Star, curled, shagged
From the nowhere grottoes
Trotting into a nowhere.
Sheep lost among sheep
Storming the herd
The goldgevliesten; like jealousy displeased –
Hairy star of the old!
Translated by Richard Pietrab
Marina Tsvetaeva – life and work
The works of the great Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941) were little known during her lifetime. Like Mikhail Bulgakov, Marina Tsvetaeva became popular only in the late 1950s, when people began to write about her and translate her books into other languages.
Readers in the GDR have known her name since the early sixties from publications in anthologies, two editions of poetry, and the prose volume My Pushkin. One of the few personal friends who lived to see her "rebirth" was Ilya Ehrenburg. In his memoirs People, years, life he recalls:
When I first met Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva, she was twenty-five. She was astonished by the coexistence of arrogance and insecurity. Her posture was defiantly proud – she put her head far back with her very high forehead. But the eyes betrayed uncertainty: large, helpless eyes, her gaze seemed absent – she was short-sighted. She wore her hair short. She was grande dame and village boy in one.
In a poem, Tsvetaeva remembers her grandmothers. One was a simple Russian, the wife of a village priest, the other a Polish aristocrat. In Marina, old-fashioned lifestyle was combined with rebelliousness, arrogance with timidity, unworldly romance with simplicity of heart.
Contradictory as her appearance and character is also her work. She began with an intimate, quiet lyricism, but soon her full-sounding poetic voice revealed itself, her great range, and it is not by chance that today she is compared to Mayakovsky. She took a stand against her contemporaries, against her century, she complained that she was born too late, she raved about Napoleon as a young girl – and yet today, half a century after her death, her poems are read by the young like modern poems. Although she initially rejected the October Revolution, in her poems she captured the breath and rhythm of the revolutionary epoch more impressively than many of her contemporaries. In this extreme contradictoriness not only their individual character was expressed, but also the screaming contrasts of their time.
In a poem from 1920 she wrote:
One he created out of clay – from the rib the other one.
A coffin borders, a grave her world…
But I am baptized in the baptismal font of the sea
And in flight unceasingly shattered!
And no heart catches and no cage
My defiant stubbornness a.
Never will – so see my wild curls,
I will be the salt of the earth.
Marina Tsvetaeva grew up in the family of the famous Russian art historian Professor Ivan Tsvetaeva. The son of a poor clergyman, he was one of those Russian intellectual rasnochins who championed democracy and were fanatically devoted to its cause. His life’s work was the creation of a museum of fine arts, now the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.
As a high school student, M. Tsvetaeva published her first volume of poems in 1910 Evening album out. The independence and perfection of her poems amazed the connoisseurs of poetry, the literary critics did not leave the volume unnoticed. Valeri Bryussov, a maître d’art of Russian poetry, wrote an extremely favorable review.
In the first two decades of the twentieth century, Russian poetry, in Ossip Mandelstam’s words, twice went through a "Sturm-und-Drang period" – Symbolism and Futurism. M. Tsvetaeva belonged to neither the one nor the other literary direction, she stood apart from the stormy disputes.
She spent her youth in the close circle of family and some friends. Intimate experiences, fantasies, fictitious, historical and literary figures characterize her early poetry.
Real life penetrated her spiritual world and her poetry only with the outbreak of the First World War, when her husband went to the front as a medic, when Russian women wept for the recruits, when chauvinistic moods challenged to dissent.
Not because she was a conscious internationalist, but because she remained true to herself, she wrote at a time when many of her contemporaries were seized by a chauvinistic frenzy:
Like – swear with common sense
On "eye for eye, throat for throat"?
Germany – my unreasonableness!
Germany – love of my soul!
In the years of war and revolution her poetry matured visibly, the traits characteristic of her poems – undisguised emotionality, stormy temperament, the ability to create a whole picture with just a few strokes, with one or two details – were formed. A strong sense of the homeland, of Russian nature found its way into their poetry, the key approached the folk song.
Nevertheless, M. Tsvetaeva not yet fully with the thinking and feeling of the people, with their time.
Later she confessed:
In order for a poet to create a folk song, he must take the people into himself. A folk song is not a renunciation of the "I", but its organic fusion, its harmony with the "I" of the people. (In modern times, this is not Yesenin, but Block.)
Alexander Block’s poem The Twelve, which she heard for the first time in the summer of 1919, was such a "consonance," such a "fusion.". "I remember," wrote M. Tsvetaeva’s daughter Ariadne Efron, "like Pavlik Antokolski The Twelve and gave it to Marina, a large-format book, white with black… how he began to recite from the threshold, sparkling with his coal-black eyes, how he pounded the beat with his fist, how he strode towards us, blindly avoiding the obstacles, until he finally bumped into the table where Marina was sitting and then stood up, how he read to the end, and how Marina silently, without lifting her eyes, took the book out of his hands. In moments of shock, she lowered her eyelids, clenched her teeth, closed off, outwardly congealing, what was seething inside her… The phenomenon of the Twelve not only shook her, it shamed her in something fundamental."
She felt Block’s poem like the execution of a commandment of the times, of the revolution, and such a thing had been accomplished by what she called Block’s "supernatural" poet, who had plunged into the jungle of life, into the center of events, towards his own downfall.
In the fall of 1920, M. Tsvetaeva wrote the great poem "The Tsar’s Maiden" based on an old Russian folk tale. It differs from her previous work by the use of a natural folk language, by its proximity to folklore. The swirling rhythm reflects the rhythm of the revolutionary years, the revolutionary finale deviates from the template of the fairy tale: the rebellious people overthrow the tsar and bloodsucker.
In the poem "On a Red Horse," written afterwards, we find the same catastrophic, exhilarating rhythm and the chasing into the snowstorm-ridden distance as in Block’s poem The Twelve.
A rebel by character, M. Tsvetaeva felt the revolution no differently than an elemental force. Nevertheless, during the years of the Civil War, she wrote poems about the White Army, to which her husband belonged; she romanticized the "Russian Vendee," although she sensed that the counterrevolution was doomed. Remaining true to herself, she once again threw down the gauntlet to her time, played the "frondeur"… Fortunately for her, she was not subjected to persecution. The authoritative people, on whom her fate depended in those years, looked after her, because they appreciated her as a poet. Just like other poets, she had the opportunity to perform at the numerous recitation evenings held during the revolutionary years. In 1921 and 1922, four volumes of her poems were published in Moscow. Like all the others she received her meager food ration, like all the others she suffered from hunger and cold.
In addition to the everyday hardships, the separation from her husband and the uncertainty whether he was still alive, there was a terrible suffering: in 1920 her youngest daughter died.
In May 1922, M. Tsvetaeva received permission to leave with her eight-year-old daughter to join her husband, who settled in Czechoslovakia after the crushing of the White Army and studied at Prague University. She traveled to Berlin, where she met her husband again, then they lived in Prague, and in 1925 the family moved to Paris. Heavy, joyless years were dawning. Soon she felt like a stranger among the emigrants, whose hatred of the new Russia, the Russian people, she did not share any more than her husband. In 1934 she wrote: "Since 1922 I have been abroad, but my reader has remained in Russia, where my poems from 1922 to 1933 did not reach. In the emigration they printed me at first (unseen), then, having come to their senses, they withdrew me from circulation, because in me they saw something foreign – something there! – felt. The content seemed to belong to them, but the voice was that of the others", d.h. Soviet.
From her poems disappears the romantic HeIdin – the green-eyed, golden-haired Marina, whose portrait did not quite correspond to reality, to the description of her appearance in the memories of those who knew her. In her opinion, poems should not reflect the outer image, but the "structure of the soul". "I don’t know," she wrote, "whether notes on the realities of life are necessary at all in poems: who – when – where – with whom – under what circumstances, etc. Poems have ground and stripped away the circumstances of life."
As the years go by, she emerges more and more clearly in her verse as a flesh-and-blood human being, as a prematurely graying, restlessly working woman who – especially in poetry – never takes the easy way out, who hates lies and hypocrisy more and more, strives ever more unruly for truth. Her unbalanced, passionate character, her extreme and often preconceived judgments have remained, and she still alternates fierce indignation with flaming enthusiasm. She herself best grasped and interpreted their essence:
Block has a magic word: the ‘secret glow,’" she wrote in 1937. "When I read it for the first time, a light came to me. The word is a key to my soul – and to all my poetry… and now, looking back on my life, I can say: everything in which there was this secret glow, I loved, and everything that did not have this secret glow, I could not love.
In poetry as in life, Tsvetaeva was a romantic. Not in the sense of belonging to a literary school, but in her sense of life, in her relationship to prose, to the ordinariness of life. Romantic was her conception of the poet’s personality. This did not mean that she surrounded the creative act with a mysterious aureole; for her, writing was real, hard work and not waiting for inspiration. As her daughter testifies, in such moments she was able to switch off from the outside world and concentrate on her work, for which she used every free hour.
