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“A Word from Heaven in Hell′s Three Dimensions”: The Specifics of the Artistic Topos in the Camp Poems of Anastasia Tsvetaeva

T.Ye. Smykovskaya
80,00 ₽


Smykovskaya Tatyana Ye.,

Ph.D. in Philology, Associate Professor in the Department of Russian language and literature at Blagoveshchensk State Pedagogical University



The subject of this article is the original structure of the artistic space in Anastasia Tsvetaeva’s camp poems. These lyrical productions, written in1938–1942 during her period of imprisonment, comprise the cycles A Dog Under the Moon and Soap Bubbles, which were included in the book My Only Anthology, published in 1995. The topos in question, by virtue of being a key constant of Tsvetaeva’s lyrical world, reveals its multi-dimensional nature and essential Christian meaning. Tsvetaeva’s poetic works, which were composed in the Far East, all share a representation of the infernal space of the camp that derives from the tradition of Old Russian literature. The self-contained topos of the camp-as-hell is dissected by several imaginative vectors. The most important among these is the vertical, which links the lyrical heroine to God. In Tsvetaeva’s poetic universe, faith becomes an inexhaustible source of spiritual strength that aids one in confronting the injustice and cruelty of one’s fate. The counterpart of the camp-as-hell is the locus of paradise, which is assigned several meanings. It is constructed chiefly via the mode of recollection, thus enabling the heroine to revisit her treasured past. An enduring sense of hope, which in Tsvetaeva’s world is transmitted by means of a set of romantic religious images, acts as an interior liberating that aids the poetic in overcoming the closed space of the camp. The spatial paradigm of Tsvetaeva’s lyrical poetry of her camp period becomes an organizing trope that gives voice to the strong personal core and spiritual depth displayed by the author, who never morally surrendered in the gulag, despite her ordeal there.

Keywords: Tsvetaeva, camp, lyrical heroine, poetic world, poem, topos, literary work, cycle.




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