Rilke's Russia: A Cultural Encounter

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1st Edition, Fine/Fine Like NEW. Clean, tight & bright. No ink names, tears, chips, foxing etc. ISBN 0810111527

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Anna A. Tavis's essay in cultural interpretation explores the biographical and textual evidence of Russia's importance in shaping Rainer Maria Rilke's aesthetic perception. Rilke's two trips to Russia at the turn of the century, made in the company of Lou Andreas-Salome, led to connections with Nikolai Leskov, Leo Tolstoy, Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Maxim Gorky. Tavis uses letters, poems, and fiction to trace Rilke's and Andreas-Salome's impressions, situating Rilke's writings within the context that informed their creation and meaning and established the requirements for authority and legitimacy in their interpretation. To examine Rilke's Russia is to recapture the past that he had shared with his Russian contemporaries; but the memory of that past was lost in the historical turmoil of the Russian Revolution and the following years of the communist state. Tavis traces Rilke's steps to reclaim his image of Russia as a valid cultural document. Constructed thematically, the book is much more than a biographical chronicle of Rilke's Russian connection. Tavis documents the "creative outsideness" the young poet felt vis-a-vis his own German-speaking culture in Slavic Prague and reveals his extensive connections with Czech literature and culture. The bulk of the author's discussion, however, concentrates on actual and symbolic intersections with Russian literary prose masters and poets between 1898 and 1926. These intersections are so valuable precisely because they are different from the Russian "novel of ideas" that had swept the continent by storm during just these years, and by which Russia was so firmly identified in the European literary imagination; Tavis provides a fascinating corrective to this convention. At a moment when Western attitudes toward Russian society are once again undergoing profound reformation, Tavis's discussion of Rilke's encounters is particularly significant, and her assessment of Rilke's complex relationship to Czech Prague,
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Editorial Reviews

Explores the biographical and textual evidence of Russia's importance in shaping the writer Rainer Maria Rilke's aesthetic perception. During Rilke's two trips to Russia at the turn the century, he made connections with a number of important artists, including Leo Tolstoy and Nikolai Leskov, and the author traces the impact of these meetings and other experiences in Russia upon Rilke's writing. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780810111523
  • Publisher: Northwestern University Press
  • Publication date: 10/12/1994
  • Series: Studies in Russian Literature and Theory
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 195
  • Product dimensions: 6.46 (w) x 9.52 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Table of Contents

Rainer Maria Rilke: A Russian Chronology
Introduction: The Neighbor's Soul
Ch. 1 Russia before Russia 1
Ch. 2 Mapping the "Russian Soul": Lou Andreas-Salome 21
Ch. 3 Two Russian Capitals 35
Ch. 4 In the Heartlands: Spiridon Drozhzhin and Rilke's Russian Poems 51
Ch. 5 The Aesthetics of Icons and Tales: Nikolai Leskov and Victor Vasnetsov 65
Ch. 6 The Predicament of Influence: Rilke and Tolstoy 79
Ch. 7 Fictionalizing Tolstoy 91
Ch. 8 Russia Revisited: Gorky and Pasternak 103
Ch. 9 Beyond Rilke: Marina Tsvetaeva 113
Conclusion 129
Appendix: "Leo Tolstoy, Our Contemporary": A Study by Lou Andreas-Salome 131
Notes 143
Selected Bibliography 181
Index 191
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