Earthly Signs Moscow Diaries, 1917-1922 Marina Tsvetaeva, Jamey Gambrell

Russian Literature and Thought Series
Publication date:
Yale University Press
284 pages: 216 x 140mm
8 b/w illus.

[Earthly Signs] sheds important light on Tsvetaeva's life during the civil war. . . .

?Is there prose more intimate, more piercing, more heroic, more astonishing than Tsvetaeva?s? Was the truth of reckless feelings ever so naked? So accelerated? Voicing gut and brow, she is incomparable. Clad in the veil of translation, expert translation, her recklesness commands, her nakedness flames.??Susan Sontag

"[Earthly Signs] sheds important light on Tsvetaeva?s life during the civil war, all the more important since the previous and best-known collection of her prose in English, Captive Spirit mostly focuses on childhood memories."?Cynthia Haven, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"When it comes to the Russian poetry of the last century, Osip Mandelstram, Anna Akhmatova, and Boris Pasternak are reasonably familiar names, but not Marina Tsvetaeva, who is their equal. . . . Is she as good as Eliot or Pound, one may ask for the sake of comparison. She is as good as they are, and may have more tricks up her sleeve as a poet. . . . A marvelous selection from her diaries and essays in an exceptionally fine translation by Jamey Gambrell. They give us a view of the times not very different from that found in Isaac Babel?s stories. Tsvetaeva is an excellent reporter. . . . Tsvetaeva?s autobiographical writings and her essays are filled with memorable descriptions and beautifully turned out phases. . . . Jamey Gambrell sums up well the difficulties of Tsvetaeva?s work in her concise and extremely perceptive introduction."?Charles Simic, New York Review of Books

"This style of bold, passionate and innovative thought is much in evidence in Earthly Signs, writings by the Russian Modernist poet Marina Tsvetaeva, in this extraordinary translation by Jamey Gambrell."?Carol Muske Dukes, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Jamey Gambrell?s excellently translated edition with its well-researched and informative introduction graciously fulfils Tsvetaeva?s desire to see these pieces of diaristic prose bound in a single volume."?Rachel Polonsky, Times Literary Supplement

"Tsvetaeva poses a challenge to translators, but Gambrell has done a masterful job of making the poet?s highly idiosyncratic prose accessible to the non-Russian reader. This volume of Tsvetaeva?s early diaries foreshadows the entire range of her later prose, both in style and subject matter; it also provides invaluable insights into the poet?s life and thoughts during one of Russia?s bleakest periods in the 20th century. Tsvetaeva?s diaries stand as a testament to the durability of the human spirit and to the sustaining force of literary creation when all else disappears. . . . Gambrell?s introduction offers a brief biography of the poet, an account of the publication history of the diaries, an informative stylistic and thematic analysis of Tsvetaeva?s prose, and a short discussion of problems of translation. Highly recommended. Sophisticated upper-division undergraduates, graduate students, and everyone interested in Russian poetry, women?s studies, and the cultural history of Russia in the early 20th century."?Choice

?Admirable. . . . Welcome both as an addition to Tsvetaeva in English and as a highly condensed experiential and literary depiction of life in Moscow during and after the Revolution. . . . [A] valuable addition to readings in a course on Russian history or on comparative revolutionary experience.??Sibelan Forrester, Slavic and East European Journal