Publication Year: 2013
James McGavran’s new translation of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poetry is the first to fully capture the Futurist and Soviet agitprop artist’s voice. Because of his work as a propagandist for the Soviet regime, and because of his posthumous enshrinement by Stalin as “the best and most talented poet of our Soviet epoch,” Mayakovsky has most often been interpreted—and translated—within a political context. McGavran’s translations reveal a more nuanced poet who possessed a passion for word creation and linguistic manipulation. Mayakovsky’s bombastic metaphors and formal élan shine through in these translations, and McGavran’s commentary provides vital information on Mayakovsky, illuminating the poet’s many references to the Russian literary canon, his contemporaries in art and culture, and Soviet figures and policies.
Published by: Northwestern University Press
Series: Northwestern World Classics
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Title Page, Copyright Page
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Much of my work on this collection was completed when I was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Russian at Kenyon College, and I am grateful to the Mellon Foundation and the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Kenyon for this opportunity. ...
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Vladimir Mayakovsky was first and foremost a poet, to hear him tell it (see the opening words of his autobiography, “I Myself”), but his life and career choices would make it difficult for readers and critics to remain focused on that primary and primal vocation. ...
About This Edition
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Translating Mayakovsky is a daunting task. The traditional impossibility of verse translation—maintaining poetic form and semantic content—is compounded in his case by Mayakovsky’s penchant for word creation and highly unusual, at times ambiguous, grammar. ...
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I’m a poet. That’s what makes me interesting. So that’s what I’m writing about. As for all the other stuff—only if it’s settled down in words. ...
The Early Years: 1912–1916
The Years of Upheaval 1917–1920
The Soviet Years 1922–1930
Selected Long Poems
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Page Count: 404
Publication Year: 2013
Volume Title: 1
Series Title: Northwestern World Classics