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Hope Against Hope: A Memoir Tekijä:…
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Hope Against Hope: A Memoir (vuoden 1999 painos)

Tekijä: Nadezhda Mandelstam (Tekijä)

Sarjat: Memoirs (1)

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
5891339,631 (4.3)22
The story of the poet Osip Mandelstam, who suffered continuous persecution under Stalin, but whose wife constantly supported both him and his writings until he died in 1938. Since 1917 The Modern Library prides itself as The Modern Library of the World's Best Books. Featuring introductions by leading writers, stunning translations, scholarly endnotes and reading group guides. Production values emphasize superior quality and readability. Competitive prices, coupled with exciting cover design make these an ideal gift to be cherished by the avid reader. Of the eighty-one years of her life, Nadezhda Mandelstam spent nineteen as the wife of Russia's greatest poet in this century, Osip Mandelstam, and forty-two as his widow. The rest was childhood and youth." So writes Joseph Brodsky in his appreciation of Nadezhda Mandelstam that is reprinted here as an Introduction. Hope Against Hope was first published in English in 1970. It is Nadezhda Mandelstam's memoir of her life with Osip, who was first arrested in 1934 and died in Stalin's Great Purge of 1937-38. Hope Against Hope is a vital eyewitness account of Stalin's Soviet Union and one of the greatest testaments to the value of literature and imaginative freedom ever written. But it is also a profound inspiration--a love story that relates the daily struggle to keep both love and art alive in the most desperate circumstances.… (lisätietoja)
Jäsen:sandipan11
Teoksen nimi:Hope Against Hope: A Memoir
Kirjailijat:Nadezhda Mandelstam (Tekijä)
Info:Modern Library (1999), 480 pages
Kokoelmat:Toivelista
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Ihmisen toivo : muistelmat (tekijä: Nadezhda Mandelstam)

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A powerful and insightful window into the first couple of decades of post-revolution Soviet Russia. Nadezhda Mandelstam, educator and widow of Osip Mandelstam, one of Russia's greatest poets of the twentieth century and one of millions of Stalin's victims, wrote this account in the 1960s. It is thanks to her efforts that much of his poetry survived to the present day, but her own literary contribution here towers beside those writings of her husband.

It is a memoir of these two specific people, yet so much more. It is full of great historical, sociological and psychological insight into the times. She clearly identifies the Revolution as a total overthrow of old values and their replacement by new. In the early days of the 1920s, there was widespread enthusiasm for this new project. Consider this passage in which she writes of the new regime:
These rulers of ours who claim that the prime mover of history is the economic basis have shown by the whole of their own practice that the real stuff of history is ideas. It is ideas that shape the minds of whole generations, winning adherents, imposing themselves on the consciousness, creating new forms of government and society, rising triumphantly - and then slowly dying away and disappearing. Viacheslav Ivanov once said in my presence - we visited him on our way through Baku in 1921 - that he had fled from Moscow and sought seclusion in Baku because he had become convinced that 'ideas have ceased to rule the world.' What Dionysian cults did he understand by 'ideas,' this teacher and prophet of the pre-revolutionary decade, if he had failed to see, at the time of our conversation, what enormous territories and vast numbers of people had just been won over by an idea? The idea in question was that there is an irrefutable scientific truth by means of which, once they are possessed of it, people can foresee the future, change the course of history at will and make it rational. This religion - or science, as it was modestly called by its adepts - invests man with a god-like authority and has its own creed and ethic, as we have seen. In the twenties a good many people drew a parallel with the victory of Christianity, and thought this new religion would also last a thousand years.
During this time, Osip's poetry went silent as he tried to find a vantage point from which to firmly approach and understand this new world. He was not unsympathetic to it, but he was unable to come to terms with its demand for absolute unanimity and lack of doubt, or to go silent. His poetry resumed in the later twenties, though he had an increasingly difficult time being published, and in 1934 was arrested for the first time.

