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“The Tattered Cloak”: The Story of the Title

tatteredcloak cover


The Russophone reader will search in vain for a work by Nina Berberova entitled anything resembling "The Tattered Cloak." Yet not only did I publish a long story by her under that title, but the volume in which it appeared, published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991, used it as the title for the entire collection. I fear it is my fate—assuming a continuing interest in Nina Berberova, a much-praised but belatedly discovered Russian emigré writer—to be excoriated by generations of Russian scholars to come, who will assume I have taken an unconscionable liberty and foisted my own title on Berberova's work.

Allow me to set the record straight.

You can read my essay in full at Words Without Borders.