Marina Tsvetaeva: The Double Beat of Heaven and Hell

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Duke University Press, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 299 pages
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"No more passionate voice ever sounded in Russian poetry of the 20th century," Joseph Brodsky writes of Marina Tsvetaeva. And yet Western readers are only now starting to discover what Tsvetaeva's Russian audience has already recognized, "that she was one of the major poetic voices of the century" (Tomas Venclova, The New Republic).
Born to a family of Russian intelligentsia in 1892 and coming of age in the crucible of revolution and war, Tsvetaeva has been seen as a victim of her politicized time, her life and her work marked by exile, neglect, and persecution. This book is the first to show us the poet as she discovered her life through art, shaped as much by inner demons as by the political forces and harsh realities of her day. With remarkable psychological and literary subtlety, Lily Feiler traces these demons through the tragic drama of Tsvetaeva's life and poetry. Hers is a story full of contradictions, resisting social and literary conventions but enmeshed in the politics and poetry of her time. Feiler depicts the poet in her complex relation to her contemporaries--Pasternak, Rilke, Mayakovsky, Mandelstam, and Akhmatova. She shows us a woman embodying the values of nineteenth-century romanticism, yet radical in her poetry, supremely independent in her art, but desperate for appreciation and love, simultaneously mother and child in her complicated sexual relationships with men and women.
From prerevolutionary Russia to Red Moscow, from pre-World War II Berlin, Prague, and Paris to the Soviet Union under Stalin, Feiler follows the tortuous drama of Tsvetaeva's life and work to its last tragic act, exposing at each turn the passions that molded some of this century's most powerful poetry.
 

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Marina Tsvetaeva: the double beat of Heaven and Hell

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Somewhat overshadowed in the West by famous contemporaries Akhmatova, Mandelstam, and Pasternak, noteworthy Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva is finally getting the attention she deserves. Translator ... Read full review

Contents

REALITY AND FANTASY
22
DAWNING SEXUALITY
43
Marriage to Sergey Efron Birth of daughter AriadnaAlya
64
IN THE SHADOW OF THE REVOLUTION
78
PASSION AND DESPAIR
95
YEARS OF FRENZY AND GROWTH
104
NEW POETIC VOICE AND DEPARTURE
116
RUSSIAN BERLIN 124
124
IS RESIGNATION AND BIRTH OF SON
152
l6 PARIS SUCCESS AND NEW PROBLEMS
160
THE CORRESPONDENCE WITH RILKE AND PASTERNAK
168
I8 SPIRALING DOWN
180
GROWING ISOLATION
187
HITTING BOTTOM
196
ALIENATION AND SELFANALYSIS
203
FURTHER WITHDRAWAL
223

I3 PRAGUE CREATIVE PEAK
133
GREAT LOVE GREAT PAIN
144
RETURN TO THE SOVIET UNION
242
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About the author (1994)

Lily Feiler is an independent scholar and translator living in New York. Her translation of Victor Shklovsky's Mayakovsky and His Circle was nominated for the 1972 National Book Award for Translation.

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