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Beyond the noise of time: readings of Marina Tsvetaeva’s memories of childhood
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Although quite a few researchers have pointed to the significance of the childhood theme in Tsvetaeva’s work, no systematic analysis of her work has been done from this perspective. Nor have her childhood reminiscences been treated as a thematically consistent whole, but have rather been read as instances of the poet’s prose in general. The present study examines Marina Tsvetaeva’s memories of childhood in the context of her work and in the context of the cultural and political reality to which these reminiscences refer and in which they were written—i.e., Russia around the turn of the century and the Russian émigré world of 1930–1937.

In the introductory investigation of the presence of the childhood theme in Tsvetaeva’s oeuvre, it is found that idealization of the naive, innocent state is a relatively constant feature and that the childhood memories can be read as a culmination of this set of motives. It is also stated that Tsvetaeva’s continuous striving in her poetry away from the world, out of time, is an integral part of the childhood thematics. This tendency is traced, in connection with the childhood theme, to the influence of writers of the late Russian Symbolist movement as well as to Boris Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke—all with roots in literary Romanticism. Childhood is moreover found to be something of a key theme that reveals fundamental differences in the relation to memory and language among the authors of Russian modernism. In Tsvetaeva' s case it is shown that her childhood memories contain the romantic essence of her aesthetics.

The study also touches upon the symbolic and allegorical dimension of the texts—Tsvetaeva’s “otherspeak” in her prose. It is shown that the central scenes of these texts can be read as illustrations of an artistic and linguistic experience. In this regard the author’s narrative of childhood also appears to have been a suitable medium for articulating controversial aesthetic statements and taking a stand for an historical past and literary tradition that at the time seemed doomed to oblivion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist och Wiksell International , 2004. , 184 p.
Stockholm studies in Russian literature, ISSN 0346-8496 ; 35
Keyword [en]
Russian literature, Tsvetaeva, childhood, Pasternak, Rilke, aesthetics, symbolism, memories
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-46ISBN: 9122020586OAI: diva2:194171
Public defence
2004-02-14, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Available from: 2004-02-09 Created: 2004-02-09 Last updated: 2016-06-28Bibliographically approved

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Grelz, Karin
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