Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Friendship in the time of terror

Portrait by Nathan Altman, 1912

Nadezhda Mandelstam's unique personal tribute to poet Anna Akhmatova

Although the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova (1889–1966) never received the highest literary honour, the Nobel Prize, the veneration she enjoyed during her lifetime as well as her ever increasing posthumous fame have made her one of the luminary figures of modern Europe. Few authors of the past century have been portrayed more often in paintings, sculptures or photographs; few bodies of poetry has been more extensively translated, interpreted, recorded and illustrated; few individuals have featured more in the letters, journals or memoirs of her contemporaries. The extensive biographical chronicles of Lydia Chukovskaya, Emma Gerstein, Mikhail Ardov and other associates have helped create a larger-than-life and almost heroic image of the poet, which has become inseparable from her work.

Read the rest of Friendship in the time of terror in signandsight, 9/19/2012, originally published in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 1/3/2012.

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