In midsummer, and especially at the June solstice, the sun over St. Petersburg refuses to set. At about midnight, an eerie luminosity deposes the reign of night or day: the resulting silvered penumbra features hauntingly in the painting and photography and literature of the place. Because of the prevalence of water and the multicolor of the buildings — typically painted in pastel green, pink, blue, and yellow — a sort of trance descends over the retina. Best of all is to absorb it from a riverboat, slipping along the river or through the backwaters. Alexander Pushkin’s famous poem “The Bronze Horseman,” which is ostensibly about the massive, rearing statue of Peter the Great, becomes entwined with the city’s “limpid twilight’s moonless shine” and the golden cloudland of the light, for soon one dawn succeeds another with barely half an hour of night.

On a day of trauma and grief for that city.

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One Response to “Beautiful Writing About St. Petersburg by Christopher Hitchens.”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    The funny thing is that I had a moment of confusion before I hit Pushkin: St. Petersburg, Florida???

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