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

By Gregory Freidin

For the most important poets of Osip Mandelstam's iteration, poetry represented a calling within the so much tangible experience. to answer it intended to style from the to be had cultural and private fabric a mythic self, person who may possibly serve either because the organizing topic for poetry and as an item of worshipful adoration. A winning poet like Mandelstam hence grew to become the point of interest of a fancy 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 basis for imminent modernist Russian poetry as a charismatic establishment. He strains the interaction of poetic culture, own heritage, old occasions, non secular tradition, and political advancements as they entered the symbolic order of Mandelstam's artwork and helped make sure its outlines within the reader's mind's eye. Many very important facets of the Mandelstam phenomenon, together with the Jewish subject matter, the that means of the poet's Christianity, his political stand, and, specifically, his clash with Stalin and Stalinism, obtain the following a brand new interpretation.

A case examine 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 quite glossy type. those that belonged to it mixed wisdom of the hot reports in fable, magic, and faith with the cultivation of verbal magic, mythic cognizance, and unorthodox non secular ideals. Following Mandelstam's profession over its whole span (1908-1938), Freidin exhibits how the poet benefited from literary scholarship, comparative mythology, the heritage and sociology of faith even as 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

Example text

82 In the Durkheimian sense especially, the leading spokesmen of the educated society seized on literature as an "encyclopedia of Russian life," to use the phrase with which Vissarion Belinskii defined Eugene Onegin. However, apart from being a convenient ethnosocial compendium, literature for the generations after Pushkin served less as the Encyclopédie and more as a revered secular Summa of exemplary para- < previous page page_17 next page > < previous page page_18 next page > Page 18 digms of its place and epoch.

In Mandelstam's later reconstruction of his childhood, composed in the early 1920s, his family (more precisely, his parents, for about his siblings there was not a word) appeared as something fragile and insubstantial, a pair of interlopers pretending to belong to the St. Petersburg of the Russian Orthodox feast days and military parades. For what from the outside might have seemed a solid leather merchant's householdmusic lessons, French governesses, the dacha, instruction in the Talmud, private school for the boysturned out to be a slapdash affair tossed about on Russia's uncertain seas overwhelmed by the "noise of time" whistling and clapping in the rigging.

Middle class, moderately well-off, and settled in St. Petersburg, his parents succeeded in giving their three boys (Osip was the oldest) a good education. All three graduated from one of St. Petersburg's more "progressive" schools, where children of different social, ethnic, and religious backgrounds were more or less harmoniously mixed in pursuit of physical health, knowledge, and civic virtue. The liberal aristocratic parents of another famous Russian author and Tenishev graduate, Vladimir Nabokov, would not have settled for less.

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