Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A poet's passion and death …

… “It gets people killed”: Osip Mandelstam and the perils of writing poetry under Stalin. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Did Pasternak’s clever hesitation in confirming Mandelstam’s genius allow the Mandelstams’ final “miracle” to occur? Or was Stalin at this time, and despite the insult of the epigram, still unable to rid himself of the poet’s respect for the Word? All that can be known with certainty is that Stalin could easily have caused Mandelstam’s death years before he did and yet, for some mysterious reason, he held off.

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