The Twelve: Alexander Blok

Author(s): Alexander Blok
ISBN13/Barcode: 9780473582210
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Alexander Blok's great controversial poem with a new translation by New Zealand author Natasha Templeton and poet Alan Roddick and illustrations from woodcuts by Wayne Seyb.
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Alexander Blok (1880-1921), the last major poet of the Russian Silver Age, a member of the intelligentsia and a scion of the landed aristocracy who joined the revolution, wrote his still-controversial 'The Twelve' in January 1918. A poem of stark contrasts of lyrical and colloquial, of shifting rhythms, fragments of prayers, slogans and slang, of mockery and violence, cruelty and pain, exultation and pity, it is set in the aftermath of the 1917 October Revolution as a snow storm buries the past, and twelve Red Guards march through the desolate streets of St Petersburg dispensing violence and murder, and a snow-wreathed figure of Christ bearing a bloodied flag appears at their head--an image that surprised and troubled the poet himself. An earlier version of this translation was published in the anthology The Silver Age of Russian Culture (Ardis, 1975). In 2020 with the centenary of Blok's death (7 August 1921) in mind it was completely revised. 'Blok possessed all the qualities that go to make a great poet . . . Drawn by his attentiveness, as if on a tide of air, reality whirls into his poems.' --Boris Pasternak 'Blok heard the subterranean music of Russian history, where the most highly attuned ear caught only a syncopated pause . . . Despite various idle interpretations, 'The Twelve' is immortal, like folklore.' --Osip Mandelstam 'In my opinion his nationalism is nothing but a construct based on Dostoevsky . . . He didn't know Russia, he didn't know the Russian people; he was an upper-class student.' --Fyodor Sologub 'He was so much a creation of the spirit, so much a spirit made visible, that we must wonder how life could permit him to exist at all.' --Marina Tsvetaeva Alexander Blok was the last major poet of Russia's Silver Age. The last of a long line of distinguished radicals, he was the grandson of the botanist Beketov, Rector of St Petersburg University, and son-in-law of the famous Russian chemist Mendeleyev. His first collection of poetry, "Stikhi o prekrasnoy dame" ("Verses about a beautiful lady"), dedicated to his wife, was published in 1905 and gained him almost instant renown amongst the poets of his generation. By the 1910s he was being hailed as the heir to Pushkin. His poetry in effect spanned the twelve years of disillusion after the deadly fiasco of the failed revolution of 1905. His heavy workload for various state departments and his increasing disillusion with the Revolution - he was briefly arrested and interrogated by the Petrograd Cheka in 1919 - had an increasingly deleterious effect on his health, as did the debilitating poverty he and his family found themselves in. He suffered from asthma and heart trouble, as well as chronic depression that prevented him from writing. He wrote his last major work in January 1918. At his final public appearance, a lecture to commemorate the anniversary of Pushkin's birth in February 1921, he expressed his conviction that "the poet dies, because he cannot breathe." Despite the support of Maxim Gorky and Anatoly Lunacharsky, his doctors' requests to allow Blok to leave the country for treatment were denied until it was too late, and he died on 7 August 1921. Russian-born New Zealander Natasha Templeton gained her Masters in Russian literature at Columbia University under the great Rufus Mathewson. She went on to lecture and review in the fields of Russian language, literature history and with a particular focus on Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, and on Russian poetry. She has published two novels: Firebird (1995) and Winter in the Summer Garden (1999). She lives in Wellington. Alan Roddick has published two books of poetry, The Eye Corrects (1967) and Getting It Right (2016). As literary executor for Charles Brasch, who died in 1973, he has published three collections of Brasch's poetry, most recently his Selected Poems (2015). He has also written extensively on the poetry of Allen Curnow. A retired public health dentist, he lives in Dunedin.Alexander Blok was the last major poet of Russia's Silver Age. The last of a long line of distinguished radicals, he was the grandson of the botanist Beketov, Rector of St Petersburg University, and son-in-law of the famous Russian chemist Mendeleyev. His first collection of poetry, "Stikhi o prekrasnoy dame" ("Verses about a beautiful lady"), dedicated to his wife, was published in 1905 and gained him almost instant renown amongst the poets of his generation. By the 1910s he was being hailed as the heir to Pushkin. His poetry in effect spanned the twelve years of disillusion after the deadly fiasco of the failed revolution of 1905. His heavy workload for various state departments and his increasing disillusion with the Revolution - he was briefly arrested and interrogated by the Petrograd Cheka in 1919 - had an increasingly deleterious effect on his health, as did the debilitating poverty he and his family found themselves in. He suffered from asthma and heart trouble, as well as chronic depression that prevented him from writing. He wrote his last major work in January 1918. At his final public appearance, a lecture to commemorate the anniversary of Pushkin's birth in February 1921, he expressed his conviction that "the poet dies, because he cannot breathe." Despite the support of Maxim Gorky and Anatoly Lunacharsky, his doctors' requests to allow Blok to leave the country for treatment were denied until it was too late, and he died on 7 August 1921. Russian-born New Zealander Natasha Templeton gained her Masters in Russian literature at Columbia University under the great Rufus Mathewson. She went on to lecture and review in the fields of Russian language, literature history and with a particular focus on Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, and on Russian poetry. She has published two novels: Firebird (1995) and Winter in the Summer Garden (1999). She lives in Wellington. Alan Roddick has published two books of poetry, The Eye Corrects (1967) and Getting It Right (2016). As literary executor for Charles Brasch, who died in 1973, he has published three collections of Brasch's poetry, most recently his Selected Poems (2015). He has also written extensively on the poetry of Allen Curnow. A retired public health dentist, he lives in Dunedin.

Additional Information

ISBN13/Barcode 9780473582210
ISBN10 047358221X
Author Alexander Blok
Binding Paperback
Date Published 7 Aug 2020
Frequency No
Report Date 2021/11/01
Pages 52
Publisher Cold Hub Press

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