A Coat of Many Colors: Osip Mandelstam and His Mythologies by Gregory Freidin

By Gregory Freidin

For the foremost poets of Osip Mandelstam's iteration, poetry represented a calling within the so much tangible feel. to answer it intended to type from the on hand cultural and private fabric a mythic self, one who might serve either because the organizing topic for poetry and as an item of worshipful adoration. A winning poet like Mandelstam hence turned the point of interest of a posh cultural phenomenon-perhaps a charismatic cult-that formed his writings, gesture, and reception.

Gregory Freidin examines Mandelstam's legacy during this broader context and lays the foundation for imminent modernist Russian poetry as a charismatic establishment. He strains the interaction of poetic culture, own historical past, ancient occasions, spiritual tradition, and political advancements as they entered the symbolic order of Mandelstam's artwork and helped ascertain its outlines within the reader's mind's eye. Many very important features of the Mandelstam phenomenon, together with the Jewish topic, the that means of the poet's Christianity, his political stand, and, particularly, his clash with Stalin and Stalinism, obtain the following a brand new interpretation.

A case learn within the emergence of a literary cult, A Coat of many colours finds how Russian poetry of the early 20th century functioned as a charismatic establishment of a pretty sleek type. those that belonged to it mixed wisdom of the new experiences in delusion, magic, and faith with the cultivation of verbal magic, mythic recognition, and unorthodox spiritual ideals. Following Mandelstam's occupation over its whole span (1908-1938), Freidin exhibits how the poet benefited from literary scholarship, comparative mythology, the background and sociology of faith while he was once emulating in his poetry the very topic of those educational disciplines. To account for this duality in reading Mandelstam's writings, Freidin attracts on explanatory paradigms of up to date human sciences, from Saussure and the Formalists to Weber, Durkheim, Freud, and Marcel Mauss.

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Extra resources for A Coat of Many Colors: Osip Mandelstam and His Mythologies of Self-Presentation

Sample text

For the quiet joy of breathing and living, Whom, tell me, should I thank? I am both a gardener and a flower I am, too; In the prison of the world, I am not alone. On the window panes of eternity, settled My breathing, my warmth. A design shall be imprinted on them, Unrecognizable since not long ago. Let the dregs of the moment drip down The sweet design cannot be crossed out. 1 To begin with, the metrical arrangement was somewhat unusual. ). The syntax, especially in line five, was also bound to raise eyebrows.

Three years after the composition of the poem, after he had become the author of Stone, the terms were to be, quite literally, reversed. A switch as emphatic as this one could not help having a programmatic significance. For the earlier Mandelstam, the word "flesh" < previous page page_39 next page > < previous page page_40 next page > Page 40 with its capacity for erotic connotation was obviously preferable to "stone," coming closer to the ultimate value and essence of poetry; for the Mandelstam of the Acmeist period, the opposite was obviously the case.

Mandelstam is very young: he is 20 or 21. He graduated from the Tenishev School and subsequently went to Heidelberg University (as a Jew, he could not enter the University of St. Petersburg), where for half a year he studied Romance languages. At the Tenishev, he was either an S-R or an S-D, and even made an inflammatory speech before the workers of his district. . 142 So wrote an older friend of Mandelstam, Sergei Pavlovich Kablukov, making an entry in his diary on August 18, 1910, which might as well be considered, to paraphrase Clarence Brown, the birthday of Mandelstam the poet.

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