The Poetry of Anna Akhmatova

The Poetry of Anna Akhmatova

Living in Different Mirrors

By Alexandra Harrington

Anthem Series on Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

Outlines a fresh and coherent framework, reviewing Akhmatova's oeuvre in its totality for the first time.

Hardback, 288 Pages


May 2006

£70.00, $115.00

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About This Book

This book arose from several years of research on Akhmatova. Anna Akhmatova is one of the most acclaimed poets of the twentieth century. Her career falls into two distinct periods, an 'earlier' and a 'later', the dividing line being her period of relative silence between 1925 and 1940.  As is often observed, her return to poetry brings with it a sudden and dramatic shift away from a relatively homogenous body of early lyric miniatures to a more diverse and complex style. One of the major unresolved problems in Akhmatova scholarship is that of how the poetics of the two phases are related. Previous attempts to plot her creative trajectory contain internal inconsistencies and are in conflict with one another, often serving to confuse rather than clarify the debate. This book seeks to explore these themes, bringing reconciliation to seemingly disparate views. This book outlines a fresh and coherent framework for the apprehension of Akhmatova's oeuvre in its totality, seeing her as a poet who moves beyond modernism in her later period. The appeal to postmodernism, which is in itself innovatory with regard to Akhmatova studies, also allows exploration of a second problematic issue: how to account for the shift in self-presentation in the later verse, and the different concept of poetic self which it advances. This new account of Akhmatova's path to maturity challenges the conventional view of the early Akhmatova as poet in the classical Russian tradition, and of the later Akhmatova as paradigmatically modernist.


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Author Information

Alexandra Harrington is Lecturer in Russian in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Durham. She is the author of various articles on Akhmatova and is currently working on a new monograph about the poet Vasilii Komarovskii.


Anthem Series on Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. Missing Centres, Hints and Evasions - Epistemological Uncertainty in the Early Period; Epistemology and Ontology in the Debate between Acmeism and Symbolism; Epistemology and the Conventions of Lyric Poetry;  Truncated Plot in Akhmatova's Early Lyrics, The Nineteenth-Century Novel; Cinema and Cubism; Avant-Garde Techniques in the Early Poetry; Montage Composition in Lyric Cycles; Towards a Nouvea Roman; The Chameleon Persona; From Epistemology to Ontology; 2. Requiem - The Upturned World and Disintegrating Self; The Modern Poetic Sequence; The Paratexts of Requiem; The Inconsistent Speaker and Fragmenting Text; The Transformation of the Speaker; 3. Ends and Beginnings, Different Selves and Possible Worlds - Ontological Instability in the 'Northern Elegies'; The Alien World of the Past; The World Next Door; Possible Worlds of the Future; Forking Paths and Other Dramas; Paper Worlds; The World of Fiction, Ironic Beginnings, 4. Non-Meetings and the World Through the Looking Glass - Akhmatova's Late Cycles; The Poetics of Negation and Paradox; Non-Meetings and Non-Being; The Burnt Notebook; Living, Dying and Resurrection; 'Midnight Verses'; 5. Worlds Within Worlds - Poem Without a Hero; The Text-within-a-Text; Viewing 1913 from 1940 - the Postmodernist Return to Modernism; Akhmatova's Critique of the 1910s; The Surpassing of Modernism; Postmodernist Pla(y)giarism; Converstaion betwewen an Author and an Editor; The Multiple Author; Multiple Endings and Paratextual Paraphernalia; Rough Drafts; Conclusion; Endnotes; Bibliography; Index


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