La historia es conocida: en mayo de 1934, el poeta Osip Mandelstam
recita en un bar unos versos satiricos contra Stalin:
In April 1934, the poet Osip Mandelstam
bumped into Boris Pasternak on a Moscow street.
And that is why their poetry really doesn't matter, whereas Mandelstam
's did matter, although Mandelstam
did not really exhibit daring courage.
Franz Kafka, Stefan Zweig, Ana Frank, Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi, Etty Hillesum, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Philip Roth, Boris Pasternak, Nadezshda Mandelstam
, Israel Zangwill, Martin Buber, Emmanuel Levinas, Andre Schwarz-Bart, Simonne Weil, y Leonard Cohen son algunos de ellos.
, a Jewish poet living under the Soviet Regime (and dying under it too, incidentally) wrote that line at the very time when Petersburg had been renamed Leningrad by the regime he unambiguously detested through his poetry.
Flynn delves into the material borrowed from Maria Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandelstam
in On Ballycastle Beach (1988) uncovered by Shane Alcobia-Murphy, pointing out that the source texts, rather than serving as some kind of secret code that explains the poem, actually highlight the folly of attempting to interpret a poem this way.
As a Russophile since my teenage years (all that Dostoevsky, Chekov, Pasternak and Mandelstam
on the brain), I had hoped that economics would lead Russia towards global integration, as it did India and China in the 1990s.
As Osip Mandelstam
, who died in Stalin's prison camps, once said: "Only in Russia is poetry respected; it gets people killed.
Mayakovsky Pasternak Bulgakov Tsvetaeva Yevtushenko Voznesensky and all the disappeared who could have been Requiem 1930-1940 In the endless silence of the prison yard the nearly endless silence I am recognized.
This is not because Mandelstam
did not read Nietzsche or was not interested in his ideas, but because he did not always explicitly acknowledge Nietzsche's impact, generally avoiding
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The strongest poems in the collection draw upon his memories of Hungary and his sense of exile, not only his but those of others killed or exiled like Osip Mandelstam
and Radnoti, or the recurrent figure of Odysseus, whose return to Ithaca is problematic if not impossible.