Nevertheless, there were moments in her life that she felt like an enlightenment, where it seemed to her that she was one with a unified world whole, with the universe, and that her being on earth was only a part of this whole. She felt herself drawn up into the vertical of the sky, away from the earthly horizontal. Even as a seventeen-year-old, she dreamed of "… teasing the darkness with fires, rejoicing in plunging sparks, and – like the sparks – burning up in flight…"
Her whole life was marked by the juxtaposition of the vertical of her spiritual life and the horizontal of earthly existence, from whose fetters she sought to free herself.
Out of the body I want!
Whatever she wrote about, the opposition between being and existence, that is, the affirmation of being and the negation of mundane existence, was always present. This did not prevent her from making real encounters and passions the starting point of her poetry, but she transformed reality into a higher, artistic truth and real life into life as it should be.
From childhood M. Tsvetaeva the bittersweet feeling of unrequited love and separation. I "loved and loved through… all things of my life by separation, never by encounter, in being apart and not in being together…".
This love could be for a deceased person – for example, Nadja Ilowaiskaja in the House at the Old Pimen – or even to a fictional being like Tatjana Larina in My Pushkin. The secret ardor did not allow her to rest at any moment of her life, for that would have been tantamount to indifference, which she herself did not know and did not forgive anyone. The urge to defend others, to give help, was inherent in her; blindly and without thinking, she took sides with the sufferer, whoever he was, even if it was an enemy. But as soon as the enemy proved to be the victor, she became his irreconcilable opponent. She always turned away from the victors, stood in opposition to them, which not only once had disastrous consequences for her, from which she herself suffered the most.
In the emigration she was pursued by need and misery, her husband suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis, for months he was unemployed. Her poems were almost not printed. For a while the daughter, Ariadne, was the only breadwinner in the family, earning a few pennies by knitting. But despite all the circumstances, Tsvetaeva worked devotedly. She was in love with the work on the word, in the sometimes very long search for the only suitable epithet, for the only right rhythm.
M. Tsvetaeva has left a great legacy: Hundreds of poems, eight verse dramas, more than ten poems and about fifty prose works. In addition, there are a lot of letters, many of which are true examples of this genre, which is almost forgotten today. She worked on them in the same way as she worked on her prose: first she wrote the drafts in a notebook and then into the pure. In her workbooks, for example, almost all the drafts of letters to Boris Pasternak and Anna Akhmatova have been preserved. The letters contain information about events in her own life and in the lives of those around her, about encounters, but the most important thing in them is she herself, who opened up her innermost feelings to her correspondent.
For her, the exchange of letters became a source of strength and inspiration. "I know no literary influences, I know only human ones," she wrote. In fact, she was always inflamed anew when someone inspired her creatively. Throughout her life she was drawn to people with an immoderate trustfulness and a readiness to give herself unreservedly, but at the same time she was intemperate in her expectations. Once she had become enthusiastic about someone and then realized her mistake, she did not forgive the person for the ordinariness of his feelings and thoughts. In the words of her daughter, "she demanded absolute constancy from human relations at a level unattainable by others… The air of her feelings was ardent and thin, she did not understand that one could not breathe it, but at most take a draught of it!… She did not understand that such heights were tiring; people became mountain-sick from her…" This consuming spiritual fire produced poems and poems that outlived the addressees of her letters and events.
The letters replaced M. Tsvetaeva’s immediate encounters with friends, the contacts that were vital for her, the exchange of ideas, they helped her get over the agonizing loneliness. New relationships developed. Thus, the fleeting acquaintance with Boris Pasternak in Moscow became a great friendship before she left the country. Pasternak wrote in his autobiographical notes People and circumstances (1967) about this:
In the spring of 1922, when she was already abroad, I bought her little book in Moscow Werstpfahle. I was immediately overcome by the lyrical power of her form, a form that was experienced in the flesh, not weak-breasted, a form that was abruptly tightened and condensed, which, without losing its breath in individual lines, without breaks in the rhythm, encompassed entire stanzas in the development of their periods.
A certain closeness was hidden behind these peculiarities, perhaps a commonality of experienced influences or the same stimulators in the formation of character, a similar role of family and music, a common origin of approaches, goals and preferences.
I wrote a letter to Tsvetaeva in Prague, full of delight and astonishment that I had slept through her for so long and had not recognized her. She answered me. A correspondence developed between us that became particularly lively in the mid-twenties…
In one of his letters to Rainer Maria Rilke, Pasternak wrote of Marina Tsvetaeva. As a result, in 1926 a friendship developed between M. The correspondence between Tsvetaeva and her favorite poet Rilke was highly interesting and reflected the instantaneous outburst of friendly love. A personal encounter no longer occurred. Rilke’s death was for M. It was a painful blow for Tsvetaeva; it seemed to her that something that was infinitely dear to her had ceased to exist with him. "Rilke was my last piece of Germany, my beloved language, my beloved country… he was to me what Russia, the Volga world, was to him," she wrote to her Czech friend Teskova.
The love for Rilke and the pain of his death were reflected in the correspondence between M. Tsvetaeva and Boris Pasternak. For seventeen years they sent each other letters, manuscripts and books, the life of both was a continuous creative exchange. Her relationships were complicated, "supernatural", difficult to put into ordinary words. Both lived in the tense expectation of great feelings and revelations, in the desire to find themselves in the other. All this comes not only in the letters, but also in many poems M. Tsvetaeva expressed, which were dedicated to Pasternak.
The demands that M. The demands that Tsvetaeva made of a poet are also revealed in numerous letters to other fellow writers. In 1938 she wrote to the emigrant Don Aminado (A. Shpolyansky), who, in her opinion, possessed no small amount of talent, that he would never become a real poet because he "does not sufficiently love the higher values, does not sufficiently hate the lower ones." Without this span of love and hatred, M. Tsvetaeva, there can be no personality, and consequently no poet. In her letters to young poets she taught not poetic form, but morality: "… if one banishes from one’s spiritual household and vocabulary such words (and concepts) as conscience, atonement, poverty, hospital, prison, fraternity, love, toil… – what then remains of the world and of the heart??" she wrote to her young friend A. Steiger.
In the words of the Russian poet Karolina Pavlova, she described the poet’s work as a "sacred craft".
About it she wrote letters, poems, articles. Writing poems means "opening the veins", the poem "gushes" like blood from a wound. Such expressive metaphors stand next to very real images, next to verses about the work table, which is neither a symbol nor an allegory, nor does it stand in place of the concept of "sacred craft", but is a real friend and helper, made of wood, which can be felt with knees and elbows. The desk lives in Tsvetaeva’s poems, as do the trees she loves, as do the railroad tracks, the telegraph wires, the simple things that man needs. The objects come to life, the poet slipped, as it were, into their skin, penetrated into their innermost being. She was also able to put herself into the historical figures of past epochs, into literary heroes, into Joan of Arc, into Ophelia.
I wrote from the middle of the twenties M. Tsvetaeva increasingly rare poems. She became even more absorbed in herself, in the "very own realm of feelings", increasingly isolating herself from her surroundings. Just like her Russian writer colleagues in exile Bunin and Kuprin, she felt like an uninvited guest in a foreign house, who could be humiliated and insulted at any time. With wistfulness she thought back to how in Russia every half-educated listener understood her at once when she read her poems in front of large auditoriums. Here, in a foreign land, small halls replaced the stands; instead of the nameless Russian audience, a handful of arrogant emigrants listened to her, for whom the appearance of a poet was boring diversion. Here, for the sake of the comfortable readers, the emigrant magazines demanded simple, short things, but not complicated Zwetajewasche poems.
With her own exclusiveness, she saw in the demands of the emigre editors the only reason for her switching to prose. In 1935 she wrote to Vera Muromtseva, Bunin’s wife:
In the last years I wrote very few poems. Because they didn’t believe me, they forced me to write prose… And that’s how the prose I wrote came into being very love, I do not regret. Nevertheless, it is something forced: the condemnation to the prose word. Of course, lines of poetry also flew to me, but more like in a dream. Sometimes – mostly – they disappeared again like that. Poems do not write themselves. All my little free time – taking Mur to school, the household, heating, eternal economic misery – went to prose…
The reasons were also psychological: she became less and less at peace mentally, there was no time for feelings. In letters to those close to her, she confessed that she was constantly fighting hardship and worries, becoming increasingly "dry" in the process. Undoubtedly, there was also a creative impulse of which she was not aware at first: the desire to think through what she had experienced. The autobiographical prose was born from the inner need to rediscover childhood.
"… we all owe something to our childhood," she wrote in a 1934 essay, "for no one – except perhaps Goethe – has realized what he set out to do in childhood, and the only way of making amends is to evoke his childhood again. And what is even more important than guilt, childhood is an eternal source of lyrical inspiration, the poet’s return to his paradisiacal origins."
Out of the urge to protect a fellow poet from posthumous slander came the memoirs of Osip Mandelstam ("The Story of a Dedication"), of Andrei Bely ("The Captive Spirit") and of Mikhail Kuzmin ("An Evening Not of This World").
