ANJA  E  FËDOR

di Francesco Cocorullo

 

Tutto iniziò il 3 ottobre 1866. Quel giorno, come sua abitudine, Anna Grigòr’evna Snitkina andò a seguire la lezione di stenografia del professor Ol’chin, uno dei migliori insegnanti del sesto ginnasio maschile di Pietroburgo, del quale lei stessa era tra le allieve più valenti. Aveva venti anni. Non appena prese posto nell’aula, prima dell’inizio della lezione, l’insegnante le si avvicinò: “Anna Grigòr’evna” disse “per caso accettereste un lavoro di stenografia? Mi hanno incaricato di trovare uno stenografo ed ho pensato a voi”. La domanda spiazzò completamente la ragazza, che pur sognando di trovare un’occupazione, ammise di non avere una velocità eccessiva di stenografia temendo di scontentare quindi il potenziale committente. Il professore, tuttavia, la rassicurò sulle sue capacità, invogliandola ad accettare l’offerta; fu allora che Anna chiese chi fosse lo scrittore per il quale avrebbe dovuto stenografare. “Dostoevskij” rispose Ol’chin. “Sta lavorando ad un nuovo romanzo, il compenso sarà di cinquanta rubli”.

Sentendo il suono di quel nome, la giovane ebbe un sussulto. Si trattava dello scrittore preferito di suo padre, ed anche a lei piaceva molto; aveva letto le Memorie di una casa morta e si era commossa fino alle lacrime; timorosa ed allo stesso tempo emozionata, accolse la proposta e ricevette dal professore un piccolo foglietto ripiegato in quattro parti, sul quale vi era vergato “Vicolo Stoljàrnyj, angolo Màlaja Meschanskaja, casa Alonkin, appartamento nr. 13, chiedere di Dostoevskij”. L’insegnante le chiese di recarsi l’indomani all’indirizzo indicato, esattamente alle undici e mezza, né prima né dopo. Poi salì in cattedra e cominciò la lezione. Mentre parlava, Anna non riuscì ad ascoltare nemmeno una parola, persa nel baluginio di emozioni che provava. La sua mente volava all’imminente incontro con un monumento del calibro di Dostoevskij, ed al modo in cui avrebbe dovuto rivolgersi a lui, oltre alla paura di non ricordare i personaggi dei suoi romanzi.

 

Il giorno seguente, all’ora stabilita, giunse al luogo dell’appuntamento, non prima di aver acquistato una scorta supplementare di matite, fogli, e di essersi vestita in modo da sembrare un po’ più grande dei suoi venti anni; annunciandosi alla cameriera che aprì la porta, fu fatta accomodare in una grande stanza con due finestre, un divano rivestito da una stoffa marrone, ed un tavolo ricoperto da un panno rosso: era lo studio di Fedor Michajlovic, e dopo qualche istante di attesa apparve lui in persona. Al muro un quadro raffigurava una donna ossuta vestita di nero. Il grande scrittore le si sedette accanto e, scusandosi per l’attesa, iniziò ad interrogarla sulle sue competenze stenografiche, chiedendole informazioni circa il corso che frequentava e da quanto tempo lo seguiva. A prima vista, ad Anna parve piuttosto vecchio, statura media, portamento eretto, capelli impomatati con cura, ma ciò che più colpì la ragazza di quel primo incontro fu lo sguardo del genio moscovita: aveva degli occhi molto strani, diversi l’uno dall’altro. Uno castano, mentre nell’altro la pupilla era talmente dilatata da non far vedere più l’iride; tale differenza conferiva al suo sguardo un’aria strana, enigmatica. Fedor Michajlovic: durante una violenta crisi epilettica, cadde ferendosi gravemente ad un occhio. Per curare la ferita, gli furono prescritte le gocce di atropina, responsabili della dilatazione marcata della pupilla. Altri dettagli che colpirono Anna al primo incontro furono il colorito pallido e malsano del volto, la giacca consunta, che collimava con una camicia candida e pulita; mentre parlava, lo scrittore camminava nervosamente per la stanza, fumando sigarette a catena e cambiando frequentemente argomento, rendendo quindi difficile per Anna seguirlo nei suoi discorsi. Proprio questa stranezza diede alla ragazza l’impressione che la collaborazione con Fedor Michajlovic non avrebbe avuto luogo nella maniera sperata; tuttavia, lo scrittore volle concedere alla giovane stenografa l’opportunità di lavorare per lui, e le propose una prova, dettandole un racconto, per valutarne le capacità. Poco prima di congedarla, si rallegrò del fatto che Ol’chin gli avesse mandato una donna invece di un uomo: “se fosse arrivato un uomo” le disse “certamente avrebbe iniziato a bere, e voi di certo non bevete”.

 

Cominciò così un sodalizio artistico sensazionale che porterà in soli trenta giorni alla conclusione del romanzo Il giocatore che Dostoevskij doveva terminare per onorare il contratto capestro stipulato con l’editore Stellovskij (un nuovo romanzo oppure la cessione perpetua dei diritti d’autore al suddetto Stellovskij). Anna Grigòr’evna diventerà non solo la fidata collaboratrice di Fedor Michajlovic ma soprattutto la sua seconda moglie: si sposarono il 15 febbraio 1867, quattro mesi dopo la loro conoscenza. Viaggiarono per l’Europa, vivendo all’estero i primi anni di nozze e toccando anche l’Italia: Anna cercò di allontanare il marito dal demone del gioco d’azzardo, e soprattutto gestì la situazione economica della famiglia, all’inizio estremamente precaria, dimostrandosi una persona molto intelligente ed in gamba. La coppia ebbe quattro figli: Sofia (1868, vissuta solo tre mesi), Ljubov’ (1869-1926), nati durante gli anni trascorsi all’estero, e, dopo il rientro in patria, Fedor (1871-1922) e Alexej (1875-78).

 

In seguito alla morte di Dostoevskij nel 1881, Anja (come affettuosamente la chiamava il marito) non volle più sposarsi e trascorse il resto della sua vita nel ricordo del geniale consorte, rispondendo in questo modo a coloro che le chiedessero come mai non si risposasse: “chi mai potrei avere dopo Dostoevskij? Forse Tolstoj, ma è già coniugato”. Morì a Jalta nel 1918 e fu sepolta nello stesso cimitero dove riposa l’autore dei Fratelli Karamazov, il Tichvin di Pietroburgo, a poca distanza da lui.

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