Our Notes & References
First edition of Tsvetaeva’s first collection of poetry published in exile.
A fine example, in unusually fresh condition: almost no foxing, unrestored, with the fragile binding without rubbing and conserving its original colour.
“Tsvetaeva rightly belongs in the quartet of Russia’s greatest 20th-century poets along with Akhmatova, Mandelstam, and Pasternak”, and her ‘Razluka’ indicates “yet another dimension of the poet’s art, for it contains Tsvetaeva’s first longer verse narrative, “On a Red Steed” (Na kransom kone)” (Terras), dedicated to Anna Akhmatova. The other eight poems of the collection were written in Moscow and addressed to her husband, Sergei Efron, whose fate after the defeat of the White Army was unknown to Tsvetaeva for more than four years.
The collection was published at the initiative of Ilia Erenburg by Abram Vishniak, the founder of the publishing house “Gelikon”, around the time when Tsvetaeva moved to Berlin, — “to pay for the journey” to finally reunite with her husband in Prague, as Tsvetaeva explained it. The book design was prepared by the artist and stage designer Aleksandr Arnshtam (1880—1969), who also designed – in a completely different style – the cover of Tsvetaeva’s other book published in Berlin the same year, ‘Stikhi k Bloku’ [‘Poems to Blok’].
‘Razluka’ was enthusiastically received by Tsvetaeva’s contemporaries: Boris Pasternak, to whom the poetess sent a copy in late June already from Berlin, wrote to her on November 12, 1922: “‘Razluk’a has the same virtues as ‘Versty’ [publ. in 1921]. The same all-encompassing impulsiveness, i.e. the joyful content, a fired torpedo without brakes.” In his review in the newspaper ‘Golos Rossii’ [‘Voice of Russia’], Andrei Belyi praised the collection’s “gestural plasticity” and melodiousness: “these lines are impossible to read: they should be sung”. The poet Pavel Antokolskii added: “You open her book: how tight, how stiff! But you can’t tear yourself away – you read it again and again, and behind the unspoken lines – the words – through clenched teeth – you begin to sense the blue, then the crimson firelight of her soul” (our translation).
Kilgour 290; Victor Terras, Handbook of Russian Literature, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1991, pp. 486-487.
Pavel Antokolskii, “Retsenziia na sbornik Mariny Tsvetaevoi “Gelikon”, 1922″, Nakanune, 1922.
Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak, Dushi nachinaiut videt. Pisma 1922-1936 godov, Vagrius, Moskva, 2004.
Anna Saakiants (quoting Andrei Belyi), “Vstrecha poetov“, Voprosy literatury, 1982.