One Less Hope: Essays on Twentieth-Century Russian Poets

By Constantin V. Ponomareff | Go to book overview

Epilogue

J. B. Priestley, in his wonderful book Literature and Western Man (1960), had this to say about the 20th century:

The modern age shows us how helpless the individual is when he is at the mercy of his
unconscious drives and, at the same time, is beginning to lose individuality because he is in
the power of huge political and social collectives. It is an age of deepening inner despair and
of appalling catastrophes …232

The twelve Russian poets in this collection of essays proved to be no exception to this devastating experience. The totalitarian nightmare left its tragic mark on their lives whether they were inner émigrés living in Soviet Russia or exiles living abroad. For the inner émigrés the enemy was always the Soviet regime and the consequences for being out of tune with the political ideology of the day varied for each poet. Mayakovsky and Esenin committed suicide; Gumilev and Mandelshtam were killed; Blok stopped writing; Akhmatova and Pasternak were persecuted to the end of their days. And though the exiles lived in a freer world, the consequences of exile were equally tragic: Tsvetaeva and Poplavsky committed suicide; Khodasevich stopped writing; and Brodsky’s poetic inspiration was undermined and, possibly, Vyacheslav Ivanov’s as well.

Another major contributing cause to their creative dilemmas, whether they were in Russia or outside, was a profound sense of rootlessness and loneliness. In Soviet Russia they were not allowed to speak. In the West they could finally speak but, more often than not, they had communication difficulties with their Russian émigré audience for political reasons, and even when this was not the case, they were not immune to a haunting sense of linguistic and cultural disconnection. A more existential cause of their undoing in both East and West, and varying from individual to individual, was their living in abject poverty - Brodsky was more fortunate towards the end of his life - and under enormous emotional stress, and suffering from poor physical and emotional health.

Indeed, these poets, like other European writers and poets, lived the grotesque traumas of the 20th century. In his fascinating study The Grotesque in Art and Literature (1957), Wolfgang Kayser observed that the grotesque tended to appear during times of turmoil and upheaval when reality was

232 J. B. Priestley, Literature and Western Man (New York, 1960), p. 443.

-157-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
One Less Hope: Essays on Twentieth-Century Russian Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 196

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.