Biography Mandelstam Osip Emilevich

(1891-1938)

MANDELSHTAM Osip Emilievich (1891-1938), Russian poet. He began as a representative of acmeism. Poetry is saturated with cultural and historical images and motifs, marked by a concrete material perception of the world, a tragic experience of the destruction of culture. Collections “The Stone” (1913), “Tristia” (1922), the cycle “Voronezh Notebooks” (published 1966). The book “Conversation about Dante” (published in 1967), autobiographical prose, articles on poetry. Repressed; rehabilitated posthumously.
MANDELSHTAM Osip Emilievich [3 (15) January 1891, Warsaw – December 27, 1938, camp Second River near Vladivostok], Russian poet, prose writer, translator, essayist. From the St. Petersburg Jewish merchant family. He studied at the Tenishev School, was fond of the Socialist Revolutionary movement (memoirs “The Sound of Time”, 1925). In 1907-08 he attended lectures in Paris, in 1909-10 in Heidelberg, in 1911-17 studied at the St. Petersburg University of Romance philology (the course was not finished).
The first poetic experiments in the Narodnik style date back to 1906, systematic work on poetry began in 1908, the first publication in 1910. Mandel’shtam adjoins the symbolism (visits VI Ivanov, sends him his poems). His program is to combine Tyutchev’s “severity with the childishness of Verlaine”, a highness with childish spontaneity. The cross-cutting theme of poetry is the fragility of the local world and man in the face of incomprehensible eternity and destiny (“Am I real And will death really come? ..”); intonation – surprising simplicity; form – short poems with very specific images (landscapes, poetic still-lives). The poet is looking for an outlet in religion (especially tense in 1910), attends meetings of the Religious-Philosophical Society, but in his poems his religious motives are chaste-restrained (“Inexhaustible words…” – about Christ, which is not named). In 1911 he was baptized according to the Methodist rite. From the verses of these years, Mandelstam included in his books less than a third.
In 1911, Mandel’shtam approached NS Gumilev and AA Akhmatova, in 1913 his verses of Notre Dame, “Aya Sophia” were printed in a program compilation of Acmeists (see Acmeism). The program of acmeism for him is concreteness, “this-sidedness”, “the accomplishment of conspirators in a conspiracy against emptiness and non-existence,” overcoming the fragility of man and the stagnation of the universe through creativity (“from gravity of evil and someday I will create beautiful”): the poet is likened to the architect, the first The book of Mandelstam is called “Stone” (1913, 2nd ed. – 1916). Similarly, “society” should be built and society (poems about the unifying Rome, articles “Peter Chaadaev”, “Scriabin and Christianity”). His poems acquire a high solemnity of intonations, they are saturated with classical motifs (“St Petersburg”, ” Bach “,” I will not see the famous “Phaedra”); in combination with everyday and book themes, this sometimes gives oddly bizarre drawings (“Cinematograph”, “Dombey and Son”). To him comes fame in literary circles, he is his man in St. Petersburg bohemia, fervent, childish and selflessly solemn over verses.
The first world war Mandelstam first greets, then denies (“Menagerie”); attitude towards October 1917 as a catastrophe (“Cassandra”, “When the October made us a temporary worker…”) is replaced by the hope that the new “cruel” state can be humanized by the keepers of the old culture that will breathe in its poverty home, “Hellenic “(and not Roman!) the warmth of the human word. This is his lyrical article “The Word and Culture”, “On the Nature of the Word,” “Humanism and Modernity,”...

“Wheat Human”, etc. (1921-22). In 1919-20 (and later, in 1921-22) he left the hungry Petersburg to the south (Ukraine, Crimea, Caucasus: memories of Theodosius, 1925), but he refuses to emigrate; in 1922 he settled in Moscow with his young wife N. Ya. Hazinoy (N. Ya. Mandelstam), which will be his support for life, and after the heroic death will save his legacy. Verses of 1916-21 (the collection Tristia, 1922, “The Second Book”, 1923) are written in a new manner, the meanings of the words become vague, irrational: “the living word does not mean objects, but freely chooses, as if for habitation, … a pretty body.” Words are joined into phrases only by sounds and semantic emotion (“Russia, Summer, Loreley”), the connection between the phrases is lost because of the omission of associative links. In the subject there are the “black sun” of love, death, historical catastrophe, the “night sun” of the preserved and revived culture, the cycle of times, and in its center – the “holy islands” of Hellas (“On the sledgehills…”, “Sisters – heaviness and tenderness… “,”
Since 1924, Mandelstam has lived in Leningrad, since 1928 in Moscow, homeless and without a beast, earning exhausting translations: “I feel indebted to the revolution, but I bring her gifts in which she does not need.” He accepts the ideals of the revolution, but rejects the power that falsifies them. In 1930 he wrote “The Fourth Prose”, the most brutal exposure of the new regime, and in 1933 – the verse invective (“epigram”) against Stalin (“We live, we are not feeling the country…”). This break with official ideology gives him the strength to return to creativity (with rare exceptions, “to the table,” not to the press): his poems are about honor and conscience bequeathed by the revolutionary “raznochintsy”, about a new human culture that must be born from the earthly nature, as a biological or geological phenomenon (“Keep my speech.
In May 1934 Mandelstam was arrested (for an “epigram” and other poems), exiled to Cherdyn in the North Urals, after an attack of mental illness and attempted suicide transferred to Voronezh. There he serves a link until May 1937, lives almost beggarly, first to small earnings, then to the meager help of friends. Mandel’shtam was waiting for execution: the unexpected softness of the verdict aroused in him a mental turmoil that poured into a series of poems with an open acceptance of Soviet reality and with readiness for sacrificial death (Stanza 1935 and 1937, the so-called “ode” to Stalin in 1937, etc.); however, many researchers see in them only self-coercion or “Aesopian language.” The central product of the Voronezh years is “Poems about an Unknown Soldier,” the darkest of Mandelstam’s works, with an apocalyptic picture of a revolutionary (?) war for the survival of mankind and its world-wide mind. Mandelstam then hoped that the “ode” would save him, then he said that “it was a disease,” and he wanted to destroy it. After Voronezh, he lives a year in the vicinity of Moscow, “as in a terrible dream” (A. Akhmatova). In May 1938 he was arrested again – “for counter-revolutionary activity” – and sent to Kolyma. He died in a transit camp, in a state close to madness, according to the official conclusion – from paralysis of the heart. His name remained in the USSR under an interdiction for about 20 years.


Biography Mandelstam Osip Emilevich