Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam : Selected Essays

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Osip Mandelstam, who died anonymously in a Siberian transit-camp in 1938, is now generally considered to be among the four or five greatest Russian poets of the twentieth century. The essays in this volume, presented in an exceptionally scrupulous and true translation, were selected because they represent Mandelstam's major poetic themes and his thought on literature, language and culture, and the work and place of the poet. Mandelstam's views on literature are profound and original, and they are expressed in striking and dramatic, if sometimes difficult, prose. These essays deal with such topics as the poetic process and the relationship of poetry to politics, culture, the traditions of the past, and the demands of the present.

Sidney Monas's lively introduction to the work and life of Mandelstam combines the virtues of both the critical essay and detached scholarship. Keeping biographical detail to a minimum, Monas concentrates on the pattern that runs through the essays and lends them that coherence often noted in Mandelstam's poetry.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 270 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15.49mm | 635g
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • English
  • 0292741456
  • 9780292741454

Table of contents

Introduction: Friends and Enemies of the Word
Conversation about Dante, translated by Clarence Brown and Robert Hughes
1. About Poetry

From the Author
The Word and Culture
About an Interlocutor
About the Nature of the Word
Notes about Poetry
The End of the Novel
Badger's Burrow
The Nineteenth Century
Peter Chaadaev
Notes about Chenier
Francois Villon

2. Uncollected Essays and Fragments

Pushkin and Scriabin (Fragments)
The Morning of Acmeism
Literary Moscow
Literary Moscow: Birth of the Fabula
Storm and Stress
Humanism and Modern Life
Fourth Prose

3. Journey to Armenia

Ashot Ovanesian
The French
Around the Naturalists

Index of Names
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Review quote

"Starting from the premise that Mandelstam was a 'word-lover' par excellence, Monas has everywhere tried to apply the same sort of reverent care and precision in rendering him. In the process, I think, he achieves something very much like the Mandelstam line: hard, lapidary, severely wrought and yet full of emotive power and intellectual fire. What's more, he has done this without sacrificing either the densely metaphorical richness or the prodigious conciseness that, taken together, are the essence of Mandelstam's style." - Louis Iribarne
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About Sidney Monas

Sidney Monas is Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and History at the University of Texas at Austin.
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