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Tsvetaeva’s Turn

Simon Karlinsky, 12 November 1987

A Captive Lion: The Life of Marina Tsvetayeva 
by Elaine Feinstein.
Hutchinson, 287 pp., £15.95, February 1987, 0 09 165900 0
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The Selected Poems of Marina Tsvetayeva 
translated by Elaine Feinstein.
Hutchinson, 108 pp., £6.95, February 1987, 0 09 165931 0
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... 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: Amidst the dust of bookshops, wide dispersed     And never purchased there by anyone, Yet similar to precious wines, my verse     Can wait: its turn will come. The turn of Marina Tsvetaeva’s verse and biography has now come forty years after her suicide at the age of 48 in the remote provincial town of Elabuga in the USSR ...

On not liking Tsvetaeva

Clarence Brown, 8 September 1994

Marina Tsvetaeva: Poetics of Appropriation 
by Michael Makin.
Oxford, 355 pp., £40, January 1994, 0 19 815164 0
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Tsvetaeva 
by Viktoria Schweitzer, translated by Robert Chandler, H.T. Willetts and Peter Norman.
Harvill, 400 pp., £20, December 1993, 0 00 272053 1
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... the best translations are often the plain prose trots by scholars like Simon Karlinsky and Michael Makin which sometimes achieve a rough vernacular rightness by being simply true. Kto ne prokis – okrys’sja! If you’re not rotten – turn rat! (Makin) Tsvetaeva has been as fortunate in her post-humous fate as she ...
The Nabokov-Wilson Letters, 1940-1971 
edited by Simon Karlinsky.
Weidenfeld, 346 pp., £12.50, October 1979, 0 297 77580 4
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Vladimir Nabokov: A Tribute 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 139 pp., £6.95
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... study by Havelock Ellis of a Russian nymphet-hunter), Wilson had absolutely no time for it. Mr Karlinsky assures us that he remained silent on Pale Fire and found Ada unreadable. So the two men grew apart. The surprising thing is that, given their temperamental differences, they remained so close for so long. Nabokov’s critical remarks rarely resemble ...

Women are nicer

John Bayley, 20 March 1986

Marina Tsvetaeva: The Woman, her World and her Poetry 
by Simon Karlinsky.
Cambridge, 289 pp., £27.50, February 1986, 0 521 25582 1
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The Women’s Decameron 
by Julia Woznesenskaya, translated by W.B. Linton.
Quartet, 330 pp., £9.95, February 1986, 0 7043 2555 1
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... her life and personality. It is impossible to imagine the job being done better than by Professor Karlinsky. His knowledge of and research into the period are encyclopedic, and he has the same understanding of his subject that he showed in his brilliant study of Gogol. She wrote a great deal. One feels it came as naturally to her as could be, and from 1922 to ...

Very Nasty

John Sutherland, 21 May 1987

VN: The Life and Art of Vladimir Nabokov 
by Andrew Field.
Macdonald, 417 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 356 14234 5
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... first émigré period’. Even more damagingly, Field has evidently been forbidden to quote from Simon Karlinsky’s edition of The Nabokov-Wilson Letters (1979), thus fatally impoverishing his account of the author’s most important literary relationship. (Karlinsky, incidentally, has his little say about Field’s ...

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