By Lev Loseff, Valentina Polukhina (eds.)
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Extra resources for Brodsky’s Poetics and Aesthetics
It is appropriate, then, that 'Babochka' terminates with a lyrical meditation on 'Nothingness', Nichto. Likened to a 'frail barrier' ('kak legkaia pregrada'), between void and self, the butterfly represents the 'antithetical completion' of Mandelstam's poetic image of the soul, Psyche-life. 52 Brodsky revisionary task is done. The image emerges as imago. 53 Notes 1. K. , 1976 pp. 1-20) has done much to establish subtext in the current critical lexicon as meaning 'poetic reminiscences' and 'other voices'.
See Mandelstam's poem 'Sestry - tiazhest' i nezhnost', odinakovy vashi primety ... ' ['Sisters - heaviness and tenderness, your signs are the same ... '] (1920). Here the 'tenderness' and the 'heaviness' are represented by the green world of 'transparent spring' and, in the last line of the poem, 'emerald' water. The 'black' or 'night' sun image of Tristia has been discussed by several critics. See, particularly, Taranovsky Essays on Mandei'Stam, pp. 54-5; 150-2. The phrase 'reversed commonplace' ('protivopolozhnoe obshchee mesto') is borrowed from Bazarov in Turgenev's Fathers and Children.
If, as has often been asserted, post-tsarist literature in Russia is marked by the advent of Blok's The Twelve, then one may safely say that enigmatic religious conclusions that open up new horizons are as old as Soviet poetry itself. The offering of Self may be construed as the offering of the poem. 31 In any case, it is a Modernist technique 32 that in this instance allows Brodsky to deny an absolute distinction between the living and the dead, a denial already implicit in the oxymoron of nature morte (and its English equivalent: still life).