M. Tsvetaeva’s prose is the prose of a poet for whom passion, exaggeration, even elements of myth-making are characteristic. Notwithstanding that M. Since Tsvetaeva always kept the authentic names, her prose cannot be taken as a vouched source according to which reality can be reconstructed. Although she had an excellent memory when she needed it, she deliberately disregarded the true facts, broke chronology for the sake of maximum poetic persuasion. Thus, in "The Story of a Dedication" she extended Mandelstam’s stay in Aleksandrov in 1916 by several days. From her letters it is known that Mandelstam was not even a guest for twenty-four hours and that, moreover, at an earlier time – on the days she describes, he was staying in Koktebel. M. Tsvetaeva wanted to bring out more clearly the essence of the two main characters: herself in all her vitality and youthful vigor and, in contrast, him, the timid, out-of-life St. Petersburg guest. When in the story "The Mother and the Music" she portrays the mother as a woman coolly distant from the elder daughter, who hides the paper from the child so that she cannot write poems, she intends to create a literary figure and not to describe Maria Alexandrovna, who in reality was soft and faithful. On the other hand, she adhered strictly to the facts when she saw the need for them. "I adore the legend and hate the inaccuracy," she wrote. In many letters, she asked her pen pals to specify certain facts, dates, and names that she needed for her work.
In the prose as in the poems, for M. She was equally concerned with the euphony, rhythm and harmony of the whole. Thus she wrote to an editor who was staying at the House at the Old Pimen he demanded cuts:
The prose of a poet is different from that of a prose writer, in it not a sentence is a unit, but a word, and often even only a syllable… I cannot destroy the artistic and living unity, just as I cannot, for external considerations, add a single line to something that has been completed. Then it is better to leave it until another, happier occasion or to publish it posthumously… You do not take out a page, but a picture… My ‘Pimen’ could give material for a whole novel, but I deliver a lyric description of life: a POEM. The thing is already shortened by a higher force than that of the editor: by the force of inner necessity, of artistic feeling.
While in poetry the mature Tsvetaeva seeks a condensed, laconic form, in prose she loves to elaborate her thoughts, to explain them, to vary them, to render the word in its synonyms, and to make the reader understand a thought or an image for the rest of the time. Particularly noteworthy is the skillful use of direct speech in her prose. The individual expressions are so precise that the reader feels not only to hear but also to see the capricious little Assya, the nanny from Vladimir or Andrei Bely. Her manner of speech is an essential means of composition.
The prose M. Tsvetaeva’s is deeply subjective, emotional, the narrative flow is constantly interrupted by authorial speech, the narrator is always identical with the author, and she is always also one of the main characters. In this her narrative art is close to contemporary prose. Tsvetaeva’s own feeling for history also corresponds to our time: behind the individual case she sees the epochal. The grandfather Ilowaiski, a stiff-necked old man in beaver fur, is similar to the legendary Pimen in Pushkin’s Boris Godunov – the last annalist of the old Russia. His gloomy house in Pimen’s Lane, from which decay and death emanate, is a surviving monument to history, an anachronism doomed to extinction. Andrei Bely in "The Captive Ghost" is not only an original poet and man, whom she portrays with reverence and affection, he is also a typical Russian intellectual at the crossroads of two centuries, who embodied the infirmities of his time.
The essays on Alexander Pushkin were written in connection with the centenary of the poet’s death in 1937. M. Tsvetaeva felt Pushkin like a kindred spirit, like a fellow poet, and had a completely unbiased relationship with him. Her view of Pushkin polemicizes with the distorting image of Pushkin of the Russian emigrants, for whom the poet is an unquestionable authority, a singer of beauty, and at worst a snob, a frivolous bon vivant. Parallel to the Soviet Pushkin interpreters, like Mayakovsky, in his poem "Jubilee Verses" she creates the image of the true, living Pushkin. In the poems written in 1931 and partly published for Pushkin’s anniversary, she is outraged by the attempts to turn Pushkin into a stone monument:
Scourge of the gendarmes, deity of the students,
Husbands’ abomination, their wives’ desire.
How, Pushkin as the horror image of a monument,
The stone guest from the grave – he.
The snarlingly brazen with all the world,
He, this Pushkin – a commander?
And like a counterpart, in the essay "My Pushkin", which at first glance is only a story about a child called to be a poet, who is transported into the world of Pushkin’s poetry, lives a second, hero, the Pushkin monument. The black, immobile Pushkin, enclosed by wrought-iron chains, is quite like the monument into which the "Pushkinists" sought to transform the poet. But for the child the Puschkindenkmal becomes a close, living reference person. The child sees the poet’s passionate, freedom-loving heroes before him, he feels an inexplicable longing for the sea, Pushkin’s free power. In the person of Pushkin, the nature of his genius, saw M. Tsvetaeva the perfect triumph of the free and liberating forces.
In 1932 she wrote the essay "Epic and Poetry of Contemporary Russia – Vladimir Mayakovsky and Boris Pasternak". The astute analysis of Mayakovsky’s poetic work, his portrait, is a remarkable contribution to Mayakovsky research and has not lost its importance to this day. M. Tsvetaeva called Mayakovsky a poet of the future and the first poet of the popular masses in the world, the first Russian poet-tribune. When Mayakovsky was hostilely attacked at a literary event of the emigrants for allegedly flirting with the revolution, M replied. Tsvetaeva:
Mayakovsky not only flirted with revolution, but served time in prison for it as a sixteen-year-old high school student.
In one of her letters she stated:
To me the whole Mayakovsky is worth more than all the defenders of the old world… The emigration was right not to welcome me into its bosom. She sensed the enemy in me like a weak, dying animal.
At a Mayakovsky event in November 1928, she expressed her appreciation of the poet in her welcoming speech. After his departure from Paris, she wrote to him:
Dear Mayakovsky! Do you know what was the end of my welcoming you to Eurasia?? That I was thrown out of Poslednye Novosti, the only newspaper that printed me…
In the person of Mayakovsky she had welcomed not only the poet, but the new Russia. " There you have Milyukov – there you have me – there you have yourself. Assess for yourself the explosive power of your name, and report the episode in question to Pasternak and whomever else you deem necessary. You can also proclaim it publicly. Goodbye! I love you. Marina Tsvetaeva."
Mayakovsky included this letter in his exhibition "Twenty creative years," demonstrating that M. Tsvetaeva had become a kindred spirit in emigration.
Her experiences in emigration, the moral disintegration among the Russian emigrants, the poor living quarters in the suburbs of Prague and Paris due to the constant lack of money, put M. Tsvetaeva into a "holy rage" (A. Block). A letter from Czechoslovakia says: "I am writing in a working-class suburb of Prague, with the poor tavern music drifting in along with the smoke from the window. That is – the naked existence, even amusement here has nothing to do with life, but with death."
Images of the life of the poor now appeared in the poems ("The Poem of the Suburbs"), satires on the stuffy bourgeoisie emerged ("Ode to the Pedestrian"). With irony she now remembered her earlier poems, far removed from the life of the people:
I remember how an officer’s lad said to me, "I have read your little book, Miss. Constantly about avenues and about love. You should write about us, our life. That of Soldiers. Peasants!"
"Only I am not a soldier and not a peasant. I write what I know, and you write what you know. You live yourself, you also write yourself!"I said something stupid then – Nekrasov was not a peasant either, and they sing "Korobushka" to this day.
In the thirties she thought differently, she took an interested part in how these "soldiers and peasants" built the new Russia, more and more often she turned to the homeland in the poems:
The distance, hostile to all closeness,
The distance that tells me: return home.
Of all – up to the celestial star –
Away from all places!
In 1927 she wrote to B. Pasternak: "Boris, I am longing for the Russian countryside, for burrs, for forests without ivy, for me – there. If one could be born again…"
In the cycle of poems "Strophes to the Son" (1923) she called on the children of emigrants to return home:
You, son, go to your country
(To the opposite land of all countries!) –
The pain and suffering of foreign people and distant lands came closer to her. In 1937 she wrote: "Now that Spain has come closer to us and the pseudo-Spain has moved away from us, now that day after day we see the dead and the living faces of women and children…" Her poems about the Czech territories occupied by the fascists in 1938 are full of bitterness and anger. Afterwards she regrets that during her life in Prague she did not have the opportunity to learn more and to grow fond of it. "I think," she wrote on 24. November 1938 to A. Teskova, "Bohemia – that is my first such sorrow. Russia was too big and I too young. I also mourn the fact that I was too young for Bohemia at that time."
From the angry lines of her Czech poem cycle sounds hopeless despair. She still wants to believe: "You do not die, people!", but at the same time she is horrified by the bloody madness of fascism that has spread in Europe:
Lament of anger and love!
Salt that rests on eyes!
Oh, and Bohemia in tears!
Oh, and Spain in my blood!
O black mountain
Light darkened you!
Time is, time, to the creator
Adding the passport.
These lines echo Dostoevsky, the insane challenge of God by Ivan Karamazov.
