Mandelstam the Reader

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Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995 - Literary Criticism - 217 pages
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In Mandelstam the Reader Nancy Pollak presents a set of close readings of the late verse and prose of Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938), dating from 1930 to his exile, followed by his death in a transit camp eight years later.
Pollak offers a new paradigm for the study of what has traditionally been the most rarified and hermetic literary mode. Presenting what could be termed an "anthropology of poetry," Pollak shows that for Mandelstam, as for Dante, poetry is a vital link to the very substance of a poet's contemporary culture; identity, genealogy, religion, and language. Such an approach flows naturally from Pollak's fundamental insight that the key to Mandelstam's work is his name, the irreducible kernel of his identity - as a Russian, as a Jew, and as a modernist.

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About the author (1995)

Nancy Pollak is associate professor of Russian literature at Cornell University.

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