This paper contextualizes Khodasevich’s poem ‘Slezy Rakhili’ (‘Rachel’s Tears’; 1916) and his article ‘Voina i poeziia’ (‘War and Poetry’; 1938) as his responses to World War I and to the Munich agreement, respectively. I contend that the First World War provided the impetus to Khodasevich for starting to write modernist poetry, in which he explicitly opposed “then” and “now”, a contrast that lies at the core of modernist consciousness. In Khodasevich’s case, this acute awareness of a break with previous values had a personal quality, as the birth of his modernist poetics evolved out of a personal crisis in the wake of the suicide of his closest friend, Samuil Kissin, on 22 March 1916. Khodasevich’s poem ‘Slezy Rakhili’ recapitulates macro- and micro-histories, referring to the broader issue of refugees and deportees and to Kissin’s tragic end. ‘Slezy Rakhili’ is also a self-referential war poem as it reflects on current war poetry and questions whether poetry can adequately negotiate modernity in its most extreme form of a modern war. It is a conscious exploration of the contrast between “established things” and the new catastrophic reality of war and postwar Russia and Europe that makes Khodasevich a modernist poet and unites him with other modernist poets, like Vladimir Maiakovskii, despite their personal and literary animosities.
This forum explores the relationship between two major and very different representatives of Russian turn-of-the-century literature: Maksim Gor'kii and Vladislav Khodasevich.
The paper is devoted to the principles of quoting in the cycle of Anna Akhmatova's poems " Tajny Remesla"
In this essay, I analyze Maksim Gor'kii’s and Vladislav Khodasevich’s attitudes to Russian neo-peasant poetry as a formative aspect of their respective worldviews. Their partly shared approach was one of the underlying factors in their short-lived émigré rapprochement that seemed so unexpected given their different life experiences and literary backgrounds. Both Gor'kii and Khodasevich considered Russian neo-peasant poetry as a literary expression of a peasant nationalist movement that endangered some outcomes of the socialist revolution. There were also differences in their assessment of this literary group however. My analysis of their respective articles dedicated to Sergei Esenin after the poet’s death by suicide, delineates the difference between Gor'kii’s and Khodasevich’s attitude to, and understanding of, neo-peasant poetry. Khodasevich’s exposition portrayed Esenin’s poetry and self-representation as a cultural construct, a mixture of neo-Slavophilism and Modernist “life-creation.” Gor'kii, for his part, “naïvely” perpetuated Esenin’s essentialist peasant self-representation, incorporating it into his vision of the contemporary “inexorable” struggle between town and country that he embraced at the time.