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By Lev Loseff, Valentina Polukhina (eds.)

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Sample text

Brodsky is merely reminding us here of poetry's autonomy and priority as a type of ideological activity.! This is particularly important for him as a Russian poet, inasmuch as the tradition of dealing with literature in political terms has been unusually long-lived on Russian soil. It would appear that the political part of Brodsky'S credo was formulated later than his aesthetic, existential-philosophic, and religious views. The formulation took place in the process of writing poetry and gradually consolidated itself into a series of invariant motifs and stable verbal imagery.

Clinamen - Bloom's first revisionary category (or 'ratio'), by which a 'poet swerves away from his precursor' (The Anxiety of Influence p. 14) - is also a prominent feature in Mandelstam (for example, in the poem 'Silentium', where issue is taken with Tiutchev) and in Brodsky (an obvious instance occurring in the sixth sonnet of the Mary Stuart sequence: 'Ia vas liubil ... '). Brodsky has written that the 'most awful thing about service to the Muses is precisely that it does not tolerate repetition - either of metaphor, subject, or device' (L: 187).

Poe's 'Ulalume - A Ballad', which served Mandelstam as subtext (see Burnett, The Survival of Myth', in T. ), The Manipulation of Literature (London, 1985) pp. 177-8), employs the analogy of 'soul! butterfly'. Pushkin links motylek and pchely in Eugene Onegin 2: 21. See Taranovsky, 'Bees and Wasps', in Essays on Mandel'stam, pp. 83-114 and 1. Burnett, 'Heirs of Eternity: An Essay on the Poetry of Keats and Mandelstam, Modern Language Review, LXXVI (1981), pp. 396--419 for detailed discussions of the 'bee' analogy in Mandelstam.

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