Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bashkirtseff, Marie, was born in 1860, her parents being of good Russian family and apparently enjoying ample means. A delicate, intelligent, and precocious child, at the age of ten she accompanied her mother to Nice and other foreign places, and very soon afterwards began to record in a diary the impressions produced on her excitable mind by the events and the people that entered into her everyday life, noting with unsparing fidelity and remarkable literary skill all the aspirations, emotions, and passing phases of her highly strung and morbid nature. She devoted herself at first to music, with the idea that she might electrify the world as a great singer, but when the pulmonary affection, that was ultimately to prove fatal, impaired her voice, she took to painting with such success as to get her work admitted to the Salon. With occasional intermissions her journal was continued almost to the day of her death, on October 31st, 1884. The manuscript was entrusted to M. Theuriet with a view to publication, and after a delay of some six years was given to the world. No book in recent times has produced a more startling effect. The workings of a human soul had never been laid so bare since Rousseau wrote his Confessions, and the gravest divines and moralists found matter therein for reflection. Subsequent criticism suggests a doubt as to the complete sincerity of the author and the amount of editing which her pages have received; but in whatever proportions art and nature, fact and fiction may be blended, this so-called autobiography must be regarded as a deeply interesting literary production.