By 1933, Mandelstam
was composing poems attacking Stalin's policies, and in 1934 he was arrested and sent into exile.
, "J'accuse!" You were born with no knowledge of the ghosts of the slaves drowning below deck as water hissed its way into the rotting ark of the Tsar.
This practice on the poet's part, however, does not obscure the fact that Nietzsche's ideas--especially those from The Birth of Tragedy out of the Spirit of Music--can be located throughout Mandelstam
's early essays and can clarify how his view of language anticipates features of Western theoretical discourse that emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century.
Coming to the end of Mandelstam
's after reading the first two, one feels one has reached the pinnacle of the genre.
The first of the four chapters, "Writing 'for the joy of it'", is devoted to Osip Mandelstam
, by no means a contemporary of Heaney since, arrested and sent by Stalin to the gulag in 1938, he died in a transit camp near Vladivostok some four months before the Irish poet was born.
By the time she was eighteen Marina had become a well-known presence on the Russian literary scene and her close relationships with writers such as Boris Pasternak (who appreciated her technical brilliance) and Osip Mandelstam
(who was in love with her) only promoted her even more.
But before we toss the book down and join nationalist-communist revolutions (wreaking havoc upon unpaid wage labor), Zgustova leaves us in a very different Prague, that of the 1930s, brimming with Russian exiles--Vladimir Nabokov, as well as the less fortunate Alexander Blok, Andrei Bely, Osip Mandelstam
, Isaac Babel, and Anna Akhmatova--all members of the Association of Artists and Writers.
If left-leaning cultural forces and the progress of alienation are not reversed, we will find ourselves in the situation best described by the poet Osip Mandelstam
: We live not feeling the country under our feet.
2 (Fall 2010): Special Issue: "Gender Studies: Redressing Imbalances," Issue ed.: Marjorie Mandelstam
In a letter to the New York Review of Books on December 4, 1969, Nabokov caustically condemned Lowell's translation of a poem by his greatly admired countryman Osip Mandelstam
. Lowell, he showed, "misinterpreted, or otherwise mangled" passages, rendered phrases "meaningless, both as translation and adaptation," and was uninformed and even nonsensical.
Though the poetic has always engaged with the political, in our day the political has ceased engaging with the poetic: Though the Soviet Union is no more and Mandelstam
and Tsvetaeva are still read, and though ancient Greek and Latin are no longer spoken and Pindar and Virgil are still read, there is no doubt that what will survive today's regimes will not be verse so much as verselike caches of random data.