Sunday, May 23, 2010

Essay: Reading Mandelstam on Stalin - By José Manuel Prieto (The New York Review of Books)

In 1996, the Mexican historian Jean Meyer asked me to translate a poem by the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam (born in Warsaw in 1891; died in the Vtoraya Rechka transit camp, near Vladivostok, in 1938). The poem was the celebrated “Epigram Against Stalin,” which begins with the line “My zbibiom pod saboyu nie zbuya strani” (“We live without feeling the country beneath our feet”) ... The poem had cost Mandelstam his life; writing it was an act of incredible recklessness, bravery, or artistic integrity ... read more (full reading requires subscription to NYROB)

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