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This book is a major critical biography of the poet Maria Tsvetaeva by one of the foremost authorities on her work. It draws on a profusion of recent documentation and research, some of it hitherto unpublished, and encompasses the whole course of her life. Professor Karlinsky is careful to supply the reader with the necessary context for understanding the work by setting out the historical, political and literary background against which Tsvetaeva's life and literary development evolved. A particular feature of the book is a discussion of Tsvetaeva's relationships with her literary contemporaries, especially Mandelstam, Rilke, Akhmatova, Pasternak, and Mayakovsky, and of her emotional involvement with various men and women that are reflected in her poetry, plays and prose. Interest in Tsvetaeva's work has grown considerably and this important book will be essential reading both to scholars of twentieth-century Russian literature and cultural studies and to all serious students of modern literature.