"I am to be read not from left to right, but in Jewish: from right to left"

"I am to be read not from left to right, but in Jewish: from right to left" : The Poetics of Boris Slutsky

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Boris Slutsky (1919-1986) is a major original figure of Russian poetry of the second half of the twentieth century, whose oeuvre has remained unexplored and unstudied. The first scholarly study of the poet, Marat Grinberg's book substantially fills this critical lacuna in the current comprehension of Russian and Soviet literatures. Grinberg argues that Slutsky's body of work amounts to a Holy Writ of his times, which daringly fuses biblical prooftexts and stylistics with the language of late Russian Modernism and Soviet newspeak. The book is directed toward readers of Russian poetry and pan-Jewish poetic traditions, scholars of Soviet culture and history and the burgeoning field of Russian Jewish studies. Finally, it contributes to the general field of poetics and Modernism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 165.1 x 236.22 x 38.1mm | 816.46g
  • Academic Studies Press
  • Brighton, United States
  • English
  • 1934843733
  • 9781934843734
  • 2,645,486

Review quote

."..original, wide-ranging and often provocative... this first monograph-length study of Slutskii in English enables a deeper appreciation of his remarkable talent."--Barry Scherr, The Slavic Review Boris Slutsky, according to this brilliant book, accomplished the seemingly impossible: a poet of Soviet times, he reforged the totality of Russian literary culture, from Church Slavonic to Pushkin to Khlebnikov and beyond, within the crucible of Jewish self-understanding. Marat Grinberg, author of this impressive study, has also accomplished the seemingly impossible. He demonstrates how this supremely Russian poet can and must be read in his totality: from right to left, from beginning to end, and from his desk drawer to Red Square. ---David G. Roskies, Sol and Evelyn Henkind Professor of Yiddish Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary. Director, Center for Yiddish Studies, Ben Gurion University of the Negev In this erudite and insightful book, Marat Grinberg rescues a great poet from a numbing set of mid-century clich s. No longer a war poet, or Soviet diarist, or sometime Jew, Boris Slutsky emerges as he was in fact a sometimes playful, sometimes anguished heir to Russian modernism, who read Jewish catastrophe through Jewish texts. Alice Nakhimovsky, Professor of Russian and Jewish Studies, Colgate University Grinberg s illuminating study will be of use to students and scholars interested in modern poetry, comparative literature, Jewish and Russian twentieth-century literature, and the representation of historical memory. It is an important book that sheds new light on the history of Soviet literature and brings to the fore Slutsky s powerful responses to the manifestations of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and to the collapsing Soviet monumental style and ideology in the postwar period." Alexandra Smith, The Russian Review ."..original, wide-ranging and often provocative this first monograph-length study of Slutskii in English enables a deeper appreciation of his remarkable talent." Barry Scherr, The Slavic Review From Grinberg we get an entirely different Slutsky, a kind of Soviet Rashi, who created a Judaic interpretation of Soviet life. This alone makes Slutsky one of the most interesting and enigmatic literary figures in the history of the 20th century. Mikhail Krutikov, The Forward Marat Grinberg states that his new reading of Slutsky collapses a number of central Russian and Soviet literary paradigms. It also challenges the interpretative stereotype of Slutsky as a quintessentially Soviet poet this well-researched and well-argued book is a significant contribution to the field of Russian Jewish literature and the broader field of Jewish studies. Henrietta Mondry (University of Canterbury), H-Judaic Grinberg has written a perceptive work that serves as an original and provocative contribution useful to those interested in studying Slutsky s work, either in Russian-Jewish literature or Jewish studies more generally, and to those looking to deepen their understanding of the complex processes at work in Russian poetic history in the mid-twentieth century by learning about one of its more important figures. Rebecca Pyatkevich, Lewis & Clark College Marat Grinberg's extensive and detailed study of Slutsky's work supports the view of the poet as a central figure in the Russian poetry of the last century, who inherited the techniques of the avant-garde Futurists and Constructivists, and had a formative influence on younger poets. . . . Grinberg leaves his readers in no doubt that Slutsky is a figure of major significance, a poet whose work deserves close attention. . . . If there has been a risk of viewing Slutsky through the simplistic model of the Soviet loyalist who fell into disillusion, Grinberg's work has succeeded in opening up new perspectives on the poet's work.