M. Tsvetaeva returned home in June 1939, even before Hitler’s Germany occupied France. Her daughter and her husband had left Paris earlier, and she followed them with their fourteen-year-old son. But the return brought no relief. New sorrow fell upon her. Husband and daughter fell victim to slander and were exposed to unjustified reprisals. M. Nevertheless, Tsvetaeva found enough strength in herself to reestablish the few connections to literary circles, to make some new friends. She met Anna Akhmatova for the first time in Moscow. She became inflamed with new friends and consequently wrote poems again, but she was mainly occupied with re-poetry. She did not succeed in creating normal living conditions for herself and her son, and the war broke out. The fascist plague, of whose spread she wrote in horror in her Czech poems, had caught up with her…
Together with her son, she evacuated to Jelabuga, a small town on the banks of the Kama River in the Tatar SSR, two hundred kilometers from Kazan. In those years the city could be reached only in the summer months by ship. M. Tsvetaeva felt she had reached a dead end: she had no acquaintances in Yelabuga, it took eight hours by boat to reach Chistopol, the nearest town where a group of evacuated Moscow writers lived, and by the end of the shipping season she would be cut off from the whole world…
Overwhelmed by an even greater loneliness than she had ever experienced before, worn down by all the misfortunes, she put an end to her life on 31 December 1939. August 1941 an end. Of her last hour there are no witnesses. Her son Georgi was called up to the army in 1943 and was killed at the front in 1944.
In her younger years, M. Tsvetaeva prophetically wrote:
For my verses, sound of death and youth, –
And no one ever read them -,
Who seem lost in the dust of stores
(Where no one bought it, no one buys),
For my verses as for old wines
Still the time comes up.
Later, in the thirties, when she had reached the peak of her poetic mastery and had matured from bitter life experience, she had written a lot about her relationship to the present, about her sympathy for the past, the 19. In her early years, M. had been thinking and writing in the nineteenth century and had come to the conclusion that the poet is destined to express his time independently of his will, if he is a true poet. "My time can be repugnant to me," she wrote in 1932 in the article "The Poet and Time," "I myself can be repugnant to me – because I embody it, more than that, something foreign from a foreign century can be more desirable to me than my own… a mother can love a foreign child more than her own, which resembles the father, that is, the century, but I am attached to my child – the child of the century, I cannot give birth to another, however much I might want to. Fate. I can’t love my century more than the past one, but I can’t create another one than mine either: you don’t recreate something that exists, you only create for the future… I can stay behind ideally and artistically, I stay behind, I defend the past that is left there at the end of the world, but my poems will carry me to the front lines without my knowledge and will…"
M. Tsvetaeva indeed asserts her place "in the front lines," and she has not only outlived her time, but is ahead of it, speaking to us today, nearly half a century after her death, as if she were our contemporary. The swirling, urgent rhythms of her poems are the rhythms of an era of tremendous social upheaval and revolutionary change. From her verses we hear the excited dialogue with the invisible interlocutor, with us, with the following generations. M. Tsvetaeva’s poems resemble a taut pen, they are – just like her prose and her letters – full of concentrated feelings, which do not leave the reader indifferent. The secret of their stirring power is explained by M. Tsvetaeva herself in one of her last letters:
… the only thing that matters is that we love, that our heart beats, even if it shatters to pieces in the process! I have always shattered into pieces, and all my poems are just those silver shards of heart.
Edel Mirova-Florin and Anna Saakjanz, Preface
one of the greatest Russian poets, master and reformer of Russian verse, is currently experiencing a worldwide renaissance. She was born in 1892 as the daughter of an art historian. In 1910 she published her first book of poems. The ideal, the culture of the 19. The author, who was arrested at the beginning of the twentieth century, was drawn into the maelstrom of revolutionary events, emigrated and fell into isolation as a poet and a human being.
"… except in Russia, she felt herself a stranger everywhere," Ilya Ehrenburg wrote about her. "Her poetry lives entirely from the landscape of her homeland, from the ‘burning rowan’ of her youth to the bleeding elderberry of her later years. The main themes of her poetry are love, death, art."
In her Parisian emigration, the new forms and linguistic means of expression of her poetry meet with rejection; moreover, she reveals herself as a sympathizer of the new Russia. Her poems soon ceased to be printed. She begins to write autobiographical narratives of childhood and family history, essays and portraits of well-known contemporaries in which poetry and truth are closely interwoven. The result is a narrative work of extreme subjectivity, emotionality and at the same time historical dimension, of rare linguistic beauty and profundity.
The lack of human contact was helped by her intensive correspondence with friends and fellow poets such as Boris Pasternak, Rainer Maria Rilke and others. In her letters, just as in her poetry and prose, she expresses her innermost thoughts and draws on an unfathomable wealth of ideas and feelings. In 1939 Marina Tsvetaeva decides to return to the Soviet Union, in 1941 she passes away in Yelabuga.
The representative selection of her lyrical, narrative and epistorical work, provided with numerous photos, makes the life of a woman and artist, who was able to carry out the essential conflicts of the time within herself, meaningful.
Verlag Volk und Welt, blurb, 1989
Lamentations of anger and love
Who was Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva?? Two reviews of this first more comprehensive edition of her works that I read respectively. heard, began with this sentence. With the first volumes, Poetry Album 1974, My Pushkin, Pushkin and Pugachev, Two essays People and World Spectrum 1978, Intemperate in a world made to measure, Volk und Welt White Series 1980, and Poems, prose Reclam 1987, as earlier in anthologies we noticed them. Edel Mirowa-Florin wrote an epilogue in the 1980 volume of poems for understanding, Fritz Mierau has added to the Reclam-Volume life data and added a short text entitled "Read Marina Tsvetaeva", attempts to answer the question: Who was she?
Now Elke Erb comes to the fore in the recently published book The house at the Old Pimen with an extensive essay on "Marina Tsvetaeva’s Poetry Workshop," intense intellectual tracing of Marina Tsvetaeva’s mental (workshop) work, tracing poetry sometimes day by day, "making her way through the poetry work" – to the point of identification. This is a laborious and fruitful work, and it is possible only through years of translation and study of Marina Tsvetaeva’s life and work. After reading all this and after reading the three-volume edition of her works, I still know too little about the Russian poetess, who – and this, however, is clear – like an erupting volcano of feeling and intellect, assailed those who seemed worthy of her affection with offers of love and demands, and who actually left all of them, as well as us, the readers, the later, rich, troubled and perplexed. From the approximately 1.100 pages of Marina Tsvetaeva’s texts, one learns a lot about her, her life, her family, her friends, the great literary environment, her thinking, feeling, about this poet’s life, the fateful star of which was not the guiding star, but the pivot, the red star of October with all its consequences – upheaval of the epoch, into which this life was torn: In 1892, twenty-five years before the revolution, Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow; in 1941, twenty-four years later, she voluntarily retired from life in Yelabuga in the Tatar ASSR.
Important life data are listed in Fritz Mierau’s Reclam-edition, as can now be read in the preface, the most important ones are mentioned here: Childhood in Moscow as the daughter of Ivan Vladimirovich Tsvetaev from an old Russian lineage, professor of art history and founder of the Museum of Alexander III., of today Pushkin Museum, and his wife Marija Alexandrowna, from a German-Serbian-Polish connection, highly talented pianist and painter, who gave up her career for the sake of marriage and child rearing, teacher of the daughter, Marinas and the younger Anastassija, whose "memoirs" are the Kiepenheuer publishing house 1979 published, like two children from the first marriage of the much older man. 1906: Death of the mother with tuberculosis. The childhood – roots of life and poetry work Marina Tsvetaeva will later describe in her prose (edition of works in the 2. Volume). The educated bourgeois world is her source of experience and education. "Both her music," she wrote about her mother, "and my poems, all our common lyrical unchangeable suffering…"
The colors of childhood, the gold and the black (the black wing), the silver ("silver dove") and the white (white became black, black became white, etc.).) – she described all this, condensed it, re-poetted the child, "the child must be – conjured up. And the darker the incantations are, the deeper roots they take in the child." Luminous as music is her poetry. "Practicing the piano was a duty, writing was a desire and a zeal."
Then it should be mentioned: Koktebel, second place of youth. We should mention the poets, the friends, the admirers, Blok, Akhmatova above all.
But first, let’s continue with the stages of her life: Marriage in 1912 with Sergei Efron, father of three children, rarely very close, fighter in the White Army, not always a companion in destiny, but determining fate. Of the children, one daughter dies in 1920 in the orphanage, the eldest, Ariadne, will have to spend years in a camp after her death and later strives for the work of her mother.
1922: (Sergei Efron goes to Prague after the defeat of the White Army), emigration, moving for a short time to Berlin, then to Prague, in 1926 to France. 1938 Move to a Paris hotel, complete isolation among the emigrants and through the emigrant magazines. In 1939 she returns to the Soviet Union, and in 1940 she moves into a Moscow apartment under the poorest of conditions. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union, evacuation to the Tater ASSR.
These are all external stations. Of the friendships testify especially the letters, from whose multiplicity, indeed overabundance, the selection volume (volume 2) can bring only a small excerpt, letters u.a. to Bryussov, Akhmatova, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Rilke, and others.
Who was she? I look at the pictures. A sturdy figure, fine-limbed arms and hands, nothing showy, let alone extravagant, either in dress or habitus, a sensitive mouth, shrewd, alert, troubled eyes. The preface quotes Ilya Ehrenburg ("one of the few personal friends who lived to see her ‘rebirth’"):
What was amazing about her was the coexistence of arrogance and insecurity. Her attitude was defiantly proud… She was grande dame and village boy in one.
