n Slavic Almanac : The South African Journal for Slavic, Central and Eastern European Studies - The poetics of the late Zabolotsky versus the mass literary and artistic tastes of the pre-revolutionary past

Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-3386


The poems Zabolotsky wrote during the years 1940-1950 differ fundamentally from those he created during the period 1920-1930. These 'early' and 'late' periods are separated by the eight years during which the poet was excluded from literary life due to his arrest, imprisonment and exile to a labour camp. The extreme living conditions Zabolotsky endured during these years changed his poetic points of reference. If, during the earlier period, his poetry and painting were inspired by the spirit of the avant-garde of the years 1910-1920, during the later period he turned to those patterns of mass literary tastes that had prevailed two decades earlier, and proved to be significantly more conservative and banal. This article aims to interrogate the sources of several poems written during the later period of Zabolotsky's life, and which returned to the kind of poetics largely forgotten during the Soviet epoch (e.g. V. Benedictov, A. Apukhtin, A. Meisner) or that which was evident in popular poems during the pre-revolutionary period (e.g. S. Safonov).

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