Diaries 1924–1933

Diaries 1924–1933

Prodigal Son
Translated by Anthony Phillips

The third and final volume of Prokofiev's Diaries covers the years 1924 to 1933, when he was living in Paris. Intimate accounts of the successes and disappointments of a great creative artist at the heart of the European arts world between the two world wars jostle with witty and trenchant commentaries on the personalities who made up this world.

The Diaries document the complex emotional inner world of a Russian exile uncomfortably aware of the nature of life in Stalin’s Russia yet increasingly persuaded that his creative gifts would never achieve full maturity separated from the culture, people, and land of his birthplace. Since even Prokofiev knew that the USSR was hardly the place to commit inner reflections to paper, the Diaries come to an end after June 1933 although it would be another three years before he, together with his wife and children, finally exchanged the free if materially uncertain life of a cosmopolitan Parisian celebrity for Soviet citizenship and the credo of Socialist Realism within which the regime struggled to straitjacket its artists.

Volume Three continues the kaleidoscopic impressions and the stylish language—Prokofiev was almost as gifted and idiosyncratic a writer as a composer—of its predecessors.