Marina Tsvetaeva

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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.

WORKS

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.

REFERENCES

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.

A. A. SAAKIANTS

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