--Katharine Hodgson "Journal of Modern Jewish Studies (2013) " "Boris Slutsky, according to this brilliant book, accomplished the seemingly impossible: a poet of Soviet times, he reforged the totality of Russian literary culture, from Church Slavonic to Pushkin to Khlebnikov and beyond, within the crucible of Jewish self-understanding. Marat Grinberg, author of this impressive study, has also accomplished the seemingly impossible. He demonstrates how this supremely Russian poet can and must be read in his totality: "from right to left," from beginning to end, and from his desk drawer to Red Square."--David G. Roskies, Sol and Evelyn Henkind Professor of Yiddish Literature, Jewish Theological Seminary. Director, Center for Yiddish Studies, Ben Gurion University of the Negev "In this erudite and insightful book, Marat Grinberg rescues a great poet from a numbing set of mid-century cliches. No longer a "war poet," or "Soviet diarist," or sometime Jew, Boris Slutsky emerges as he was in fact--a sometimes playful, sometimes anguished heir to Russian modernism, who read Jewish catastrophe through Jewish texts."--Alice Nakhimovsky, Professor of Russian and Jewish Studies, Colgate University "Grinberg's illuminating study will be of use to students and scholars interested in modern poetry, comparative literature, Jewish and Russian twentieth-century literature, and the representation of historical memory. It is an important book that sheds new light on the history of Soviet literature and brings to the fore Slutsky's powerful responses to the manifestations of anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union and to the collapsing Soviet monumental style and ideology in the postwar period."--Alexandra Smith "The Russian Review " ..".original, wide-ranging and often provocative... this first monograph-length study of Slutskii in English enables a deeper appreciation of his remarkable talent."--Barry Scherr "The Slavic Review " "From Grinberg... we get an entirely different Slutsky, a kind of Soviet Rashi, who created a "Judaic" interpretation of Soviet life. This alone makes Slutsky one of the most interesting and enigmatic literary figures in the history of the 20th century."--Mikhail Krutikov "The Forward " "Marat Grinberg states that his new reading of Slutsky collapses a number of central Russian and Soviet literary paradigms. It also challenges the interpretative stereotype of Slutsky as a quintessentially Soviet poet...this well-researched and well-argued book is a significant contribution to the field of Russian Jewish literature and the broader field of Jewish studies."--Henrietta Mondry (University of Canterbury), H-Judaic "Grinberg has written a perceptive work that serves as an original and provocative contribution useful to those interested in studying Slutsky's work, either in Russian-Jewish literature or Jewish studies more generally, and to those looking to deepen their understanding of the complex processes at work in Russian poetic history in the mid-twentieth century by learning about one of its more important figures."--Rebecca Pyatkevich, Lewis & Clark College
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About Marat Grinberg

Marat Grinberg (PhD) is an Associate Professor of Russian and Humanities at Reed College in Portland, Oregon and a co-editor of the forthcoming Woody on Rye: Reexamining Jewishness in Woody Allen's Films and Plays after 1992 (Brandeis University Press). He has published numerous articles on literature, film and modern Jewish culture and politics.
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Table of contents

Preface: Not Quite Platonov: toward a History of Misinterpreting the Poet; The Ur-Suite of 1940/41: "Poems About Jews & Tatars"; The Poet-Historian:Transplantation Added; A Blessed Curse: The Midrash of 1947-53; Looking at the Burned Planet: the Post-Holocaust Verse; The Resurrected Remnant: of Horses & Metapoetics; Writing the Jew: The Poetics of the Father; On Account of the Elegy: within Cemetery Walls; Conversing about God: the Judaic Poetics; Among the Objectivists: Charles Reaznikoff; Blindness & no Insight: David Samoilov; Leader of leaders & mentor of mentors": Il'ia Sel'vinskii; "Weighty proofs of the unprovable": Ian Satunovskii; The Final Myth: Pushkin; Conclusion: The Reader in Perpetuity.
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