Anna Akhmatova: The Word That Causes Death’s Defeat: Poems of Memory (2004)

26 May 2014, dusan

Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966), one of twentieth-century Ukraine and Russia’s greatest poets, was viewed as a dangerous element by post-Revolution authorities. One of the few unrepentant poets to survive the Bolshevik revolution and subsequent Stalinist purges, she set for herself the artistic task of preserving the memory of pre-Revolutionary cultural heritage and of those who had been silenced. This book presents Nancy K. Anderson’s translations of three of Akhmatova’s most important poems: Requiem, a commemoration of the victims of Stalin’s Terror; The Way of All the Earth, a work to which the poet returned repeatedly over the last quarter-century of her life and which combines Old Russian motifs with the modernist search for a lost past; and Poem Without a Hero, widely admired as the poet’s magnum opus.

Each poem is accompanied by extensive commentary. The complex and allusive Poem Without a Hero is also provided with an extensive critical commentary that draws on the poet’s manuscripts and private notebooks. Anderson offers relevant facts about the poet’s life and an overview of the political and cultural forces that shaped her work.

Translated, with an introductory biography, critical essays, and commentary, by Nancy K. Anderson
Publisher Yale University Press, 2004
ISBN 0300191375, 9780300191370
352 pages

Review (Marjorie Perloff, Bookforum, 2005)
Review (Olga Voronina, The Slavic and East European Journal, 2006)



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