Русские Ночи

the veil of Isis in Odoyevsky’s “Russian Nights”

The intro to Russian nights mentions an ancient statue of Isis with the writing on it “Nobody has yet seen my face“. This is a quotation from Plutarch which could be more accurately rendered “I am all that has been and is and shall be; and no mortal has ever lifted my garment.”

Here Odoyevsky finds a parallel in the work of poets and chemists. Neither seems to arrive quickly at fundamental truths.

He also includes thanks to Varnhagen von Ense for translating some earlier stories into German. Some of these may have ended up in Russian Nights: Although it wasn’t published until 1844, his biographer (Neil Cornwell) states that it “has roots stretching back into the 1820s