magdalina Francheska Ludvigovna Moravskaya (or Moravsky; Russian: Мари́я Магдали́на Франче́ска Лю́двиговна Мора́вская; Maria Coughlan in the marriage; 12 January 1890 Warsaw, Russian Empire – 26 June 1947 Miami, US or after 1958 Chile) was a Russian poet, writer, translator and literary critic. She wrote several poetical collections and prose works, include works on children literature.

She was ethnic Polish and active participant of liberal-democratic movement in Russian Empire at early 20th century. In 1917 she emigrated from Russia to the USA, then she was living and writing in Florida. Information about her last years and death is contradictory: according to some sources, she died in 1947 in Miami, but other sources tell that she died in Chile not earlier than 1958.


Early life[edit]

Maria Moravskaya was born on January 12, 1890 (or December 31, 1889 by Julian calendar) in Warsaw to a Catholic non-rich Polish family. When she was two years old her mother died. After that Ludvig Moravskiy, her father, married the sister of his deceased spouse. Then the Moravskaya family moved to Odessa.[1][2]

Maria Moravskaya thought well of her father and described him as a good and dreamy man. Also she thought well of her younger stepbrothers and stepsisters. But when Maria was 15 years old she was forced to leave home due to conflict with her stepmother. Some time later she had moved from Odessa to Saint Petersburg where she worked as secretary, private tutor and translator. At that time she started her literary activity and had significant financial difficulties. She joined the Bestuzhev Courses but did not graduate from it.[1][2]

From her early years Moravskaya had an active civic stand and took part in the activity of different political circles. Initially she was a supporter of self-determination of Poland. At times of beginning of the Revolution of 1905 she was identifying herself as socialist. In 1906 and 1907 he had been arrested twice and detained for short times in transit prisons.[1][2]

There are data about her early and brief marriage which Moravskaya thought to be an "occational".[1]

Saint Petersburg[edit]

Title of first published book of poems by Moravskaya

In Saint Petersburg Moravskaya joined to the literary circles fast enough, mostly due to patronage of Maximilian Voloshin who dated with she at January 1910.[3] Also she had support of Zinaida Gippius. At 1911 Moravskaya began visiting "Literature Wednesdays" (Сре́ды) by Vyacheslav Ivanov and "Academy of Poem" (Академия стиха) founded by Ivanov too. At 1911 too she was accepted into "The Guild of Poets" (Цех поэтов) just after founding of it by Nikolay Gumilyov and Sergey Gorodetsky.[1] Moravskaya became a frequenter of Petersburg bohemia meetings in Stray Dog Café.[4]

She had accepted the events of World War I, partially bitter combat operations and disasters affected civilian people in her native Poland, quite emotionally. Her friend Ilya Ehrenburg wrote "Слышишь, как воет волчиха" (Do you hear howl of she-wolf?).[5]


Maria Moravsky on horseback.

In 1917 Moravskaya took a trip to Japan. From Japan she travelled to Latin America and then she moved to the US.[1] In accordance to her memories, the motives for immigration to the United States were idealized idea about this country and her aspiration for "mix of typical Russian and typical American to make a new, gentle, judicious and harmonious creature".[transl.note 1][6] Later new country had disappointed Moravskaya by spiritual impoverishment of society, manifestations of racism and low level of political freedoms, and she had been declaring against this in the local mass media. For example, it one of the first her English-language articles named "Your Newspapers and Ours" she proved that American journalists at peaceful year 1919 have lesser freedom of expression than their Russian colleagues under tsar Nicholas II even in war conditions. Ten years later, in 1946 Moravskaya had written a letter to Ehrenburg and she had been acknowledging her nostalgia for Russia and her doubt about her creative work is needed in the USA:[7]

Despite of certain disappointment about the American life, Moravskaya practically broke all the contacts with Russia and successfully adapted to life in the USA soon; she had been learning English in eight months.[8][9] Firstly she had been settled in New York where she was engaged in journalistic work at one newspaper. That paper would have closed soon but Moravskaya could establish partnership with many other periodical media.[8][10][11]

Moravskaya had been staying in New York at least up to the early 1920s. There she married Edward "Ted" M. Coughlan, a detective fiction writer who had immigrated to the USA from Dominion of Newfoundland. Maria Moravskaya accepted her husband's surname and became Maria Coughlan but still used her maiden name for most of her publications. Because of it this woman writer is mostly known as Maria Moravsky and not Maria Coughlan.[8]

At early 1930-th Edward and Maria had moved to Lakeland, Florida and then to Miami at 1932.[8] They lived in a dwelling called by them Fiction Farm at a southern part of Miami. Maria Moravskaya was known not only as prolific writer and publicist and member of local Soma Club but also as a woman of active lifestyle and many hobbies, include exotic. For example, she was engaged into selection of new breeds of lovebird and domestic duck, training of wild animals and growing of extrinsic plants, printing of books with home-made equipment. Moravsky was travelling in South America where she was rafting rivers in canoe.[8]