Her description of society's reaction to the Stalin terror is the best I've ever read. There were few heroes who dared to openly challenge it. She writes, "I can testify that nobody I knew fought - all they did was to lie low. This was the most that people with a conscience could do - and even that required real courage." What most people did was to try to save themselves. If they did not become informers, they acted for the benefit of their neighbors who were.
The usual reaction to each new arrest was that some retreated even further into their shells (which, incidentally, never saved them) while others responded with a chorus of jeers for the victim. In the late forties my friend Sonia Vishnevski, hearing every day of new arrests among her friends, shouted in horror: "Treachery and counterrevolution everywhere!" This was how you were supposed to react if you lived in relative comfort and had something to lose. Perhaps there was also an element of primitive magic in such words: what else could we do but try to ward off the evil spirits by uttering charms?
After each show trial, people sighed, 'Well it's all over at last.' What they meant was: Thank God, it looks as though I've escaped. But then there would be a new wave, and the same people would rush to heap abuse on the 'enemies of the people.' There was nothing people wouldn't say about the victims in order to save themselves. 'Stalin doesn't have to cut heads off,' said M., 'they fly off by themselves like dandelions.' I think he said this after reading an article by Kossior and then learning that he had been arrested nevertheless.
Nadezhda sees the terror as a natural outcome of the post-revolutionary value change, the discarding of humanism and faith in the new scientific certainty, and not some accidental anomoly:
This hankering after the idyllic twenties is the result of a legend created by people who were then in their thirties, and by their younger associates. But in reality it was the twenties in which all the foundations were laid for our future: the casuistical dialectic, the dismissal of older values, the longing for unanimity and self-abasement. It is true that those who shouted loudest were then the first to lose their lives - but not before they had prepared the ground for the future.
And she brightly analyzes the purpose and methods of the terror, the quotas of victims that must be met in increasing numbers until continuing the terror is no longer tenable:
The principles and aims of mass terror have nothing in common with ordinary police work or with security. The only purpose of terror is intimidation. To plunge the whole country into a state of chronic fear, the number of victims must be raised to astronomical levels, and on every floor of every building there must always be several apartments from which the tenants have suddenly been taken away. The remaining inhabitants will be model citizens for the rest of their lives - this will be true for every street and every city through which the broom has swept. The only essential thing for those who rule by terror is not to overlook the new generations growing up without faith in their elders, and to keep on repeating the process in systematic fashion. Stalin ruled for a long time and saw to it that the waves of terror recurred from time to time, always on an even greater scale than before. But the champions of terror invariably leave one thing out of account - namely, they can't kill everyone, and among their cowed, half-demented subjects there are always witnesses who survive to tell the tale.
After Osip's arrest, a "miracle" occurred in that he was not shot or sent to a labor camp, but exiled from major cities. With his status as an exile, however, he and Nadezhda could hardly find work in the completely state-controlled economy, as their hiring by anyone could have led to the denouncement and arrest of anyone so "unvigilant" enough to hire an enemy of the people. So they were reduced to begging among their friends and literary circles until Osip's second arrest in 1937 and sudden death shortly thereafter.

Unlike most of her contemporaries even in the post-Stalin "thaw" of the sixties, Nadezhda decided not to keep quiet about her experiences. Writing this memoir was a triumph of individual will and moral strength refusing to be conquered and go silent.
I often wondered whether it is right to scream when you are being beaten and trampled underfoot. Isn't it better to face one's tormentors in a stance of satanic pride, answering them with contemptuous silence? I decided that it is better to scream. This pitiful sound, which sometimes, goodness knows how, reaches into the remotest prison cell, is a concentrated expression of the last vestige of human dignity… If nothing else is left, one must scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.
This stance was mirror of her husband Osip's.
If one were to name the dominant theme in the whole of M.'s life and work, one might say that it was his insistence on the poet's dignity, his position in society and his right to make himself heard.
Reading this incredible book today can be a bit difficult due a couple of factors: the historical insularity and discursive nature of her writing. So many names are discussed that the non-expert in Soviet history and literature will not recognize, and the appendix of names in the back makes for essential flipping back and forth. The narrative of her and Osip's trials, meanwhile, is frequently broken up by these musings on larger societal issues, or stories about people they knew. For instance, shortly before Osip's final arrest they returned to the Moscow region, but after the narrative takes them there we wander off into sixty pages of discussions of what books they used to own, how Osip felt about Italy, poetic theory... and then the narrative story picks up where it was left.

