Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland, and the West

Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics: Russia, Poland, and the West

Yale University Press

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Winner of the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism

Lyric Poetry and Modern Politics explores the intersection of poetry, national life, and national identity in Poland and Russia, from 1917 to the present. As a corrective to recent trends in criticism, acclaimed translator and critic Clare Cavanagh demonstrates how the practice of the personal lyric in totalitarian states such as Russia and Poland did not represent an escapist tendency; rather it reverberated as a bold political statement and at times a dangerous act.

Cavanagh also provides a comparative study of modern poetry from the perspective of the eastern and western sides of the Iron Curtain. Among the poets discussed are Blok, Mayakovsky, Akhmatova, Yeats, Whitman, Frost, Szymborska, Zagajewski, and Milosz; close readings of individual poems are included, some translated for the first time. Cavanagh examines these poets and their work as a challenge to Western postmodernist theories, thus offering new perspectives on twentieth-century lyric poetry.


Clare Cavanagh is associate professor and Herman and Beulah Pearce Miller Research Professor in Literature in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Northwestern University.

Pub Date: 2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 332 
Size: 6.00 x 9.25 inches

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