The wide awake of the youth pictures disappeared at the age of 49, the last picture shows an old woman. "I think the greatest revision and the greatest recognition await Tsvetaeva," wrote Boris Pasternak in 1957. In the early twenties, Osip Mandelstam had called her poetry "Mother of God’s knitting". Rainer Maria Rilke wrote her an elegy:
O the losses into space, Marina, the falling stars!..
So many great poets of that time met her, she met them, and she assaulted women and men with her passion, an irrepressible desire for possession and love. About Mayakovsky and Pasternak she wrote a large essay (reprinted in the volume Prose) "Epic and poetry of contemporary Russia" ("Mayakovsky disillusioned. Pasternak enchants"). Pushkin (and Goethe) are its sources, its origin is the "song spring Russia" – initially and finally. In emigration she writes about the Soviet Union "The power is there". Marina Tsvetaeva went to everyone and everything, but she never got there. Older, she goes back to her childhood and to her mother, in her poetry, in the children, to the nature of the homeland (the Paris streetcars are horrible to her). It has its sources also in the religious, lives with its icon in exile. ", With God!’ or ‘Geb’s Gott!With this every thing began for me, with this every poem of mine begins, even the most miserable one. It is not a prayer, if only because it is a demand. I have never asked for a rhyme ‘from above’ (that’s my thing!), I asked (demanded!) the strength for this torment," she writes to her daughter Ariadne in 1941. It is the fate of Russian poetry of those years, and the fate of this poetry is theirs. She is her time, taken into the history that takes away, must take away her ground.
Intemperate in a world made to measure. What she writes is not intemperate, it aims at the immeasurable, the vast, the infinite. "You don’t need answers – just keep kissing," she writes to Rilke, whom she never meets. And: "You are, what I will dream today, what me will dream tonight. I never expect you, I always recognize you."
After the occupation of Czechoslovakia she writes the "Poems to the Czechs":
Lament of anger and love!
Salt that rests on eyes!
Oh, and Bohemia in tears!
Oh, and Spain in the blood!..
I refuse to live
In the madhouse, among cattle.
I refuse, I cry
With the wolves never.
I refuse to hear,
Refuse I that I see.
To this world of madness.
Is there only one thing: I go.
(March to May 1939)
How richly the poetic stream flowed can only be guessed from what has been published so far, even the three-volume edition can only provide a narrow selection. Edel Mirova-Florin, together with Anna Saakjanz, the editor of the Moscow edition, has prepared it, and so it is to be taken as a representative selection. Some of the texts can be found again in the selection by Elke Erb. Her essay makes clear that at times the lyrical stream flowed ceaselessly, daily. The restriction was necessary, even if one wished for more, more… In the French exile this lyrical stream has almost seeped away. In its place came the prose, also for financial reasons, in this (since 1933) the rich cultural world of old Russia, of old Moscow, lived to the end, "The House at the Old Pimen", the house of the grandfather: "That was a house of tacit commandments and prohibitions. It was the dawn of the twentieth century, the near eve of the year five. One heard, for the time being still like a rushing brook, of student riots… Such" (like the grandfather Olympian) "is not to be judged. And they will be no more. They were."
The poems are mostly taken from the cycles of which she left so many, "Verses on Moscow", "Poem to Blok", "For Akhmatova", "Separation", "Snowdrifts", "Earthly Signs", "For Mayakovsky", "Poems to Pushkin", "The Table", "To the Fathers", "Poems to the Czech Land. It is much more. One reads, so much, obstinate (the innumerable dashes). "Home:
The distance, hostile to all nearness,
The distance that tells me: Return home.
From all – to the star of heaven
From all places distant me!..
My desk, I thank you, faithful!
You went with me through the fire,
Of existence, through sheaf by sheaf,
You protected me – like a scar
And earlier, very early, two years after marriage: the sonnet: "S. E.":
I defiantly wear his ring.
In the eternal – wife, not on paper!
The cut of the face is sharpened
Narrow as a rapier.
… With him I stand by the side of a knight –
To all of you who lived and laughed at death! –
Such – come hard times –
Write stanzas and go to the scaffold.
Perhaps this: "Elder" in the poetry of Sarah Kirsch:
The elder has poured over the whole garden!
The elder is green, green through the fences flowed!
Greener than the skin on the water barrels!
The summer has just begun so green!
Green promises heavenly blueness!
Green elder: greener are not my eyes!
(all lines with exclamation mark!)
"completely doused." When the Tsvetaeva wrote, she poured over with her being. Only in the edition of her works is the correspondence with Rilke (40 printed pages) from May to November 1926, Rilke died a short time later. She adored Rilke hotly. "You are not my dearest poet (‘dearest’ – step) You are a natural phenomenon…" Rilke’s sentences for her are, compared to her endeavors, only a whisper.
When Marina Tsvetaeva hanged herself, she was buried in a mass grave. Today her grave has a simple orthodox cross. Today we see their rebirth.
Sabine Neubert, New Times, 16.10.1989
Marina Tsvetaeva: Selected works in three volumes
Next to Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva is considered to be the most important Russian lyricist. Her work has similar rank as the works of Pasternak and Blok, Khlebnikov and Yesenin, Mayakovsky and Mandelstam, and Josef Brodsky, the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1987, has said about her:
A more passionate voice is to be found in the Russian poetry of the 20th century. Century not sounded.
And yet her work was as good as forgotten until the mid-fifties, when Ilya Ehrenburg dedicated an insightful essay to her. It is not without reason that Simon Karlinsky, the author of the first monograph on the poetess has written:
Exile, contempt, persecution and suicide have been the fate of Russian poets after the revolution, but Marina Tsvetaeva is perhaps the only one to have gone through all this.
Marina Tsvetaeva was born on 26. Born in Moscow on September 1892, as a child she got to know several European countries on her travels. In the post-revolutionary turmoil she was separated for years from her husband Sergei Efron, an officer of the White Army, the youngest of her daughters died of malnutrition. In the emigration (from 1922 in Berlin, Prague and Paris) she was better off in the beginning, works of hers were printed and found attention. But soon she was shunned by the emigrants for her unprejudiced and admiring talk about the communist poet Mayakovsky, and she fell into the greatest material hardship.
In 1939 she followed her husband, who had become an employee of the Soviet secret service, and went back to the USSR. But when she arrived, her husband had already been shot, her daughter Ariadna was exiled, and her son Georgy later fell as a soldier. Marina Tsvetaeva and many others were evacuated to the Tartar People’s Republic to escape the approaching German troops. Ten days after her arrival in the town of Elabuga, she made her way to the city on 31. August 1941 put an end to her life.
Marina Tsvetaeva has always had a particularly close relationship with German literature. The six-year-old wrote her first poems in German; she read Heine, Holderlin and Goethe, who were among her favorite poets, in the original, and she was friends with Rilke, with whom she corresponded and who dedicated poems to her. But it was not until 27 years after her death that a volume of her poetry was first published in German in 1968, a small selection in the series of the Quarthefte of the publishing house Klaus Wagenbach. In the meantime, several books by Tsvetaeva are available from German publishers, including prose in several volumes of the Suhrkamp Library.
Now, this summer, the Munich Hanser Publishing House together with the East Berlin publishing house People and world a three-volume selection of her works: Volume 1 contains a selection of poems by various authors, mainly from the GDR, Volume 2 contains ten prose texts, and Volume 3 contains selected letters.
When Maria Razumovsky’s biography of Tsvetaeva was published in 1981 – it has recently been published as a Suhrkamp-Antonin Brousek said in a review that those who depend on the German translations find it difficult to understand "why this apparently rather conventional, sometimes even embarrassingly exalted poet is always mentioned in the same row as Pasternak, Mandelstam, Khlebnikov, Akhmatova or Mayakovsky as a cornerstone of modern Russian poetry. And Brousek does not answer this question, which also imposes itself on the reader of the new edition, merely by pointing out the fundamental untranslatability of poetry. Rather, he refers to the difficult character of the original, to the very personal, boldly novel Russian of Tsvetaeva, which necessarily degrades all translations to weak, inaccurate images.
Even for her Russian contemporaries, this poetry, which does not belong to any of the usual styles, was difficult and often dark. The attempt to combine the most heterogeneous in the poem, both in subject matter and in form, was astonishingly new and unique. Similar to Else Lasker-Schuler, with whom she has occasionally been compared, she was torn by contradictions, she could not arrange herself in bourgeois life and mythicized realities and persons, which, however, could never do justice to her high aspirations.
She adored her husband in poems as the only one – but she was also passionately devoted to other men and women. She lived in and from tradition – and she admired revolution. She sought in poetry a freedom of metre (like Mayakovsky) and at the same time a classicism of form (like Pasternak). And at the end of the thirties she wrote a poem about the Tsar’s family, glorifying the Whites, the enemies of the Bolsheviks – and returned to Stalin’s Soviet Union.
"I do not fit into any form – not even into the simplest of my poems! I can’t live," she wrote in a letter, and elsewhere it says:
Every poet is an emigrant by nature.
