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Forms of Hope: Essays

Tomas Venclova

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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 1 878818 70 6
Categories: 20th Century
Imprint: Sheep Meadow Press
Published: July 2011
241 x 165 x 32 mm
288 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Author
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  • Tomas Venclova, the great Lithuanian poet, has for a quarter of acentury been one of the lonely representatives of the conscience of Lithuania. He belongs to a distinguished line of late-twentieth-century poets, one that includes Czeslaw Milosz and Joseph Brodsky. They are the cosmopolitan exiles, 'the transplanted spirits whose fate has been to burrow back into the mother tongue to claim the home that history denied them'. This drama also plays out in Venclova's Forms of Hope: essays and public statements on political and literary subjects. As an essayist, Venclova writes that he has been occupied by two basic themes: Vilnius, his native city, 'through whose example one could easily trace all of the complexity and tragedy of ethnic and national relations in Eastern Europe,' and 'the eastern European writer's response to the totalitarian challenge'. These studies of contemporary history and writers are themselves part of the struggle.

    Introduction i
    Letter to the Communist Party
    A dialogue about a City
    Jews and Lithuanians
    Russians and Lithuanians
    South African Diary
    On the Choise between Democracy and Nationalism
    Balkans and Baltics
    Poems Melted into Ice

    I. Literature
    1. Literary Essays
    An Exercise in Futility - The Case of Andrei Kurbsky
    Czeslaw Milosz: Despair and Grace
    Poetry as Atonement
    Three Russian Poets
    'Lithuanian Divertissement,' by Joseph Brodsky
    A journey from Petersburg to Istanbul
    Prison as communicative phenomenon: The literature of the gulag
    The Game of the Soviet Censor
    Odi et Amo

    II. Review Essays
    A poet in Stalin's Winter
    Art and Danger
    In the Lion's Mouth
    On the Art of Writing in the USSR
    war and Pieces
    Out of Chaos
    Making It
    The Nonexistent Arrow
    The Obscene House

    Tomas Venclova was born in the Lithuania of 1937. A book of his poetry, Winter Dialogue, was published by Northwestern University Press. He is a professor of Slavic languages and literatures at Yale University, and has been a visiting professor at Harvard, Columbia, and Berkeley. ... read more
    'Venclova's Forms of Hope is poignant and eloquent work, merging literary criticism with moral insight. One believes that Mandelstam and Babel might have rejoiced in it.'
    Harold Bloom
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