Fooled by Love

 I researched and wrote this essay about my two great passions, Rainis and Aspazija, at Casa Pantrowa, a writers’ retreat high above Lake Lugano, not far from the mountain village Castagnola, where the writers lived in exile after the 1905 revolution. 

This story of what happens to artists who are married and cut off from their community is a story of sexual politics and competition. You can find the essay in both Latvian and English in a handsome coffee-table book, in an anthology of essays regarding Rainis and Aspazija in Switzerland. 

It’s so exciting to follow Rubess’ train of thought – the things that interest her, the phrases she extracts from the postcard correspondence of Rainis and Aspazija. The great poets wrote postcards to each other every day, when they weren’t together…It’s impressive to see how deeply B. Rubess has read the text, how she’s able to see the transformation of love in a single sentence.Guna Kalniņa in Kultūras Diena, January 7, 2007


 Pēc 1905. Revolūcijas Šveicē ieradās visādi politiski bēgļi, bet cik bija tādu kā Aspazija un Rainis, dižais mīlētāju-mākslinieku-revolucionāru pāris. Diez vai toreiz viņi nojauta, cik izšķirošu robežu viņi pārkāps, aizbraucot no Latvijas. ..Pie Šveices robežas sākās Raiņa un Aspazijas atsvešināšanās. Izaug plaisa starp kontinents “Sieviete” un kontinents “Vīrietis.” 

 After the 1905 revolution all kinds of political refugees gathered in Switzerland. Few of them were like Aspazija and Rainis, the stellar pair of lovers-artists-revolutionaries! What a decisive border they crossed, leaving Latvia. ..On the Swiss border the estrangement of Rainis and Aspazija begins. A tectonic rift begins to grow between the continent “Woman” and the continent “Man.” 

 "Mīla-vīla" (Fooled by Love), an analysis of the two playwrights, Rainis and Aspazija, published in Robežas/Borders, in Latvian and English, editor V. Matīss. Neputns, Riga, 2006.

Aspazija and Rainis, celebrities in 1905

Rainis and Aspazija near the end of their exile

After Switzerland