Selected Poems

£11.99

Translated from the Russian by James Greene; forewords by Nadezhda Mandelshtam and Donald Davie; introduction by Donald Rayfield

Perhaps the greatest of the whole brilliant galaxy of Russian twentieth-century poets, Osip Mandelshtam died in a Siberian transit camp in 1938 at the age of forty-seven. The survival of many of his poems in desperate hiding-places and in the memories of those closest to him has been described by his widow Nadezhda in her memoirs Hope Against Hope. Dense and sonorous, his poetry magnificently merges the European past at its best with Russian experience at its worst.

Buy from Penguin Books

Category:

Description

Perhaps the greatest of the whole brilliant galaxy of Russian twentieth-century poets, Osip Mandelshtam died in a Siberian transit camp in 1938 at the age of forty-seven. The survival of many of his poems in desperate hiding-places and in the memories of those closest to him has been described by his widow Nadezhda in her memoirs Hope Against Hope. Dense and sonorous, his poetry magnificently merges the European past at its best with Russian experience at its worst.

James Greene’s substantial selection contains over a hundred poems from all periods of Mandelshtam’s career, from the three collections published during his lifetime, Stone (1913), Tristia (1922) and Poems (1928) as well as many others published only long after his death. The volume moves from a serene historic vision of European civilisation to the horrors of Stalinist repression.

James Greene’s versions of Mandelshtam have been widely praised above all others. The core of his selection was first published in 1977, and three times revised and expanded up to the present edition, which contains a new introduction by Donald Rayfield in addition to the two forewords to the first edition by Nadezhda Mandelshtam and Donald Davie.

‘The translations of Mr Greene are the best I ever saw.’ – Nadezhda Mandelshtam in her Foreword

‘James Greene has done a fine job … His versions have a fullness and roundness which is rare.’ – John Bayley, Observer

‘These are certainly the truest versions of Mandelshtam that have appeared. They are touching, strange and powerful.’ – Peter Levi, Sunday Times

‘Mandelshtam might well have recognised something akin to himself in these versions, in particular the sharp unexpected felicities of language, notably in some of the late and jagged fragments written in Voronezh.’ – Peter France, Times Literary Supplement

Additional information

Pages

144

Format

Paperback: Subleased to Penguin Classics

Author

Osip Mandelshtam

Author Bio

OSIP MANDELSHTAM was born in 1891 of Jewish parents and brought up in St Petersburg. He studied at the universities of Heidelberg and St Petersburg. After his second and third volumes of poetry had been published in the Soviet Union, he began to be persecuted by the authorities for lack of ideological conformism, and in 1934 he was arrested and eventually exiled to Voronezh. After rearrest in 1938 he died in eastern Siberia on the way to a labour camp.

Date Published

Angel 1989; Penguin 1991