The Ethics of the Poet
Marina Tsvetaeva's Art in the Light of Conscience

Ute Stock

MHRA Texts and Dissertations 62

Maney Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association

1 May 2005  •  177pp

ISBN: 978-1-904350-41-5 (paperback)  •  RRP £25, $40

ModernRussianPoetry


This study rehabilitates Tsvetaeva as a serious, innovative ethical thinker who developed an ethics for the poet that could dispense with universal value guarantees. For Tsvetaeva, ethical judgements had to be individual rather than universal, open to revision rather than permanent. Examining her ideational background, the study sheds new light on the pre-exile years, when Tsvetaeva suffered from a profound uncertainty about the moral nature and duty of the poet. It identifies the experience of exile as a catalyst for the development of her ethical thought that culminated in 'Iskusstvo pri svete sovesti'. Considering Tsvetaeva's application of her ethics in her life, this study reveals her emphasis on the personal to be the direct result of her ethical belief in individual judgements. Her conscious effort persistently to counteract dominant political ideologies similarly stems from her ethical suspicion of any kind of claim on universal truth. Finally the study assesses the significance of Tsvetaeva's suicide, revealing it to be the inevitable, terrifying consequence of her ethical self-definition, her commitment to individual freedom, and the pursuit of higher truths.

Reviews:

  • ‘This book is an important contribution to Tsvetaeva studies, and its examination of an overlooked aspect of the poet’s work should provoke many readers to return to the texts it discusses, open to new insight and wary of categorical judgements.’ — Katharine Hodgson, Modern Language Review 102, 2007, 610 (full text online)
  • ‘This is an important and serious study of Tsvetaeva's ethical poetics as it evolved in exile... The study provides an important addition to the existing critical literature on the poet and her thought.’ — Greta Slobin, Russian Review 67, 2008, 327-28

Bibliography entry:

Stock, Ute, The Ethics of the Poet: Marina Tsvetaeva's Art in the Light of Conscience, MHRA Texts and Dissertations, 62 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2005)

First footnote reference: 35 Ute Stock, The Ethics of the Poet: Marina Tsvetaeva's Art in the Light of Conscience, MHRA Texts and Dissertations, 62 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2005), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Stock, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Stock, Ute. 2005. The Ethics of the Poet: Marina Tsvetaeva's Art in the Light of Conscience, MHRA Texts and Dissertations, 62 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Stock 2005: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Stock 2005: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


This title was first published by Maney Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association but rights to it are now held by Modern Humanities Research Association.

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