A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets

By John Pilling | Go to book overview

Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921)

Born in St Petersburg; his father was the Professor of Public Law at Warsaw University, his mother the daughter of the Rector of St Petersburg University. Lived with his mother and her family after the early divorce of his parents. At his happiest on his mother's family estate in the country at Shakhmatovo, to which he ever afterwards repaired at times of stress. Passionately fond of literature and theatre from an early age. Became involved with an older woman whilst on holiday at Bad Nauheim, and indulged his sexual impulses in Petersburg brothels, where he contracted the syphilis which was to shorten his life and cause difficulties in his marriage. Underwent a mystical experience at the turn of the century which afterwards led him and other literary figures to identify his wife as the earthly embodiment of the biblical Divine Sophia. Much distressed by the triangular relationship developing between himself, his wife and Andrei Biely, who challenged him to an abortive duel. Politically active in the unsuccessful revolution of 1905, and thereafter a cultural critic of the split between the intelligentsia and the people. Wrote experimental plays in the aftermath of the revolution, and became enamoured of the first of the two actresses who distracted him from the shortcomings of his marriage. Deeply upset by the death of his wife's child by another man. Visited Italy with his wife in 1909, a journey which inspired some of his greatest poems; went on holiday with her in Brittany in 1913. Served behind the Russian lines in 1916 and was employed by the authorities in Petrograd at the time of the 1917 Revolution, which he had welcomed enthusiastically. In declining health during his last years, and generally concerned by the cultural condition of Russia in the years

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A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 7
  • Preface 9
  • Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) 13
  • Stéphane Mallarmé (1842-98) 23
  • Paul Verlaine (1844-96) 32
  • Tristan Corbière (1845-75) 40
  • Arthur Rimbaud (1854-91) 47
  • Constantine Cavafy (1863-1933) 56
  • Stefan George (1868-1933) 64
  • Christian Morgenstern (1871-1914) 73
  • Paul Valéry (1871-1945) 80
  • Hugo Von Hofmannsthal (1874-1929) 88
  • Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) 97
  • Antonio Machado (1875-1939) 108
  • Guillaume Apollinaire (1880-1918) 118
  • Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921) 127
  • Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958) 136
  • Umberto Saba (1883-1957) 143
  • Dino Campana (1885-1932) 150
  • Gottfried Benn (1886-1956) 158
  • Georg Trakl (1887-1914) 166
  • Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) 173
  • Giuseppe Ungaretti (1888-1970) 181
  • Pierre Reverdy (1889-1960) 190
  • Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) 197
  • Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) 206
  • Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938 215
  • César Vallejo (1892-1938) 225
  • Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) 234
  • Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) 243
  • Paul Éluard (1895-1952) 259
  • Eugenio Montale (1896-1981) 266
  • Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) 276
  • Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) 284
  • Jorge Luis Borges (born 1899) 292
  • George Seferis (1900-71 ) 301
  • Salvatore Quasimodo (1901-68) 308
  • Lucio Piccolo (1901-69) 316
  • Attila József (1902-37) 324
  • Pablo Neruda (1904-73) 333
  • René Char (born 1907) 344
  • Cesare Pavese (1908-50) 351
  • Yannis Ritsos (born 1909) 360
  • Octavio Paz (born 1914) 368
  • Johannes Bobrowski (1917-65) 376
  • Paul Celan (1920-70) 383
  • Vasko Popa (born 1922) 392
  • Yves Bonnefoy (born 1923) 400
  • Yehuda Amichai (born 1924) 408
  • Zbigniew Herbert (born 1924) 416
  • Joseph Brodsky (born 1940) 424
  • Bibliographies 432
  • Index 461
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