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Cover Art
Author Tavis, Anna A.

Title Rilke's Russia : a cultural encounter / Anna A. Tavis.

Published Evanston, Ill. : Northwestern University Press, [1994]


Location Call No. Status
 UniM Bail  831.912 RILKE/TAVI    AVAILABLE
Physical description xix, 195 pages ; 24 cm.
Series Studies in Russian literature and theory.
Studies in Russian literature and theory.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 181-190) and index.
Contents Rainer Maria Rilke: A Russian Chronology -- Introduction: The Neighbor's Soul -- Ch. 1. Russia before Russia -- Ch. 2. Mapping the "Russian Soul": Lou Andreas-Salome -- Ch. 3. Two Russian Capitals -- Ch. 4. In the Heartlands: Spiridon Drozhzhin and Rilke's Russian Poems -- Ch. 5. The Aesthetics of Icons and Tales: Nikolai Leskov and Victor Vasnetsov -- Ch. 6. The Predicament of Influence: Rilke and Tolstoy -- Ch. 7. Fictionalizing Tolstoy -- Ch. 8. Russia Revisited: Gorky and Pasternak -- Ch. 9. Beyond Rilke: Marina Tsvetaeva -- Appendix: "Leo Tolstoy, Our Contemporary": A Study by Lou Andreas-Salome.
Summary Anna A. Tavis's essay in cultural interpretation explores the biographical and textual evidence of Russia's importance in shaping Rainer Maria Rilke's aesthetic perception. Rilke's two trips to Russia at the turn of the century, made in the company of Lou Andreas-Salome, led to connections with Nikolai Leskov, Leo Tolstoy, Boris Pasternak, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Maxim Gorky. Tavis uses letters, poems, and fiction to trace Rilke's and Andreas-Salome's impressions, situating Rilke's writings within the context that informed their creation and meaning and established the requirements for authority and legitimacy in their interpretation. To examine Rilke's Russia is to recapture the past that he had shared with his Russian contemporaries; but the memory of that past was lost in the historical turmoil of the Russian Revolution and the following years of the communist state. Tavis traces Rilke's steps to reclaim his image of Russia as a valid cultural document. Constructed thematically, the book is much more than a biographical chronicle of Rilke's Russian connection. Tavis documents the "creative outsideness" the young poet felt vis-a-vis his own German-speaking culture in Slavic Prague and reveals his extensive connections with Czech literature and culture. The bulk of the author's discussion, however, concentrates on actual and symbolic intersections with Russian literary prose masters and poets between 1898 and 1926. These intersections are so valuable precisely because they are different from the Russian "novel of ideas" that had swept the continent by storm during just these years, and by which Russia was so firmly identified in the European literary imagination; Tavis provides afascinating corrective to this convention. At a moment when Western attitudes toward Russian society are once again undergoing profound reformation, Tavis's discussion of Rilke's encounters is particularly significant, and her assessment of Rilke's complex relationship to Czech Prague, to Russia, and to German-Slavic mythmaking in general has implications wider than this immediate study. The volume includes the first English translation of Lou Andreas-Salome's "Leo Tolstoy, Our Contemporary".
Subject Rilke, Rainer Maria, 1875-1926 -- Travel -- Russia.
Rilke, Rainer Maria, 1875-1926 -- Knowledge -- Russia.
Authors, German -- 20th century -- Biography.
Russian literature -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
Russian literature -- Appreciation -- Europe, German-speaking.
Russia -- Description and travel.
Russia -- Intellectual life -- 1801-1917.
ISBN 0810111527 (alk. paper)