Russian copyright protection service seeks to pay royalties to literary hoax

The Russian Society of Authors, which collects payments to authors for public performance of their works in Russia, is looking through its website for any contacts for Cherubina de Gabriak, a famous literary hoax in the early 20th century.

­A female poet, whose mystery agitated the minds of most prominent literary men of the Russian Silver Age, is credited in the RSA authorship for the soundtrack to the Soviet movie “House on the Embankment”. It is worth mentioning, however, that the music already has an author – the famous Soviet composer Isaac Schwarz. 

The story of the famous hoax is now included even in student literature books. A prominent poet of the epoch, Maximilian Voloshin, along with his friend Elizaveta Dmitrieva, came up with an intriguing pseudonym and a mysterious background for a new figure on the horizon of Russian poetry.

Read more about prominent Russian writers in RT's Russiapedia

Poems of Cherubina de Gabriak were sent to St. Petersburg, to a respectable literary magazine of the time, “Apollon”. The poems were romantic and intriguing, just as the poet herself; they touched upon Catholic Spain and the Inquisition, chivalry and crusaders, at the same time describing the incredible beauty of the poetess, her aristocratic roots and inner sufferings.

The secret of the poetess lasted for almost a year, by the end of which the entire literary society was obsessed with their new heroine. When the truth was finally revealed, there was deep disappointment among the poets, and it even gave rise to a duel.

Although the life of the mysterious hoax was quite short, it was enough for another famous poet, Marina Tsvetaeva, to describe this period as “the era of Cherubina de Gabriak”.