And one of the most thought-provoking sentences of Marina Tsvetaeva reads:
In this most Christian of worlds, the poets – Jews.
Jurgen P. Wallmann, Neue Deutsche Hefte, issue 4/1989/90
Marina Tsvetaeva’s fundamental no
But I am baptized in the font of the sea
And in flight unceasingly shattered.
"When the rowan tree / Lost its leaves / Flamed red: / I was born." Am 8. October (26. September) 1892, the day of John the Evangelist, Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow. According to the wishes of her mother, pianist Maria Meyn, she should have been a boy – and later a pianist. The girl has finally become a poetess. (Whereby Tsvetaeva always called herself "poet", i.e. poet, not "poetessa", poetess.) Father Ivan Tsvetaev, an art historian and museum director, keeps himself in the background educationally. The marriage with the much younger Maria Meyn is his second. From his first marriage he brought two children. – About her parental heritage, Tsvetaeva said (in a questionnaire): "The most important influences: her mother (music, nature, poetry, Germany, passion for Judaism). One against all. Eroica). Less conscious, but no less strong: influence of the father (passionate love of work, no career ambition, simplicity, unworldliness). Father’s and mother’s influence combined: Spartanism."
Childhood takes place "on a high level", in an atmosphere saturated with art. Marina and her sister Anastassija, two years younger, learn German and French at an early age and are introduced to world literature. When the mother falls ill with tuberculosis and has to go abroad for a cure, the children spend several months in boarding houses in Switzerland and the Black Forest, travel to the Italian Riviera and the Black Sea. 1906 Maria Meyn dies, 37 years old. For the two daughters a new life begins. In the care of the gentle, absent-minded, somewhat unworldly father, they grow up in a permissive and unconstrained manner. Marina lives entirely in the books, developing a fanatical passion for Napoleon and his motto: "L’imagination gouverne le monde!" She furnishes her room in the Napoleonic style, travels alone to Paris at sixteen – in the footsteps of Napoleon and Sarah Bernhardt – and on her return translates Edmond Rostand’s L’Aiglon (about Napoleon II.). "I was heroic, d.h. inhuman," she notes in retrospect. At seventeen, she rejects the first marriage proposal, starts smoking and, as her sister Anastasija hints in her memoirs, harbors suicide plans: "Only 34 years later, already after Marina’s death, did I learn about these days. She said the revolver had jammed. It had been her intention to do it in the theater, during a performance of the Aiglon with Sarah Bernhardt. In 1943, after Marina’s death, I was sent her farewell letter addressed to me from 1909."While still a high school student, Tsvetaeva self-published her first volume of poetry at her own expense: Evening album. The literary Moscow is getting bright. The poet Maximilian Woloschin, enthusiastic about their talent, invites them to his artists’ colony in the Crimea. There, on a deserted beach of the Carneol Bay, she meets a young man. She makes a vow: if the latter guesses which is her favorite stone and finds one, she will marry him. Everything happens like in a fairy tale. In 1912, nineteen-year-old Marina Tsvetaeva marries eighteen-year-old Sergei Efron, against her father’s wishes. Nine months later daughter Ariadna is born. From now on Marina will have to wrest art, which means everything to her, from life, which usually goes crazy. The conflict between ideal and reality, between dream and everyday life is insoluble, for Tsvetaeva is maximalist and uncompromising. "She refused to compromise," wrote one of her later pen pals, Alexander Bachrach. "And everything she did was somehow challenging. Whom she challenged! First and foremost himself."
The truth is: Tsvetaeva challenged herself and fate, but fate did its part and did not spare her. In 1913 Ivan Tsvetaev dies, in the fall of 1914 Tsvetaeva enters into a passionate relationship with the poet Sofia Parnok. (Efron volunteers for the front as a medic in 1915 to escape a marital crisis.) In 1917, the year of the revolution, Marina’s second daughter, Irina, was born. The events overtake each other. Sergey is drafted, fights as a White Army officer against the Bolsheviks and disappears in the turmoil of civil war. Tsvetaeva leads a poor bohemian existence in Moscow, of which her diaries bear eloquent witness. The younger daughter starves to death in a children’s home, the older one becomes a precocious partner and fellow sufferer due to circumstances. Spartanism is the order of the day, but Marina finds a counter-world in theater circles and in literature that gives her support. Pavel Antokolsky, a friend from those days, describes Marina’s androgynous appearance thus:
Marina Tsvetaeva is a stately, broad-shouldered woman with gray-green, wide-set eyes. Her short-cropped light brown hair falls into a high forehead. The dark blue dress, neither fashionable nor old-fashioned, but of the simplest cut, like that of a priest’s shirt, is tightened with a wide yellow strap. Over her shoulder hangs a yellow leather container in the manner of a map or hunting bag, and in this unfeminine accessory are about two hundred papirossy and a schoolbook of poems. Wherever this woman appears, she resembles pilgrims or wanderers. She walks across the Arbat and through the surrounding alleys with big manly steps, and her right shoulder rows against the wind, rain, and snow flurries. A convent schoolgirl or a just mobilized Sister of Mercy. Her whole being burns from the flame of poetry, which reveals itself in the first hour of acquaintance.
Marina heats her stove with furniture, works her way through the daily war routine, but at heart she lives for art. She is an idealist, her "romantic streak" (as she calls it) prevents her from "seeing things as they are." Also prevents her from seeing people as they are. Their claim to friendship – to love is absolute: total devotion. "Better to lose a man with my whole self than to hold him back with one hundredth of myself."And she subtly specifies what her claim to absoluteness really aims at: "I am not a heroin of love, I never lose myself to the beloved, always – to love."Thus, Zwetajewa’s tremendous energy, her unrestrained passion, is directed at art and love. She copes with the burden of everyday life along the way. In 1919 she was only employed for a few weeks by a Moscow authority ("Information Department of the Commissariat for Nationality Affairs"), then she decided she would rather starve than write on card index cards. She does not allow herself to be taken in politically either. "With rebellious pathos, with a boldness worthy of all great heretics, dreamers and rebels" (according to Ilya Ehrenburg), she insists on not belonging to any political party. She acknowledges the Reds’ victory with a poem (The camp of the swans), which sings of the White Army. "Against the current", is Tsvetaeva’s motto. And, "One against all."
In July 1921, Pasternak brings her a letter from Ehrenburg, saying that Sergei Efron is alive and has escaped to Prague via Constantinople after the defeat of the White Army. Tsvetaeva, who promised her husband as early as 1917 that she would "follow him like a dog" if God let him live, applied for emigration for herself and her daughter. On 15. May 1922 she arrives in Berlin, on the 31st. July she moves on to Prague. In various Prague suburbs now begins that changeful, increasingly painful period of emigration, which was to last until 1939, until Zwetajewa’s return to the Soviet Union.
Tsvetaeva writes – poems, verses, plays – but she feels isolated in her new surroundings. Her letters tell of this, which become a kind of way of life for her: a paradoxical combination of hated everyday life and idealized dream, of bad reality and myth. "My favorite form of intercourse is an unearthly one: the dream: dreaming," confesses Tsvetaeva in a letter to Boris Pasternak dated 19. November 1922, "and the second favorite – the correspondence. The letter as a form of unearthly intercourse is less perfect than the dream, but the laws are the same." In the letter that abstracts the person, dematerializes it, in the letter that celebrates absence and is an expression of genuine longing ("my strongest feeling"), Tsvetaeva finds her ideal field of activity. Here she moves in the dialectical sphere of surrender and refusal, of passion and protest, here she, whose basic impulse was the transformation of life into literature, includes the partner as a matter of course in her myth making. The other, the "absent one in the land of the soul," takes shape through her imagination, sees himself as a creature of an equally lonely and obsessed imagination.
Tsvetaeva’s correspondences are mostly epistolary novels: epistolary love stories, but one-sided. For the addressees, who include Alexander Bachrach and Boris Pasternak, Rainer Maria Rilke and Anatolij Steiger, feel not only overwhelmed, but overtaxed and misunderstood. Tsvetaeva projects instead of communicating. And the result is every time bitter disappointment. The despair felt by Tsvetaeva after the withdrawal of her young pen pal, the literary critic Alexander Bachrach, is reflected in the poem "The Letter":
Waiting for the mail?
So one waits – the letter.
Piece of ragged cloth
The border smeared
With glue. Inside – a greeting –
And happiness. And – out.
Thus one waits for happiness?
So one awaits the end:
The salvo flashes
The chest – blinded
From the lead. The eyes – a blood stasis.
Only that. And – out.
No luck – am old!
The blossom – in the wind!
Of the court square.
And the muzzle black.
(Of the letter square:
Full of ink and mischief!)
To foresee death
No one is too old!
The square of the letter.
Behind the loneliness, behind the despair stands death. He who is as unconditional as Tsvetaeva forbids himself illusions, forbids himself self-pity. "I have basically – NOTHING. Everything falls off like a skin, and under the skin is only twitching flesh or fire: I: Psyche. I do not fit into any form, not even into the most spacious of my poems! I am not able to live… I can live only in dreams."
