A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets

By John Pilling | Go to book overview
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Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)

Born in Moscow, the daughter of an eminent professor and a cultured mother. Wrote poetry in German as well as in Russian as a child. Educated in boarding-schools in Switzerland and Southern Germany; attended lectures at the Sorbonne during a brief residence in Paris; spent the summer of 1910 in Dresden. Deeply influenced by the poet Voloshin and those who gathered at his Crimean residence in Koktebel, where she fell in love with Sergei Efron, whom she married. Gave birth to a precocious daughter in 1912 and later to another daughter who soon died, and to a son. Emotionally involved with Mandelstam in 1915 -- 16. Culturally supported her husband's activities on behalf of the White cause in the Civil War and reunited with him on his evacuation to Prague in 1922. Lived in the Prague suburbs until 1925, during which time she fell in love with another White officer. Reunited with her husband in Paris in 1926. Condemned by the Russian émigrés in Paris for defending the poetry of Mayakovsky and thereafter ostracized by them. Corresponded with Rilke and Pasternak. Remained in the vicinity of Paris until 1939, her husband having begun to work for the Soviet secret police and been implicated in the assassination of Trotsky's son. Wrote primarily in prose in the 1930s. Sought relief from a troubled marriage in a number of liaisons, but returned to Russia in 1939 in search of her husband. Encountered hostility on her return to Moscow, where she met Anna Akhmatova for the first time. Engaged in translation in an attempt to support herself. Evacuated from Moscow in 1941 to the provincial town of Elabuga where, friendless and unable to find work, she died by her own hand. Still regarded with suspicion by

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A Reader's Guide to Fifty Modern European Poets
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