Osip Emelievich Mandelshtam

Poems in this Collection

I despise the light.../Я ненавижу свет...
Insomnia. Homer. Taut sails.../Бессоница, Гомер, тугие паруса...
The Twilight of Freedom/Сумерки свободы
Sisters heaviness and tenderness.../Сестры - тяжесть и нежность...
The Swallow/Ласточка
Take for your joy from my palms.../Bозьми на радость из моих ладоней...
Because I couldn't hold onto your hands.../За то, что я руки твои не сумел удержать...
Graphite Ode/Грифельная ода
I will tell you the utmost candor.../Я скажу тебе с последней прямотой...
For the thundering valor of ages to come.../За гремучую доблесть грядущих веков...
The Age/Bек
Schubert on the water, and Mozart in the birds' din.../И Шуберт на воде, и Моцарт в птичьем гаме...
Gypsy girl/Цыганка
No, I was never anyone's contemporary.../Нет, никогда ничей я не был современник...

Timeline for O. E. Mandelshtam

Mandelshtam in 1912

Nadezhda Mandelshtam
Group Shot, with Mandelshtam and Akhmatova seated to the right, from 1930

Born in Warsaw to father who was a Latvian Jewish leather merchant whose first language was German and a Russified Latvian mother who taught piano

Graduates Tenishev Commercial School in Saint Petersburg (where Nabokov also attended), where he studied with Vladimir Gippius and fell in love with both European and Hellenic culture

Travels to Paris and studies with Henri Bergson at the Sorbonne

Studies Old French Literature at University of Heidelberg,

Begins attending meetings at Vyacheslav Ivanov's tower St. Petersburg Society of Philosophy

Writes early Acmeist manifesto, the essay "Francois Villon," which also creates a model of the poet as a victim of the state

First poems appear in journal Apollon

Baptized in Vyborg Methodist Church and enrolls in Dept. of History and Philology at University of St. Petersburg

Joins Gumilev's Poet's Guild and becomes active member of nascent Acmeist movement which also includes Akhmatova and Annensky

Publishes Stone, a turn away from the ephemera of Symbolist poetry and towards a more architectural, dense, solid, and neo-classical poetic criteria

Enlarged edition of Stone appears

Meets Nadezhda Khazin (picture to the right) whom he marries two years later; she would become the curator of his life's work, memorizing and transcribing numerous works that would otherwise have been lost

Travels from Black Sea to Georgia three times over

Publishes Tristia a collection of poems whose title is taken from Ovid, reaffirming Mandelstam's classical leanings and also displaying his facility in composing sensuous love lyrics

Writes Nature of the Word

Writes Noise of Time, a dense "anti-memoir"

Tristia republished as The Second Book (Vtoraya kniga)

Writes the novella The Egyptian Stamp a semi-autobiographical, dreamlike vision of revolution

Unable to gain access to publishers in Petersburg, he is forced to move to Moscow

Writes Fourth Prose

Travels to Armenia, a trip that his wife Nadezhda claims renewed his poetry

Writes First Moscow Notebook, the first of five unpublished poetry cycles which establish Mandelstam as one of the greatest poets of the century

Publishes Journey to Armenia which reflects in it's a language a more Asiatic influence

Writes Second Moscow Notebook

Writes Conversations about Dante

Arrested for the first time and exiled to Voronezh; this after a suicide attempt and his blisteringly satirical poem about Stalin ("His fat fingers slimy as worms," "He forges his decrees like horseshoes")

Writes First Voronezh Notebook

Writes Second Voronezh Notebook

Writes Third Voronezh Notebook

Denounced publicly as a Trotskyist as his exile came to an end

May, arrested for the second time

December 27, dies in a prison transit camp in Siberia

His rehabilitation begins

First large Soviet edition of his collected poetry is published.












Mandelshtam in 1919
Mandelshtam in 1930

Links to other Mandelshtam sites

Excerpts from entry on Mandelshtam in V. Terras' Handbook of Russian Literature (English)
Yevgeny Bonver's translations of 5+ Mandelshtam poems
Стихия: Лучшая поэзия (Russian)
Mandelshtam at Friends & Partners. 150+ poems in Russian. (Russian)
Рисунок Акварелью with texts of Tristia and Камень (Russian)
7 translations of short lyrics of Mandelshtam from Speaking in Tongues (English)
Another translation of Mandelshtam (Insomnia, Homer, Sails...) from Speaking in Tongues (English)
Three translations of short lyrics by James Greene (English)
U. of Virginia e-text of Tristia (Ed., Transl. McClelland) Full text, running columns of Russian/English
Марина Цветаева Мир в исскуство: Mandelshtam section incl. Biography, Verse, Text of Шум Времени (Russian)