Silence and the Rest
Verbal Skepticism in Russian Poetry
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Northwestern University Press
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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This book took many years of work, and many people contributed to it along I would like to thank my dissertation advisor, Svetlana Evdokimova of Brown University, and the members of my dissertation committee, Alex-ander Levitsky of Brown University and Stephanie Sandler of Harvard Uni-versity, for their expertise and help with the project in its initial stages....
Introduction: Silence and the Rest
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In days of doubt, in days of grim refl ection on the fate of my motherland, you alone are my support and pillar—the great, powerful, truthful, and free Rus-sian language! Were it not for you, how could one not fall into despair at the sight of what is taking place at home? But one cannot believe that such a lan-This poem, memorized by generations of Russian schoolchildren, epitomizes ...
Chapter One. Initiating the Paradigm: The Inexpressible in Russian Romanticism
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...bal skepticism was inaugurated in Russian literature, and poetry in particular. Romantic poetry engages the ineffability device as much more than mere rhetorical technique; it probes manifestations of, and reasons for, the fail-ure of the word. Romanticism makes inexpressibility an attribute of human life in general. Precisely because inexpressibility becomes ubiquitous—no ...
Chapter Two. Osip Mandelstam’s Many-Voiced Silentiums
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...during the Silver Age of Russian poetry, and Osip Mandelstam must be singled out among other poets of the age for his explorations of this topos. The traditional view of Mandelstam trusting language in the acmeist tradi-tion invites a polemical corrective—an analysis of his antiverbal thrust as the other side of the coin. His lyrics give play to verbal inadequacy in more at-...
Chapter Three. A Figure That Leaves You Speechless: Joseph Brodsky on Death and Language
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...between the hedgehog and the fox, Mandelstam’s latter- day heir, the Nobel- winning poet Joseph Brodsky, is a hedgehog par excellence. The key theme of his poetry and essays, an obsessive focus of his philosophizing, his primary interlocutor, arch- nemesis, and arch- protagonist, the alpha and omega of his art—death—is as conspicuous as Brodskyan idiosyncrasies of syntax, rhym-...
Chapter Four. “A Poet Is Less Than a Poet”: Timur Kibirov’s Merry Logophobia
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...non grata in the stratosphere, however icy? Monuments not made by hand may not exactly stand on Alexandrine pillars, but they do crumble fast in a mass- consumer Elysium. As the former Soviet Union joined the family of market economies, Russian Logos, tempered and pampered by an extended autocratic tradition, left the era of worship for one of recreation. The poet, ...
Conclusion: Logophobia in the Land of Logos
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Polonius deems Hamlet’s reply nonsensical. Believing that the “insane” prince did not comprehend his questions, he rephrases them. In reality it is Ophelia’s father who remains in the dark regarding the purport of this exchange. As Hamlet dissembles a naive, literal understanding of the ques-tions, he plays with one of the most fundamental philosophical problems—...
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Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory
Series Editor Byline: Gary Saul Morson