Marina Tsvetaeva

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tsvetaeva, Marina Ivanovna


Born Sept. 26 (Oct. 8), 1892, in Moscow; died Aug. 31, 1941, in Elabuga. Soviet Russian poet. Daughter of I. V. Tsvetaev.

Tsvetaeva’s poetry collections Evening Album and The Magic Lantern were published in 1910 and 1912, respectively. She attained poetic maturity in her verse of the period from 1912 to 1915. Her poetry written in 1916 (Versts, fasc. 1, 1922) deals with Russia and the poets of Russia. It portrays a proud woman endowed with immeasurable feeling. Tsvetaeva’s lyric poetry written between 1917 and 1922 is marked by a complex, contradictory sense of the revolution and a romantic rejection of the use of force. From the point of view of poetics, these poems are characterized by varied intonations, a vocabulary of great range (from the high and solemn to the folksy and vernacular), and the rhythms of the chastushka (folk ditty, often humorous). During these same years, Tsvetaeva wrote a cycle of plays and the fairytale poem The Tsar-Maiden.

Tsvetaeva emigrated in the spring of 1922; after living for a while in Czechoslovakia, she took up residence in France in late 1925. She published in White émigré periodicals. Her works from this period include Craft (1923), Psyche (1923), The Swain (1924), and After Russia (1928). She also wrote the tragedies Ariadne (1924) and Phaedra (1927), which are based on classical themes; essays on poets, such as “My Pushkin” and “A Living Word About the Living Word”; essays on aesthetics, such as “Art in the Light of Conscience” and “The Poet and His Time”; and autobiographical sketches, such as “The House on Old Pimen” and “Tale of Sonechka.”

A tragic romantic poet, Tsvetaeva wrote of love and separation in the narrative poems Poem of the Mountain (1924) and Poem of the End (1924). Her narrative poem The Pied Piper (1925) and the poem “Newspaper Readers” show her hatred of the bourgeois spirit and philistinism. She proclaimed the triumph of the solitary spirit of the poet in his struggle with fate.

Tsvetaeva’s preoccupation with nostalgia intensified in the 1930’s and was expressed in “Verses to My Son” and “Homesickness! Long ago.” Her antifascist cycle Poems to Bohemia was written in 1938 and 1939. Tsvetaeva returned to the USSR in 1939 and occupied herself with verse translations. She was evacuated from the war zone and subsequently, distraught because of her difficult living conditions, committed suicide.

Tsvetaeva’s poetry evolved from simple, melodious, classically clear forms to more expressive, urgent, and rhythmically complex ones. The style of her lyric poetry of the 1930’s is aphoristic; each word is saturated with meaning and feeling.


Izbr. proizv. [Introductory article by V. Orlov.] Moscow-Leningrad, 1965.
Moi Pushkin. Moscow, 1967.
Prosto serdtse: Stikhi zarubezhnykh poetov v perevode M. Tsvetaevoi. Moscow, 1967.


Antokol’skii, P. “Kniga Mariny Tsvetaevoi.” Novyi mir, 1966, no. 4.
Tsvetaeva, A. Vospominaniia. Moscow, 1971.
Tvardovskii, A. “Marina Tsvetaeva: Izbrannoe.” In O literature. Moscow, 1973.
Efron, A. “Stranitsy vospominanii.” Zvezda, 1973, no. 3.
Efron, A. “Stranitsy bylogo” Zvezda, 1975, no. 6.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Frank MK (2012) Marina Tsvetaeva. In: Canfield Reisman RM, ed.
With access to the same archives, Irma Kudrova in THE DEATH OF A POET: THE LAST DAYS Of MARINA TSVETAEVA (Overlook Duckworth, $29.95) tells us why the author of The King-Maiden returned to Russia in the first place, in the middle of the Terror, after an absence of seventeen years in Berlin, Prague, and Paris; how her husband and daughter came to be arrested for "anti-Soviet activity" and falsely testified against each other after KGB interrogation; and what led her, penniless and incompetent at anything but poetry and translation, to leave wartime Moscow by barge for the provinces, where, two months before her husband would be executed in 1941, she hanged herself.
He echoes Marina Tsvetaeva's extraordinary essay, 'The Poet and Time,' also written in exile in Paris a year earlier in 1932, where she declares that 'every poet is an emigre.' In fact, this declaration and the two successive essays written by Khodasevich can be read as the most eloquent statements on poetry and exile in the twentieth century."
Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) is considered one of the major Russian poets of the twentieth century.
Until Smith's biography, the word 'Mirsky' tended to signify this History, while the man's own history was, to borrow a phrase that his friend, the poet Marina Tsvetaeva, particularly associated with him, 'lost in guesses'.
It took place at the Marina Tsvetaeva Museum--she was one of the great 20th Century poets of Russia.
You can recite a poem on betrayal by Marina Tsvetaeva, a great Russian woman poet, for instance.
It should be salutary to most readers to know that there are some highly talented Russian women writers besides the two they have probably heard of and even read, Anna Akhmatova and Marina Tsvetaeva. That is not to say that any of them are as impressive as these two poets, nor that any of them have as established a reputation - even in Russia - but that they have produced a considerable body of quality works and they, and we, should be grateful that Kelly has put them on the map and has stimulated interest in them in her excellently researched and written study.
There's a piece by Kharms in issue 2, as a matter of fact, and the series also includes the work of Osip Mandelstam and Marina Tsvetaeva, as well as contemporary writers such as Evgeni Popov and Victor Yerofeev.
Poetry still follows classical Pushkinian lines; Anna Akhmatova seems to be an easier literary model than Marina Tsvetaeva, who returned to the Soviet Union and hanged herself in 1941.
After completing her studies, she served as an editor on The Soviet Encyclopaedia, and later worked at the Marina Tsvetaeva Museum.