A captive spirit: selected prose

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Ardis Publishers, 1980 - Fiction - 479 pages
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User Review  - Marse - LibraryThing

Marina Tsvetaeva -- a writer that was always on the outskirts of my readings and studies of Russian literature. Oh we read some of her poems (short ones) and knew her sad biography in outline and even ... Read full review


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A Living Word about a Living Man
A Captive Spirit

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About the author (1980)

Tsvetaeva, whose first collection appeared in 1910, ranks among the major twentieth-century Russian poets. Her numerous lyrics and long poems are distinguished by great vigor and passion and an astonishing technical mastery. Her language and rhythms are highly innovative. In subject, her poetry varies greatly, often diarylike but also intensely concerned with the fate of her generation, of Russia, and of Europe. Tsvetaeva did not shy away from controversial topics, often opposing received dogma, be it Soviet or Russian emigre. She frequently subsumed herself in other characters, merging dramatic and lyrical elements. Particularly striking are her long poems Poem of the Mountain, Poem of the End, and Ratcatcher and her later collections Craft (1923) and After Russia (1928). After emigrating from the Soviet Union, Tsvetaeva also seriously turned to prose. Drawing on her past, she wrote a number of striking quasi-autobiographical pieces, deeply exploring problems of literary and artistic creation. Tsvetaeva's husband fought as an officer against the Reds in the Crimea, and she celebrates the White Army in the collection The Demesne of Swans (1957). Following the civil war, she led a difficult and isolated existence in Prague and Paris during the twenties and thirties. Her eventual return to the Soviet Union in 1939, largely for family reasons, ended in tragedy; isolated and humiliated by official Soviet literary figures, she committed suicide in 1941. Her work was first republished in the Soviet Union in the 1960s, and the current period has brought a new wave of interest and new editions. As was the case with her writing from the start, poets are a particularly attentive audience.

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