Tsvetaeva knows that she has no luck with earthly love. However, this does not prevent her from falling violently in love with Konstantin Rodsevich, a former officer in the White Army and a fellow student of her husband’s, in Prague – the epistolary affair with Bachrach is still barely over. It must have been above all a physical passion. But what she triggered in Tsvetaeva was – read her Poem from the mountain And Poem of the end – overwhelming. Overwhelming the shock of loss, the "pain older than love":
End of life – it is betrayal
At the sacrifice, at the lamb!
Right of abode! Who has it: Renegade!
I-I stomp it into the mud.
In a note from 1923 (published for the first time in 1997), the pain is resigned in plain language: "So the other life: in creating, I- I stomp it into the ground. A cold, fruitless, impersonal, alienated from the world – the life of 80-year-old Goethe. The hand and the hilt. And so to death. (When!) (…) friends! The few are bland, not like me, not for me. (…) The idea of my life was: to be loved by Casanova at the age of 17, to be abandoned by him and to raise his son. And to love – all… In the next life I might make it: somewhere in Germany. But where to go now, with the rest of this life (I fear, even with half) – I don’t know. I’ve had enough."
Tsvetaeva is 31 years old. The affair with Rodsevich has also shaken the family. But Efron shows himself conciliatory. A little later Tsvetaeva became pregnant, in February 1925 the longed-for son Georgy (Mur) was born, in the fall the whole family moved to Paris. Life in the Parisian suburbs of Vanves, Meudon, Clamart is extremely poor. Tsvetaeva tries to get readings, offers her texts to various magazines, corresponds – among others – with Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke, whose unexpected death inspires her to write great texts. In 1928 her last book of poems is published during her lifetime, under the title "To Russia. Because of a positive remark about Vladimir Mayakovsky, she is branded a communist; a part of the Russian emigration wants nothing more to do with her. In 1931 she sees her situation as follows: "Here I am superfluous. There I am impossible." The incomes become more and more sparse. Not only is Tsvetaeva accused of her (and her husband’s) political views, but her poetry is found too difficult. Out of necessity, Tsvetaeva begins to write autobiographical prose: Memories of childhood, friends and elective relatives, essays on literature and art. It is an elegiac inventory respectively. Location.
"Every poet is an emigrant by nature, even in Russia," says the essay "The Poet and Time". "An emigrant of the kingdom of heaven and the earthly paradise of nature. The poet (…) bears the special sign of insecurity, by which one recognizes the poet even in his own house. An emigrant from immortality into time…" As she said ten years earlier, "In this most Christian of all worlds, the poets are – Jews," and concluded her poem "The Poet" with this almost desperate outcry:
Tell me, what is left for me, step-bellow and blind?
In a world that shines on eyes and fathers,
Where over curses, like roads, pass away
The horror! He who cries has a cold!
Tell already what remains by rib and fate!
Me singer! Streams! Siberia! Fire!
Bridges are my faces! Weightless,
Where pieces lurk in every hand.
Tell me, what is left for me singer and first
In a world that has forgotten the gray and the black!
Where ideas die in thermoses!
Intemperance in a world made to measure!
Thus wrote Tsvetaeva in 1923. In the poem "Heimweh, jedesmal" (Homesickness, Every Time) from 1934, the despair sounds quieter, less rebellious:
Homesickness, every time
I don’t care at all
Where I am alone.
Alone on which stone
Stand with the shopping net.
I do not know what is my,
Like in barracks or hospital.
No matter before which face
My fur must bristle.
People jostle closely,
I am pushed out, alone.
To be for me. A Kamchatka bear
Without the ice. Can not be there,
Can’t (won’t anymore),
Where you have to bow, like me.
Been more than everything, have been,
All my data, my signs,
As if erased from the hand, no longer to be read,
Soul, born, somewhere.
My country no longer protects me either.
So go the most vigilant spies
crisscrossing my soul
No longer find the place, the birthmark.
The house is strangers, the temple emptiness
And everything whole and everything the same.
Perhaps from a rowan
A branch stretches towards on the way.
Without larmoyance Tsvetaeva draws the conclusion of her situation. And this is desolate. In a letter to Yuri Ivask (3. April 1934) it says: "I am a lonely spirit. Who has nothing to breathe. (…) I have no place in the present or in the future. To me, With all that I am, no Foot wide Earth’s surface, my LITTLE – ME – in the whole huge world – not a foot’s width. (Now I am standing on the last, unconquered clod, and only because I am standing on it standI stand firm, like a statue by its own weight, like a pillar saint on the pillar.)"
The knot tightens when Efron is appointed head of the (Soviet intelligence-funded) Association of returnees to the USSR and Ariadna returns to the homeland. Now even the friends distance themselves and the isolation grows. In a letter to her czech friend Anna Teskova from 15. February 1936 the otherwise decisive Tsvetaeva inquires about a fortune teller. "For without a fortune-teller I think I can’t manage. Everything is reduced to one: to go or not to go (If to go – then forever).)" But the decision is taken from her in an unexpected way: when Efron is implicated in the murder of a former NKVD officer, Ignaz Reiss, and has to leave France in flight. (He sets off for the Soviet Union via Republican Spain.) Now there is no choice, fate has spoken Tsvetaeva is trying to get a Soviet visa, the matter is protracted. To Ariadna Berg she writes on the 26th. November 1938: "Since the rains have started and the departure is constantly delayed – as if all Ships sailed! all Trains have left! -I would like from morning till night only of one: sleep, not its."Instead of sleeping she suffers from insomnia, makes copies of her works, sends them to various confidants in Switzerland and Belgium. She doesn’t trust the Soviets. But also the political development in Hitler’s Germany fills her with horror. Hitler’s demands on the Czech government, sanctioned by the Munich Agreement of September 1938, and especially the annexation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, turn her into a combatant protest poet. She writes – "condemned to bravery, independence, fearlessness" – a whole cycle of "Poems to the Czechs", in which she sharply condemns her formerly beloved Germany and shows solidarity with Czechoslovakia, which had offered her refuge. For Tsvetaeva, the urgency of her partisanship is as much a part of world history as of her personal life story: she makes the historical drama her own. This shows the painful upsurge especially in the final poem:
Lament of anger and love!
Salt that rests on eyes!
Oh, and Bohemia in tears!
Oh, and Spain in blood!
O black mountain
Light has darkened!
Time has come, time to give the Creator
Throw the passport.
I refuse to live
In the madhouse, among cattle.
I refuse, I cry
With the wolves never.
I refuse to swim
As a shark of the land, downstream
The stream of bent backs –
I refuse, refuse.
I refuse to hear that,
I refuse that I see.
On this world of madness
There is only one, I go.
Tsvetaeva speaks in the first person, throws herself into the balance – subjectively to the point of white heat. The poem is accusation and rebellion, reckoning and confession. Addressed not only to the bloodthirsty tyrants, but also to their fawning helpers, to the noisy horde of political propagandists. With her No, Tsvetaeva no longer insists on the ultra-romantic immoderation of her young poetry years; with this No, she asserts a tragically defiant loneliness as a thinking, feeling human being tout court. In a clear allusion to Dostoevsky’s rebellious hero Ivan Karamazov, who – quoting Schiller’s poem "Resignation" – "humbly returns the ticket to God", Tsvetaeva demands to "throw the passport to the Creator". It is her highly personal, highly emotional response to the madness of the times and to her own hopeless situation. It is foreshadowing of their near end. For the verses often know more than the one who writes them.
A few months later, on 18. June 1939, Tsvetaeva returns to the Soviet Union with her son. A disaster. The family is united only a short time, then the daughter is arrested, then Efron. There is no living space, no livelihood, nothing. In her hometown, the Muscovite definitely feels like a "Kamchatka bear without ice," an outcast. And she lacks the strength to write. "I am more of a stranger here than there," she confesses to an acquaintance in Moscow. "They took away my husband, they took away my daughter, they all go out of my way. I understand nothing of what is going on here, and no one understands me. When I was still there, I had a home at least in dreams. Now I have come here, and they have taken away my dream."The testimonies of the last few years are shockingly clear. Zwetajewa is brave and energetic in her dealings with her imprisoned daughter; she provides her with food, clothing and disinfectants. But to Vera Merkuryeva she writes on 31 December. August 1940, exactly one year before her suicide:
With the change of places, I gradually lose the sense of reality. I become less and less, like that flock that left a tuft of wool at every fence… Remains only my fundamental No. – Something else. I am by nature very cheerful. (Maybe it is something else, but there is no other word for it.) I needed very little to be happy. My Table. The health of my family. Any weather. Complete freedom. – Nothing further. – And that I now have to struggle for this unhappy happiness is not only cruel, but also stupid. Life should rejoice over a happy man, should his rare Support gift. Because from the happy comes happiness. From me it went out. In abundance. I have played with other people’s burdens (imposed on me) like an athlete with weights. From me freedom went out. Man knew in his heart that if he threw himself out of the window, he would fall up. People came to life through me, like amber. They began to shine themselves. It is not my role to be a rock under the waterfall: a rock that together with the waterfall falls on man (his conscience) falls… The attempts of my friends move and upset me. I have a guilty conscience that I’m still alive.