There is contradictory information about time and place of her death. Many sources tell that Maria Moravskaya had died in Miami at 26 June 1947 and some of them tell that poet had perished from storm.[1][12] But we also have enough proven information about her living in Chile at late 1950s at least. There is an evidence by Korney Chukovsky who at the first half of 1960s had told to Margarita Aliger that he had received a letter from Moravskaya several years before. By his words, in Chile Maria Moravskaya had married local postman.[4]

Pavel Luknitskiy[ru] confirms this too; at "The list of names" published in his book named "Acumiana. Встречи с Анной Ахматовой" 1889 – 1958 stated as years of life of Moravskaya, who was "a poetess and member of the first Guild of poets".[13]

Creative work[edit]

Title of first edition of collection "Золушка думает" (Cinderella is thinking)

When Maria Moravskaya was 16 years old and she lived in Odessa, she had published her first poem. Then he had several publications in the newspapers of Odessa.[1][2]

At Saint Petersburg first publication of her poems was at Hyperborean (Гиперборей) and Zavety (Заветы) magazines. In 1911 Moravskaya had begun systematic collaboration with Appolon (ru; fr) magazine, firstly as reviewer and translator. She translated works of Polish, Czech and Finnish writers.[6] Then she made her own poems and essays for magazine. Later her works was published in Vestnik Evropy, Russkaya Mysl, Sovremenny Mir and Ezhemesyachniy Zhurnal magazines and almanacs.[1][2]

First published works by Maria Moravskaya had deserved positive references from literary men such as Vladislav Khodasevich, Igor Severyanin, Sasha Chorny. Anna Akhmatova, whose poems critics compared with Moravskaya's poems, had recognized her as a "fellow-worker"[transl.note 2] and later several times gifts owns books to her.[5] Gippius in her letter to Chukovsky described Moravskaya as "extremely talented person".[2] And Maria Moravskaya was getting especial support from Voloshin who was of a high opinion about her creative perspectives and predicting role of "second Cherubina de Gabriak".[4] And Cherubina herself (her real name is Elisaveta Dmitrieva) recognized young Polish as her creative successor and 18 January 1910 she wrote to Voloshin:

At early 1914 first almanac of poems by Moravskaya named "На пристани" (On the Pier) had been issued. Expert in literature Razumnik Ivanov-Razumnik several months before publication of this almanac had sent draft of it to his authoritative colleagues include Andrei Bely and Valery Bryusov.[2] The last by Razumnik's request had written a preface named "Объективность и субъективность в поэзии" (The Objectivity and The Subjectivity in Poetry) for Maravskaya's almanac. But that preface remained unpublished as Moravskaya insisted on; she wrote to Bryusov:

Circle of poems "Прекрасная Польша" (The Beautiful Poland) had been issued in Russkaya Mysl
First edition of ″Orange peel″ illustrated by S. V. Chehonin (С. В. Чехониным)

As a result, "На пристани" rose a keen but varied response from critics. They noted common motif of the most of works included in almanac: yearning for journeys and far exotic countries. “Capricious” and “infantile” style of poem had been noticed (Moravskaya herself considered her own style as a “doll style”).[2][6][7] Sophia Parnok noted that the main message of Morvskaya's lyric poetry is a "self-pity".[2] Alexandra Kublitskaya-Piottuh[ru] had given a negative review and her son Alexander Blok had agreed with mother despite that his positive consideration of Moravskaya's poetry at the whole:[4]


  1. ^ In accordance with legend, poetess Cherubina de Gabriak had to disappear and supposedly make a nun. Sergey Makovsky was a poet, arts critic and founder of Appolon magazine (ru; fr). "Amorya" was a home nickname of Margarita Voloshina[ru]. "Diks" was a pen name of poet, critic and teacher B. A. Leman.

Translator's notes[edit]

  1. ^ Original Russian quote: перемешать типичного русского и типичного американца, чтобы создать новое, нежное, благоразумное, гармоничное существо
  2. ^ Original Russian quote: товарищ по цеху


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Мария Магдалина Франческа Людвиговна Моравская". Серебряного века силуэт... Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Мария Моравская". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Максимилиан Волошин – Хронология". Официальный сайт Феодосийского музея Марины и Анастасии Цветаевых. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Забытая поэтесса Серебряного века Мария Моравская". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c Русская литература XX века 2005.
  6. ^ a b c Дмитрий Шеваров (7 August 2014). "Письмо от Золушки". Российская газета. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c "Городская Золушка. Мария Моравская". SuperСтиль. Retrieved 26 August 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Renee Greenfield (10 September 1944). "Miami Wtitter Has Ridden into Print On 'Hobbies'". Miami Dally News. Retrieved 7 October 2014. 
  9. ^ "Моравская Мария Людвиговна". Гуманитарный словарь (электронная версия). Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "Index of Short Stories Published in American Magazines (October, 1919 to September, 1920)". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Frank Waterhouse & Company. "Worthwhile Observations". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Поэты Серебряного века. Мария Моравская". Retrieved 16 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Павел Николаевич Лукницкий. Acumiana. Встречи с Анной Ахматовой. Т.1". Retrieved 8 September 2014. 

External links[edit]