и выполните задания A15-A21,
вставив цифру 1, 2, 3
или 4, соответствующую
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Introduction to a New Biography of Gannibal by
was not only Russia’s greatest poet, but he was
also the great-grandson of an African slave. The
slave, whose godfather was Peter the Great, claimed
to have royal blood of his own. Certainly his
Russian descendants believed that he was an African
prince. His descendants have included members
as well as close friends of the English royal
family. So the legend goes on.
Pushkin told the story of his black ancestor in
"The Negro of Peter the Great", but
this biography tells a different version. The
main difference is between fact and fiction. The
Russian poet hoped to discover a biographical
truth by sticking to the facts, only to discover
that facts are slippery and not always true. His
biography turned into a novel. Even then, it was
left unfinished after six and a half chapters.
The scrawled manuscript comes to an end with a
line of dialogue — "Sit down, you scoundrel,
let’s talk!" — and a line of dots. Pushkin
could be speaking to himself. In any case, it’s
now time to stand up and carry on with the story.
I have tried to join up the dots.
This is a book, then, about a missing link between
the storyteller and his subject, an African prince,
between the various branches of a family and its
roots, between Pushkin and Africa, Africa and
Europe, Europe and Russia, black and white. It
is the story of remarkable life and it poses the
question: how is such life to be explained?
My own explanation began in 2001 while I was living
in Russia and working there as a journalist. The
first draft was written during the war in Afghanistan,
on the road to Kabul, but it describes my journey
to the frontline of a different war in Africa
between the armies of Ethiopia and Eritrea. According
to legend, Pushkin’s ancestor was born there,
on the northern bank of the River Mareb, where
I was arrested for taking photographs and compass
readings, on suspicion of being a spy. Understandably
my captors didn't believe that I was only a journalist
researching the life of Russia’s greatest writer.
At the military camp, where I was held for a number
of hours, the commandant looked me up and down
when I asked, in my best posh English accent,
"I say, my good man, can you tell me, basically,
what is going on here?" "Basically,"
he replied, with distaste, “you are in prison!"
The incident taught me something. Journalists,
like biographers, are meant to respect facts,
and by retracing Gannibal’s footsteps, I hoped
to find a true story.
Some of those journeys lie behind the book, and
are used whenever it is helpful to show that the
past often retains a physical presence for the
biographer — in landscapes, buildings, portraits,
and above all in the trace of handwriting on original
letters or journals. But my own journeys are not
the point of the book. It is
Gannibal’s story. I am only following him.
Descriptions of Africa and the slave trade result
from my journeys, but this is not a book about
a "stolen legacy", nor certainly about
the intellectual wars that have been part of black
history in recent years.
Biographers, like novelists, should tell stories.
I have tried to do this. I should, however, point
out from the outset that Gannibal was not the
only black face to be seen in the centre of fashionable
St Petersburg at that time. Negro slaves were
a common sight in the grand salons of Millionaires’
Street and they appeared in a variety of roles,
such as pets, pages, footmen, mascots, mistresses,
favourites and adopted children. At the Winter
Palace, so-called court Arabs, usually Ethiopians
dressed in turbans and baggy trousers stood guard
like stage extras in the marble wings.
A15The slave’s Russian descendants believe that
1) had Russian royal blood in him.
2) was Peter the Great’s godfather.
3) belonged to the royal family in his native
4) was a close friend of the English royal family.
A16According to the narrator, the biography of
Pushkin’s ancestor turned into a novel because
1) didn’t like the true biographical facts he
2) found it impossible to stick to the facts that
3) could not do without describing fictional events.
4) found the true facts of the slave’s biography
A17The narrator’s objective in writing the book
1) write a new version of the novel "The
Negro of Peter the Great".
2) continue the story from where it was unfinished.
3) interpret the storyteller’s attitude to his
4) prove that Pushkin’s ancestor was an African
A18The narrator says that his research for the
1) brought him to Russia to work as a journalist.
2) made him go to the war in Afghanistan.
3) led him to take part in the war in Africa.
4) brought him to a river bank in Africa.
A19The lesson that the narrator learnt from his
1) not to use a camera and compass at the frontline.
2) to avoid speaking to people in his best posh
3) not to distort information about real events.
4) never to tell people about his research.
A20The narrator says that his journeys
1) helped him find some traces of the past.
2) extended his sympathy to a "stolen legacy".
3) deepened his understanding of the concept of
4) turned out to be the main contents of his book.
A21 The narrator points out that at the
time of Gannibal
1) negro slaves played a variety of roles in the
2) black slaves were like stage extras in royal
3) many Africans made a brilliant career at the
4) Africans were not a novelty in the capital
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