Simon Karlinsky

Simon Karlinsky is Professor of Slavonic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol and Russian Drama from its Beginnings to the Age of Pushkin. His first book on Tsvetaeva appeared in 1966 and the second, Marina Tsvetaeva: The Woman, her World and her Poetry, in 1985.

Tsvetaeva’s Turn

Simon Karlinsky, 12 November 1987

In 1913, when she was 20 and had already published two volumes of poetry, Marina Tsvetaeva wrote the following prophetic lines, translated by Vladimir Nabokov in 1972:


Women are nicer

20 March 1986

SIR: I was delighted and honoured to read John Bayley’s generous review of my book, Marina Tsvetaeva: The Woman, her World and her Poetry (LRB, 20 March). There are, however, two statements ascribed to me in that review which I never made or implied. One is that Marina Tsvetaeva had a ‘tempestuous affair’ with Natalie Clifford Barney, ‘the wealthy and elegant Amazon of the Parisian Thirties’....

Women are nicer

John Bayley, 20 March 1986

Trotsky, who had a certain wit, even in literary matters, thought that women wrote poetry for only two reasons: because they desired a man and because they needed God, ‘as a combination of...

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These letters are a partial record of a literary friendship; and they offer more than the usual pleasure to be had from eavesdropping on the talk of eminent writers. Nabokov and Wilson had a few...

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