I'll leave off with this hopeful conclusion of Nadezdha Mandelstam:
I realize the possibility of a return to the past, but I still think the general outlook is bright. We have seen the triumph of evil after the values of humanism have been vilified and trampled on. The reason these values succumbed was probably that they were based on nothing except boundless confidence in the human intellect. I think we may now find a better foundation for them, if only because of the lessons we have drawn from our experience. Russia once saved the Christian culture of Europe from the Tatars, and in the past fifty years, by taking the brunt on herself, she has saved Europe again - this time from rationalism and all the will to evil that goes with it. The sacrifice in human life was enormous. How can I believe it was all in vain?
( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
Beautifully written. The poet Osid Mandelstam’s wife writes a series of tight vingettes which together weave an account of life as an intellectual in the days of Stalin and his terror. Depressing, disorienting untethering of sane social order, honesty, trust....all leading to his death of unknown exact time, and manner or cause. The pointless cruelty of it all.
  BookyMaven | Dec 6, 2023 |
Superlative, deeply honest memoir of the poetry years of Nadezhda's famous husband, Osip Mandelstam. Nadezhda asks the questions in 1970, year her book came out, that most were still afriad to ask. What was it like to be an artist under Stalin's totalitarianism? She tells us how life under Stalin's terror contributed to her husband's mental illness. In the midst of The Terror, her husband continued to write poems. What is the purpose of art, she asks, 30 years after Osip's death in a labor camp. Nadezhda writes with both detachment and compassion how she and her husband became completely isolated once Osip had experienced his first arres. Only a provincial, uneducated landlady was unafraid to help them. Indigent, exiled from their home of Moscow, they move from one provincial town to another. The rare target of The Terror who escaped did so by continuing to move -- town to town -- keeping one step ahead of the NKVD. Finally, Osip and Nadezhda are lured to a sanatorium which offered desperately welcomed comfort, regular meals and medical care. It is here that Osip is arrested, transported to a labor camp and -- mercifully, according to Nadezhda --soon dies. One of the better books on Soviet Russia. It remains vibrant 50 years after its writing. ( )
  forestormes | Dec 25, 2022 |
The 20-year old Nadezhda Mandelstam met the poet and her future husband Osip Mandelstam (*1891) in 1919. In these reminiscences - it is more a biography of O.M. than an autobiography as this german edition claims - written in the late 1950s, she looks back on the years with Ossip Mandelstam until he was taken away and died 1938 in a transit camp in Siberia. A Russian edition was published 1970 in New York and translated into German, English, French, .. in the following years. In the Soviet Union it was handed on only as samizdat copies.The German title is a reference to poems by O.M. but an insult to wolves: only humans are capable of inflicting such horrors on their own kind. The English title 'Hope against Hope' is well chosen as nadezhda means "hope" in Russian.

In 83 stories N.M. relates observations and descriptions, encounters and reflections, not always in chronological sequence which can at times be a little confusing. It is a record of the times of terror she lives through with O.M., she tells us more about O.M. and their friend the poetess Anna Akhmatova, than of herself: relationships are poisoned by suspicion, friends become spies, …

I found some of O.M.’s poems translated by Paul Celan, himself a poet, to German in the last volume of his collected works: Paul Celan: Gesammelte Werke in fünf Bänden, Fünfter Band: Übertragungen II, Zweisprachig, Suhrkamp, 1983 ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Oct 20, 2022 |
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» Lisää muita tekijöitä (8 mahdollista)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Nadezhda Mandelstamensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetlaskettu
Brown, ClarenceJohdantomuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu
Kúper de Velasco, LydiaKääntäjämuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

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Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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After slapping Alexei Tolstoy in the face, M. immediately returned to Moscow.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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The story of the poet Osip Mandelstam, who suffered continuous persecution under Stalin, but whose wife constantly supported both him and his writings until he died in 1938. Since 1917 The Modern Library prides itself as The Modern Library of the World's Best Books. Featuring introductions by leading writers, stunning translations, scholarly endnotes and reading group guides. Production values emphasize superior quality and readability. Competitive prices, coupled with exciting cover design make these an ideal gift to be cherished by the avid reader. Of the eighty-one years of her life, Nadezhda Mandelstam spent nineteen as the wife of Russia's greatest poet in this century, Osip Mandelstam, and forty-two as his widow. The rest was childhood and youth." So writes Joseph Brodsky in his appreciation of Nadezhda Mandelstam that is reprinted here as an Introduction. Hope Against Hope was first published in English in 1970. It is Nadezhda Mandelstam's memoir of her life with Osip, who was first arrested in 1934 and died in Stalin's Great Purge of 1937-38. Hope Against Hope is a vital eyewitness account of Stalin's Soviet Union and one of the greatest testaments to the value of literature and imaginative freedom ever written. But it is also a profound inspiration--a love story that relates the daily struggle to keep both love and art alive in the most desperate circumstances.

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