THE RUSSIAN JERUSALEM by ELAINE FEINSTEIN

The Russian Jerusalem—Cover.jpg
The Russian Jerusalem—Cover.jpg

THE RUSSIAN JERUSALEM by ELAINE FEINSTEIN

9.99

164 Pages
©2008

Publisher: Carcanet Fiction
Purchase includes: EPUB, MOBI & PDF

Read reviews on Amazon & Goodreads


Beginning in present-day St Petersburg, The Russian Jerusalem explores the landscape of twentieth century Russian literature. In this evocative autobiographical novel, distinguished poet, translator, novelist and biographer Elaine Feinstein moves among the dead poets of Stalin's Russia with the poet Marina Tsvetaeva as her Virgil, mingling with the ghosts of writers such as Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelstam and Joseph Brodsky. These imaginary encounters are interspersed with new poems by Feinstein. The author, herself of Russian descent, reconstructs the lives and fates of Russian, often Jewish, writers during the long age of Soviet terror, re-establishing them at the heart of the European tradition.

'In this fascinating, lyrical meditation on literature, politics, suffering and friendship, Elaine Feinstein - a biographer of poets and a poet of the first rank herself - takes us on a richly imagined journey through a lost literary archipelago, and reconstructs the lives and fates of Russian, often Jewish, writers during the long age of Soviet terror. Combining family history, travels through modern Russia and very personal encounters with famous ghosts, Feinstein evokes, throughpoetry and prose, both the inferno of cruelty and persecutions, and a golden Jerusalem of creativity, talent and intense literary bonds. This is a moving, original work, for which Feinstein has created a selection of poems worthy of the predecessors she admires.' EVA HOFFMAN

'All poets are Jews, said Marina Tsvetaeva. Elaine Feinstein, Britain's most distinguished Jewish poet, was her first translator into English and has a wonderful wiry lyricism of her own, influenced both by Russian poetry and by Charles Olson and the Black Mountain poets. She has written here a unique blend of poetry, history and personal memoir, a descent into the heartbreaking and ground breaking vistas of Russian Jewry, and Russian literary figures of the twentieth century. The poets of genius whom she did not know alive, she knows equally intimately in the best way in which one poet knows another - by learning, reading, studying, translating. The book opens with her memories of renting a flat in a rundown quarter of St Petersberg in 2005, and also with Marina Tsetaeva accepting, as Virgil accepted for Dante, the role of guide to the underworld of colourful and talented figures Feinstein has known in her rich literary life, both in Russia, London and Cambridge.' RUTH PADEL

Elaine Feinstein
 is a poet, novelist, and biographer. She has received  many prizes, including a Cholmondeley Award for Poetry, Society of Authors', Wingate and Arts Council Awards, the Daisy Miller Prize for her experimental novel The Circle, (long-listed for the ‘lost’ Man Booker prize in 2010) and an Honorary D.Litt from the University of Leicester. She has travelled across the world to read her poems, and her books have been translated into most European languages; also Russian, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Her versions of the poems of Marina Tsvetaeva, a New York Times Book of the Year, have remained in print since 1971. She was given a major grant from the Arts Council to write her most recent novel, The Russian Jerusalem, a phantasmagoric mix of prose and poetry (Carcanet, 2008). She has served on the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, of which she is a Fellow, as a judge for most of the current literary prizes, and  as Chair of the Judges for the T.S.Eliot Award. She received a Civil List Pension in 2010.     

Elaine Feinstein has a page on the Poetry Archive website, where you can listen to recordings of her reading from her work, and access other useful resources. Click here.

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