Mary, pp. 99-101

August 13, 2010

In remembering his  departure from  the scenes of battle in 1920 after being “wounded in the head” (99)–memories inspired by Podtyagin’s question “When did you leave Russia?” (98)–Ganin mentally traces his route from the  Northern Crimea to Turkey:

“Perekop tottered and fell” (99):  Ganin is recalling the siege and destruction of Perekop by the Red Army in 1920; the town–commanding a view of the isthmus that connects Crimea to the Ukrainian mainland–was of historic strategic importance.

“Ganin had been evacuated to Simferopol”: (99):  currently, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea in southern Ukraine.

“cut off from his unit which had retreated to Feodosia” (99):  a port city located on the coast of the Black Sea, also known as Caffa or Keffe.

“In the fields and on the slopes of the Heights of Inkerman” (99):  Inkerman is a town just east of Sevastopol; a major battle of the Crimean War (1853-1856) was fought on the Heights of Inkerman; note that Ganin is recollecting scenes of civilian flight from the ravages of war against the backdrop of a “lovely and wild Crimean spring.”

“He reached Sevastopol still full of joy” (100):  Sevastopol is the major seaport on the Black Sea, and a strategically critical naval base from 1783, when Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula, to the current day, serving as the main Ukrainian naval base and on lease to the Russian Black Sea Fleet; historically, it has also been a popular resort destination.

“where the gray statue of Admiral Nakhimov stands in a long naval coat” (100):  the monument to one of the Russian heroes of the Crimean War.

“wandering along the dusty white street as far as the Fourth Bastion, he visited the Panorama” (100):  a building that memorializes the defense of Sevastopol; the Fourth Bastion was the site of major attacks upon the city by alliance forces (those of France, Britain, and Turkey) launched against the Russia during Crimean War.

“He took passage on a shabby Greek ship; the deck was covered with rows of penniless, swarthy refugees from Eupatoria, where the ship had called that morning” (100-101):  Eupatoria is another Black Sea port and resort town.

“the vague, dark blue outline of the Scutari shore” (101): Ganin is recalling his arrival in Istanbul after a two-day sea journey; Scutari, or Üsküdar, lies on the Anatolian side of the entrance to the Anatolian side of the Bosphorus.


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