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Marina Tsvetaeva: The Woman, Her World, and Her Poetry

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This book is a major critical biography of the poet Maria Tsvetaeva by one of the foremost authorities on her work. It draws on a profusion of recent documentation and research, some of it hitherto unpublished, and encompasses the whole course of her life. Professor Karlinsky is careful to supply the reader with the necessary context for understanding the work by setting o This book is a major critical biography of the poet Maria Tsvetaeva by one of the foremost authorities on her work. It draws on a profusion of recent documentation and research, some of it hitherto unpublished, and encompasses the whole course of her life. Professor Karlinsky is careful to supply the reader with the necessary context for understanding the work by setting out the historical, political and literary background against which Tsvetaeva's life and literary development evolved. A particular feature of the book is a discussion of Tsvetaeva's relationships with her literary contemporaries, especially Mandelstam, Rilke, Akhmatova, Pasternak, and Mayakovsky, and of her emotional involvement with various men and women that are reflected in her poetry, plays and prose. Interest in Tsvetaeva's work has grown considerably and this important book will be essential reading both to scholars of twentieth-century Russian literature and cultural studies and to all serious students of modern literature.


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This book is a major critical biography of the poet Maria Tsvetaeva by one of the foremost authorities on her work. It draws on a profusion of recent documentation and research, some of it hitherto unpublished, and encompasses the whole course of her life. Professor Karlinsky is careful to supply the reader with the necessary context for understanding the work by setting o This book is a major critical biography of the poet Maria Tsvetaeva by one of the foremost authorities on her work. It draws on a profusion of recent documentation and research, some of it hitherto unpublished, and encompasses the whole course of her life. Professor Karlinsky is careful to supply the reader with the necessary context for understanding the work by setting out the historical, political and literary background against which Tsvetaeva's life and literary development evolved. A particular feature of the book is a discussion of Tsvetaeva's relationships with her literary contemporaries, especially Mandelstam, Rilke, Akhmatova, Pasternak, and Mayakovsky, and of her emotional involvement with various men and women that are reflected in her poetry, plays and prose. Interest in Tsvetaeva's work has grown considerably and this important book will be essential reading both to scholars of twentieth-century Russian literature and cultural studies and to all serious students of modern literature.

48 review for Marina Tsvetaeva: The Woman, Her World, and Her Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Simon Karlinsky's MARINA TSVETAEVA: The Woman, Her World, and Her Poetry is a biography of this Russian poetess who after initial fame experience tragedy and exile and died, in tragic suicide and decades before her time, in some of the darkest days of Soviet history. The biographical element of the book is well-written. We are taken from Tsetaeva's birth to her untimely death. Her numerous infidelities which had great influence on her writing--including her two lesbian affairs long neglected in S Simon Karlinsky's MARINA TSVETAEVA: The Woman, Her World, and Her Poetry is a biography of this Russian poetess who after initial fame experience tragedy and exile and died, in tragic suicide and decades before her time, in some of the darkest days of Soviet history. The biographical element of the book is well-written. We are taken from Tsetaeva's birth to her untimely death. Her numerous infidelities which had great influence on her writing--including her two lesbian affairs long neglected in Soviet scholarship--are detailed. Karlinsky's attempt to explain Tsetaeva's world is also generally commendable. He shows the social circles in which the poet moved in Moscow and in exile in Berlin, Prague, and Paris, tracking her intersections with numerous other intellectuals. The work betrays its Cold War origins in criticizing the Soviet Union at every opportunity. While Communism was a barbaric system partly responsible for Tsvetaeva's end, it often seems like the author is going out of his way to take a shot at it. Karlinsky's final aim, to cover her poetry, is mostly unrealised. While some large poems, especially ones difficult to understand such as "On a Red Steed", are covered, most of her oeuvre is neglected. Stand-out gems such as "Night of the Soul" are missing completely. For lovers of literature interested in this great poet, I would recommend Karlinsky's MARINA TSETAEVA. However, one should also acquire critical commentary on her works in order to compensate for Karlinsky's meagre treatment.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Rodney

    Few did more than Simon Karlinsky to bring Tsvetaeva’s poetic achievement to the attention of English-speaking readers. In the plus column of this pioneering critical biography is Karlinsky’s frank (though brief) assessment of her sexual attachments, along with the pre-revolutionary context writers enjoyed to express same-sex relationships; his account of the fractious politics of the Russian émigrés in Berlin, Prague, and Paris after the October Revolution; his treatment of Tsvetaeva’s husband, Few did more than Simon Karlinsky to bring Tsvetaeva’s poetic achievement to the attention of English-speaking readers. In the plus column of this pioneering critical biography is Karlinsky’s frank (though brief) assessment of her sexual attachments, along with the pre-revolutionary context writers enjoyed to express same-sex relationships; his account of the fractious politics of the Russian émigrés in Berlin, Prague, and Paris after the October Revolution; his treatment of Tsvetaeva’s husband, Sergei Efron, who converted from czarist White Army refugee to Bolshevik secret agent; and his vivid description of the poverty and domestic drudgery Tsvetaeva endured for most of her adult life, after a pampered bourgeois childhood. In the negative column—well, somehow there’s not much Marina to Karlinsky’s Tsvetaeva. You get a good sense of her movements, her associates, her publishing history, and her critical reception. You understand how her politics clashed with nearly everyone in the diaspora, left, White or polka-dot. You see why lovers could find her too much, and why misogynist critics read her wrong. What I missed though was any real feeling for what excited so many people at the time about Tsvetaeva’s person and her writing. How is it that from the age of 18 she found influential friends and supporters? Why did she figure as such an important poet among the Russian diaspora? And why were some of the most famous poets of her age (Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, Bely, Pasternak, Briusov, Blok, etc.) so quick to acknowledge her as an equal, or at least a gifted rival? A large part of the answer has to do with her use of Russian, which Karlinsky describes but can’t hope to bring over into English. Was it just her way with diction, rhyme and meter though that got under contemporary skins? Somehow Tsvetaeva’s charisma eludes all the well-wrought context. Which is maybe what Karlinsky intended, so we'd want to read more of her texts.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  4. 4 out of 5

    Luc

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paolo Grill

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christine

  7. 4 out of 5

    Francesca

  8. 5 out of 5

    yana

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gene

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katrina

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bojana Jovićević

  13. 4 out of 5

    raquel

  14. 5 out of 5

    inka

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nazanin Nadimi

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ronia

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jelena

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cristina

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bubaljilja

  21. 4 out of 5

    Bob Cat

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chengru

  23. 4 out of 5

    Olga Husch

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eunice

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stefano Lugli

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marina Duarte

  27. 5 out of 5

    Holly

  28. 5 out of 5

    L

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexander Cigale

  30. 5 out of 5

    Arnoldo Garcia

  31. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Teed

  32. 5 out of 5

    Olga

  33. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  34. 4 out of 5

    L

  35. 5 out of 5

    Trond Trondsen

  36. 4 out of 5

    Bubaljilja

  37. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  38. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

  39. 5 out of 5

    Dana-al Popa

  40. 5 out of 5

    Karina

  41. 5 out of 5

    Raquel Toledo

  42. 4 out of 5

    John Fahey

  43. 5 out of 5

    John

  44. 5 out of 5

    ярмила даскалова

  45. 4 out of 5

    Sierra

  46. 5 out of 5

    Elena

  47. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra Maria

  48. 5 out of 5

    3abbas Mesta3gl 3al gam3a

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