Tagged: Russian Literature

Akhmatova: Requiem

Not under foreign skies Nor under foreign wings protected – I shared all this with my own people There, where misfortune had abandoned us. [1961] INSTEAD OF A PREFACE During the frightening years of the Yezhov terror, I spent seventeen months waiting in prison queues in Leningrad. One day, somehow, someone ‘picked me out’. On that occasion there was a woman standing behind me, her lips blue with cold, who, of course, had never in her life heard my name. Jolted out of the torpor characteristic of all of us, she said into my ear (everyone whispered there) – ‘Could...

Grand Inquisitor

From ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Part II, Book 5: Pro and Contra, Chapter 5: The Grand Inquisitor, translated by Constance Garnett. Full text: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/dostoevsky/brothers.html “Even this must have a preface- that is, a literary preface,” laughed Ivan, “and I am a poor hand at making one.  You see, my action takes place in the sixteenth century, and at that time, as you probably learnt at school, it was customary in poetry to bring down heavenly powers on earth.  Not to speak of Dante, in France, clerks, as well as the monks in the monasteries, used to give regular...

Anton Chekhov

Biography From the Encyclopedia Britannica: “Anton Chekhov, in full Anton Pavlovich Chekhov (born Jan. 29 [Jan. 17, Old Style], 1860, Taganrog, Russia—died July 14/15 [July 1/2], 1904, Badenweiler, Ger.), major Russian playwright and master of the modern short story. He was a literary artist of laconic precision who probed below the surface of life, laying bare the secret motives of his characters. Chekhov’s best plays and short stories lack complex plots and neat solutions. Concentrating on apparent trivialities, they create a special kind of atmosphere, sometimes termed haunting or lyrical. Chekhov described the Russian life of his time using a...

Marina Tsvetaeva

Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva (Russian: Мари́на Ива́новна Цвета́ева; 8 October [O.S. 26 September] 1892 – 31 August 1941) was a Russian and Soviet poet. Her work is considered among some of the greatest in twentieth century Russian literature. She lived through and wrote of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed it. In an attempt to save her daughter Irina from starvation, she placed her in a state orphanage in 1919, where she died of hunger. As an anti-Bolshevik supporter of Imperialism, Tsvetaeva was exiled in 1922, living with her family in increasing poverty in Paris, Berlin and...

Anna Akhmatova

Biography Her real name is Anna Andreevna Gorenko, a Russian poet credited with a large influence on Russian poetry. Akhmatova’s work ranges from short lyric poems to universalized, ingeniously structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935-40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her work addresses a variety of themes including time and memory, the fate of creative women, and the difficulties of living and writing in the shadow of Stalinism. She has been widely translated into many languages and is one of the best-known Russian poets of 20th century. In 1910, she married the poet, Nikolay Gumilyov, who very soon...

Fyodor Dostojewskij

Born to parents Mikhail and Maria, Fyodor was the second of seven children. Fyodor’s mother died of an illness in 1837. Fyodor and his brother Michael were sent to the Military Engineering Academy at St. Petersburg shortly after their mother’s death, though these plans had begun even before she became ill. It was not long before his father, a retired military surgeon who served as a doctor at the Mariinsky Hospital for the Poor in Moscow, also died in 1839. While not known for certain, it is believed that Mikhail Dostoevsky was murdered by his own serfs, who reportedly became...