The few surviving poems of the Moscow period (the Tsvetaeva estate will be officially opened in 2000) also hint at the end:
Are gone: I cut
Bread is no longer for me.
Everything is chalk,
What I touch.
… Wasst, fragrant hot,
My bread. Was my snow.
And the snow is not white,
And the bread hurts.
And this farewell verse from February 1941 :
Time to part with the amber,
Time to rename things
Do not let the lantern burn
Above the door..
In June 1941, as the German attack on the Soviet Union begins, Tsvetaeva and her son are evacuated to the small Tatar town of Yelabuga. Friends like Pasternak and Lidia Chukovskaya come to Chistopol. Tsvetaeva is the only poet with the destination Yelabuga. She is desperate, without work. Applies for a job as a translator ("because I have no other profession than literature"), finally applies for a job as a dishwasher. The friends in Chistopol try to help. Tsvetaeva, as Chukovskaya reports in her diary, came to Chistopol, but she was absent and unresponsive. According to recent reports, Tsvetaeva, who had lived abroad for a long time and spoke perfect French and German, was asked by the NKVD (Stalin’s secret service) to collaborate with them. Perhaps they tried to blackmail her, because her husband and daughter were imprisoned. (Efron was born on 16. October 1941 shot in prison, daughter survived eight years of labor camp and subsequent exile, and after her release took care of the publication of Marina’s works.) However, Tsvetaeva could never have agreed to collaborate with the secret service. She was of the greatest moral integrity and of absolute lucidity. As a way out of the dead end she saw on that 31. August 1941 only suicide. To her son she wrote: "Murlyga! Forgive me, but to go on would be worse. I am seriously ill, that is no longer me. I love you madly. Understand that I can no longer live. Tell Papa and Alya, when you see them, that I loved them to the last minute, and explain to them that I I have come to a dead end."
Two more letters she wrote to the owners of the house and to the poet Nikolay Asseyev. Both concerned the fate of her son, whom she cared about more than anything else. But Mur may have contributed to Tsvetaeva’s final "panic. Spoiled, blindly loved, Marina’s only "security and securite" (as the 1939 notebooks put it), he began rebelling as a teenager in Moscow against his mother, who is said to have put up with his rudeness in silence. The discords piled up. Mur is also said to have initially refused to go with her to the evacuation, while Zwetajewa was opposite N.G. Yakovleva said: "If I learned that he had been killed in the hail of bombs, I would immediately throw myself out of the window."
At this 31. By August 1941, however, even motherly love can no longer do anything against the urge to finally escape the hopeless situation. Or if we are to believe the words of Tsvetaeva’s sister Anastasia: it was precisely motherly love that led to self-sacrifice. It is Sunday. Mur and the other inhabitants accepted the invitation to clean the airport landing field for a loaf of bread. Tsvetaeva is alone in the house. She hangs herself from the hook of the floorboard with a rope that Pasternak had given her to tie up her suitcase, 49 years old. "No one sees – knows that for a year (approximately) I have been looking with my eyes – for the hook… A year already I measure death," she wrote in her notebook in the fall of 1940. The countdown began in the Moscow suburb of Bolshevo, when first Ariadna, then Sergei Efron were arrested. Finished it in Yelabuga.
"Death is terrible only for the body. The soul does not think it. That is why in suicide the body is the only hero."And: "Heroism of the soul is to live, heroism of the body is to die."
On 2. Marina Tsvetaeva is buried in September. The grave is lost .
The question arises whether Tsvetaeva was driven to her death by the circumstances of her life, which came to a tragedy, or whether she, as a proud, immoderately radical person oriented to high ideals, would sooner or later have broken in on herself. In my opinion, there was a certain disposition, but I do not believe that it would have had any consequences without massive external influences. The forced return to the Soviet Union gave Tsvetaeva the rest, broke her back: the imprisonment of her husband and daughter, the fear of her own persecution, the poverty, the homelessness, the complete isolation, the war and – most importantly – the drying up of her creative powers. With the help of literature she could have done it. For in literature she could express and live out everything: her contradictions, her longings, her passion, her strength, her (conscious) marginalization and her radicalism – let us not forget: Tsvetaeva is still considered the most artistically radical Russian poet of the century. Literature was for her a medium of self-assertion, a support, a religion. Without literature, she was completely at the mercy of the outside world, which she perceived more and more as hostile. Without literature there was no ideal, her will to be extinguished. It was not by chance that she had noted in her notebook in 1940: "Have stopped writing – have stopped his."
Personally, I see in Tsvetaeva’s suicide not an act of weak resignation, but of lucid strength. An act of tragic vitality directed against one’s own life – out of inevitability. Tsvetaeva was by nature disciplined, dutiful, spartan, militant; she did not shy away from resistance and obstacles, as long as she could take them on. Only when she no longer saw any chance of gaining the upper hand did she decide on the departure that seemed the most dignified in view of the situation. For she did not want to be a crybaby, a wailing woman, a bundle of nerves in the clutches of the secret service. She could not expect her son to do that either. She was used to give, not to take, to carry burdens, not to impose burdens. She loved to challenge life rebelliously.
Behind such rebelliousness, of course, there was – if one examines the inner biography and the work – a multitude of contradictions and transgressions, "a floating between the surface and the depths, between life and art, life and death, between genders and genres"."The poetic image of women sketched out by Tsvetaeva includes Lilith as well as Eve, the Amazon as well as Ophelia, Phaedra as well as Ariadne, the Tsar’s maiden as well as the lovely child-woman Sonetschka. Tsvetaeva could identify with all her – mostly tragic – heroines. Her self-image can also be reduced to that of a tragically lonely, yet rebellious heroin: Poet and mother in one.
Death is mentioned so often in her work that it represents an actual "inner myth". Suicide, on the other hand, appears taboo, rarely figures as a motif. For instance in the fifth part of the Poems from the end: "Poison, rails, lead – to choose from!" Or in the poem "The Train of Life": "The Platform. – The thresholds. – And the last shrub / In the hand. – I let go. – Too late / To cling. – The thresholds." Elsewhere, suicide becomes an allegory for consuming artistic creation:
The veins open – unstoppable,
Incurably it bubbles, life.
Plates put, bowls only under, laughable!
Every plate becomes – a flat one.
Your bowls are plates.
aaaaaaaaaaaaa overkill, off the mark,
Nourishing the rushes, coloring the black earth.
Incurably it bubbles, verse.
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa 6. January 1934
This poem refers to a striking passage in Tsvetaeva’s autobiographical prose text "Mother and Music" (1935): "Mother nourished us from the hidden vein of lyricism, just as we later relentlessly exposed our vein and nourished our children with the blood of our longing. (…) After such a mother, there was only one thing left for me – to become a poet."Motherhood and artistry are characterized equally by the pleasure of production and by the danger of excess, of self-sacrifice. Tsvetaeva’s inner and outer biography prove how the aspect of self-sacrifice eventually became a downfall.
But back to the poetic myth. While in Tsvetaeva’s work the lyrical I hardly ever speaks of suicide, it plays an eminent and explicit role in her tragic heroines: first and foremost in Ophelia and Phaedra. What is fascinating here is how Tsvetaeva – in her poem "Ophelia – in defense of the Queen" – makes the "mad maiden" an ally of Hamlet’s mother and a stepdaughter of Phaedra’s. "In this way female suicide is reinterpreted," writes Svetlana-Boym. "It is not simply a tragedy of love, but a tragedy of maternity."
Especially revealing is Tsvetaeva’s treatment of the Phaedra-subject: on the one hand in poems (diptych "Phaedra"), on the other hand in her drama "Phaedra" (1928). Here, Tsvetaeva not only depicts the tragedy of motherly love, but at the same time the conflict between different female forces: Phaedra appears as a kind of goddess of love, the Amazon Hyppolita as a hybrid embodiment of fighter and mother. Fatefully, Phaedra, second wife of Theseus, falls in love with her stepson Hyppolit (son of the Amazon Hyppolita), who spurns her love, whereupon Phaedra hangs herself. In ancient times, death by hanging was considered an exclusively female form of suicide. Tsvetaeva refers to the kind of death mentioned by Euripides, not to the poisonous death we find later in Racine. Their own suicide follows Phaedra’s example.
In her poetry, Tsvetaeva often anticipated reality, visioned it. Thus, in the early verses "Freu dich, Seele" (1916), she imagines a grave "between four paths," the way suicides are buried:
Rejoice, soul, eat and drink!
And comes the day –
Thus makes me between
Four ways a grave..
On the open field
Between wolf and raven –
The work pile
Be my cross!
So that at night
The cursed place not shy’.
Towering high above me
Anticipatory, however, are also these triumphant lines of verse, written in December 1920, when Tsvetaeva still had unbroken her provocative daring, her poetic self-confidence:
… I know, sky-red is my death. – No hawk night
On my swan soul God will send me.
Gently I reject the cross unkissed,
To plunge into the sky, once again to greet the donor.
His red crack – of a response smile cut…
– Poet I still remain in the last rattle before the end!
Ilma Rakusa, in: Ursula Keller: "Now I break into pieces…", Publishing house Vorwerk 8, 2000