By Clare Cavanagh
If modernism marked, as a few critics declare, an "apocalypse of cultural community," then Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) needs to rank between its so much consultant figures. Born to relevant ecu Jews in Warsaw at the cusp of the fashionable age, he may possibly declare neither Russian nor eu traditions as his birthright. Describing the poetic flow he helped to discovered, Acmeism, as a "yearning for international culture," he outlined the impulse that fees his personal poetry and prose. Clare Cavanagh has written a sustained examine putting Mandelstam's "remembrance and invention" of a usable poetic previous within the context of modernist writing usually, with specific consciousness to the paintings of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Cavanagh strains Mandelstam's production of culture from his earliest lyrics to his final verses, written presently earlier than his arrest and next loss of life in a Stalinist camp. Her paintings indicates how the poet, generalizing from his personal dilemmas and disruptions, addressed his epoch's paradoxical legacy of disinheritance--and how he answered to this unwelcome legacy with one in every of modernism's most complicated, formidable, and tough visions of culture. Drawing on not just Russian and Western modernist writing and concept, but in addition sleek ecu Jewish tradition, Russian spiritual idea, postrevolutionary politics, or even silent movie, Cavanagh strains Mandelstam's restoration of a "world tradition" important, substantial, and sundry adequate to fulfill the needs of the crucial outcast modernist.
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Additional resources for Osip Mandelstam and the Modernist Creation of Tradition
Datta. Dayadhvam. Damyata. Shantih shantih shantih 42 Almost any page of Pound’s Cantos, taken at random, will yield a similar amalgam of linguistic fragments, often not just in multiple languages but in more than one alphabet. ” As Pound begins his lifelong struggle to “write the Paradise” of a new civilization, though, he is no less preoccupied than Eliot with the role of language in shaping a new cultural community from the linguistic artifacts of the past. ” And then Anticlea came. Lie quiet Divus.
He was quick to put into practice, though, the kind of composite speaker he imagines in these lines; and Mandelstam and Eliot were equally adept at creating poetic speakers who simultaneously resist time and embody history by yoking together the disparate “I” ’s of different nations and ages with their own lyric voices. 47 Pound’s poem also suggests the ways in which the ambitious modernist who works to acquire a past much vaster than any one family or nation could provide is also able to circumvent the burden of this overwhelming past.
The modern poet-philologist perceives that language is “an organism that can maintain its identity as it • M O D E R N I S T C R E A T I O N O F T R A D I T I O N • 21 grows and develops in time” and that “keeps all times simultaneous” while it grows. It changes endlessly, yet it is continuous. It outlasts the fall of empires and ages while bearing at every moment its complex, hybrid history within it. ”38 The modernist poet need only speak, then, to lay claim to the complex network of histories and cultures that inhabit his native tongue and tie his speech to other languages and traditions.