Boundary Issues in Three Twentieth-Century Russian Poets (Mandelstam, Aronzon, Shvarts)
Redko, Philip Leon
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CitationRedko, Philip Leon. 2019. Boundary Issues in Three Twentieth-Century Russian Poets (Mandelstam, Aronzon, Shvarts). Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation examines works by three twentieth-century Russian poets in which the construction, dismantling, crossing, and blurring of boundaries plays an important role. Boundaries are understood in a variety of ways––as personal, political, and formal constructs––and all three poets engage with boundaries in situations where their poetry indirectly comments on itself as poetry. Their engagement with boundaries calls attention to issues of poetic creation and reception, and dramatizes processes and relations that would otherwise remain wholly implicit, such as the writing process, the circulation of texts, ideas, and images, and the formation and deformation of traditions. Close readings of individual poems focus on poetic and cultural exchange, encounters with various forms of alterity, negotiations between abstract and material aspects of poetic language, and the relationship between poetic tradition and historical reality. Chapter One traces Osip Mandelstam’s conceptions of the poetic image across three groups of poems written in late 1933 and early 1934; Mandelstam valorizes images that are dynamic, fleeting, and oblique, and shows how these kinds of images resist deformation when a poet’s work becomes part of the cultural landscape. Chapter Two looks at framing devices and interartistic discourse in the poetry of Leonid Aronzon, and shows how Aronzon draws on both classic and marginalized strands of the Russian poetic tradition to create a homespun personal canon meant for a small audience of friends. Chapter Three compares two works by Elena Shvarts, in which the protagonists engage in forms of creativity outside of or adjacent to artistic production; these extraliterary creative practices are marked by intensive engagement with notions of selfhood, authority, and responsibility, and touch on the question of the poet’s exceptionalism, as well as the relationship between creative genius and power. All three poets wrote from the margins of the Soviet literary establishment; by playing with boundaries, their work questions and resists dominant cultural paradigms, and explores strategies for wresting something from power, evading it, or even assuming its mantle.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41121299
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