Enigma and Cultural Paradigm
Publication Year: 2000
Published by: Northwestern University Press
Rarely does an author celebrate the slowness with which a manuscript was completed. In this case, however, slowness brought a certain advantage. As the manuscript gradually evolved into its final form, the Soviet Union crumbled piece by piece, bringing the central issue of the book—the essential continuity of Russian culture—into stark relief. Much of the text that follows ...
The epigraphs above come from statements made after Zabolotsky's death. Roskina had enjoyed a brief but intense relationship with the poet toward the end of his life. Ozerov had known him as a fellow poet. Each of them cast Zabolotsky as a conundrum in a postmortem attempt to come to grips with a person at once utterly familiar, yet unrecognizable. The search for ...
2. Constructs of Character
The first "moment" of relevance to our study is, indeed, the first moment of Zabolotsky's life, that moment on April 24, 1903, when he was born on a farm (ferma) outside of Kazan, the first of six children of Aleksei Agafonovich and Lidiia Andreevna Zabolotsky. Few major Russian poets, if any, have been born on a farm. Few, if any, have had fathers with the obvious ...
3. The Emerging Poet in an Emerging Society
The intellectual foundations of Zabolotsky's worldview were firmly in place by the time he enrolled at the Herzen Institute in Petrograd in 1921, but he lacked a poet's most essential tool-his own poetic voice. As he himself put it: "I wrote a lot, sometimes imitating Mayakovsky, sometimes Blok, sometimes Esenin. I couldn't find my own voice."l Here, as in Moscow, however ...
4. The Last Gasp of the Avant-Garde and the Continuity of Culture
On January 24, 1928, after the publication of announcements printed both right side up and upside down-and promising, among other things, a dazzling virtuoso performance of tricycle riding by the master of ceremoniesthe Oberiu treated NEP Leningrad to the apotheosis of late avant-garde theatricalization in a spectacle called "Three Leftist Hours" ("Tri levykh ...
5. A Holy Fool at Loose in Leningrad
In 1929, the year after the stunningly eccentric Oberiu performance of the Three Leftist Hours, Zabolotsky simultaneously fulfilled his own hope of becoming a recognized poet and provided a realization of the principles of the Oberiu Declaration in his first published volume of poems, Columns (Stolbtsy). The book came out in a print run of only ll00 copies, but it ...
6. Orthodoxies and Subversions
Soviet culture of the thirties was marked by a plague of death and a slightly less widespread epidemic of "second birth." The death was both literal and figurative. By the early thirties, the revolution was dead and the revolutionary fervor and ferment of the twenties long past. The Oberiu, like innumerable other groups, was defunct, the natural course of its demise having ...
7. The Apotheosis of Zabolotsky
This chapter is both an ending and a beginning. In its examination of two poems that sum up the essence of Zabolotsky's oeuvre, "I Do Not Seek Harmony in Nature" ("Ia ne ishchu garmonii v prirode") and "Evening on the Oka River" ("Vecher na Oke"), it serves as an ending. In its placement of these poems within the anachronistic context of the English meditative tradition ...