Marina Tsvetaeva was, with Anna Akhmatova, Osip Mandelstam and Boris Pasternak, one of the four major Russian poets of the 20th century. Tsvetaeva was born in 1892, the daughter of a gifted amateur pianist and the founder of what is today the Pushkin Museum. She began writing poetry at the age of six; her first book appeared in 1910. She met her husband, Sergei Efron, in 1911 and had three children by him. In 1917 Sergei joined the White Army and Marina did not see him again for five years. She survived the Revolution and in 1922 emigrated to Prague to join him, later moving to Paris. However, by 1939, hardly known in her own country and virtually ostracized by the emigre community, she was persuaded by Sergei, who was now working for the Soviet Secret Police, to return to Russia. He was arrested and shot on arrival, her surviving daughter was sent to the Gulag, and in 1941, with only enough money left for two loaves of bread, Marina Tsvetaeva committed suicide. The book is being published to coincide with the centenary of her birth on 23 September, 1992.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian
Marina Tsvetaeva (1882-1941) is the least read of the four great modern Russian poets (Pasternak, Akhmatova, Mandelstam), her poems (translated here by Peter Norman) and fine theoretical prose as subject to drowning in the tempestuous waves of her life-history as anything else she held closest to her. Tsvetaeva knew everyone, loved everyone, idealized everyone (though married to poet Sergei Efron, her affairs were bisexual, transcontinental, discretionless)--and suffered poverty and scorn in the service of her genius. Lacking the outward gravitas of her peer poets, she was scandal incarnate--she makes George Sand seem like Emily Dickinson- -but with that quality came a gift for essentialism that in this poetic century perhaps is matched only by Rilke's; her love affairs were more acts of insanely pure idealization than genuine passions for an other. She lived out of Russia during much of the Twenties and Thirties; and then, against her better sense, went back--only to have her long-suffering, saintly husband and daughter promptly arrested and sent to perish in the gulag. Somehow, though, Tsvetaeva managed to continue with her art until her saddest of ends: a penniless suicide as the German Army approached. Schweitzer, a Mayakovsky archivist in Moscow before emigrating in 1978, has not a little of her subject's verve, valor, and hardheadedness: She scoffs, dismisses, clucks, repeats, wearies, worries, and wears down: that a nobody's-fool Russian woman of impossible stamina wrote this book would be guessable blind. But the book is chiefly indispensable for the whole picture of modern Russian literature it encompasses--analytical, social, and sexual. Sometimes a slog, but worth it. (Illustrations) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002720531