The Death Of A Poet: The Last Days of Marina Tsvetaeva

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9781585675227: The Death Of A Poet: The Last Days of Marina Tsvetaeva

"The Death of a Poet" is a harrowing account of how the forces of fate combined to destroy the life of one of twentieth-century Russian literature's most talented and esteemed poets during the bloodiest period of Stalin's regime. In 1937, at the height of her creative powers and living comfortably in exile in Paris, Marina Tsvetaeva made the fateful decision to follow her husband, Sergei Efron, back to Moscow. Soon after their reunion, both Alya, their daughter, and Efron were arrested for ?anti-Soviet activity.? Cast onto the street and living in fear that her own arrest was imminent, the poet who once stood at the pinnacle of Russian letters descended into a living hell, compounded by official persecution, the indifference of peers, and finally, the beginning of World War II and Nazi air raids over Moscow.

Incorporating unprecedented access to KGB records, Irma Kudrova has recreated the final days of the poet, examining several theories of the events that culminated in Tsvetaeva's suicide at the age of forty-nine. "The Death of a Poet" is both a tribute and indictment, and a moving chronicle of the struggle of a great mind to endure.

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About the Author:

IRMA KUDROVA is a graduate of Leningrad University and a former editor of the journals Zvezda and Iskusstvo. One of the world's leading specialists on Marina Tsvetaeva's life and work, Kudrova has lectured at universities around the world and published two other books about Tsvetaeva since The Death of a Poet was first published to great acclaim in Russia in 1995.

From Publishers Weekly:

Drawing on interviews, diaries and recently available KGB records, Kudrova, who has written on the life and work of Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941), details the Russian poet's last years before her suicide at the age of 49. Despite the somewhat uneven translation, Kudrova's narrative is consistently gripping and exudes an aura of relentless tragedy. In 1922, the poet left Moscow to join her husband, Efron, who had been forced to emigrate to Paris for political reasons. With her son, Mur, and daughter, Alya (another daughter died earlier of malnutrition), she lived there and continued to write poetry. In 1937, Efron, who worked for the Soviet secret police, was ordered to return to Russia, where Alya now lived. In 1938, Tsvetaeva and their son followed and, for a time, all were housed by the state at a dacha in Bolshevo. Virtually a prisoner, Tsvetaeva had little to do with Russia's literary world. There is no evidence that she was even contacted at this time by her friend Boris Pasternak. After her husband and daughter were arrested, she fell into a depression. Kudrova successfully evokes the world of 1930s Russia, where no one was safe from purges and informers; trials and executions were common. The author traces Tsvetaeva's desperate attempts to find work that would support herself and Mur-an unsuccessful quest that ended when she hung herself. Although Kudrova posits several reasons-mental illness, political prosecution-for Tsvetaeva's decision to end her life, it is reasonable to conclude that she was simply overwhelmed by the harsh conditions of her life. Kudrovo continues with her heartbreaking narrative: under the duress of interrogations, Efron and Alya informed on each other; Alya was sent to prison and Efron was shot two months after Tsvetaeva's suicide. Photos.
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