Publication Date

2012

Journal

Russian Literature

Volume

71

Issue

1

First Page

75

Last Page

99

Abstract

In this study I consider the role of poetic description in Pasternak’s ‘Deviat’sot piatyi god’ (‘1905’) in the context of the genre of the poema. Descriptive passages in poetic narratives, as a rule, provide a static setting for a protagonist’s actions. In the absence of any single hero in Pasternak’s poema, topography itself begins to move. I examine the categories of stasis and motion, central to ‘1905’, at the intersection of the visual and the verbal. The idea of reanimating the events of the first Russian revolution twenty years after the fact borders on the ekphrastic in places, where the poet transposes techniques and genres from the visual arts into a verse epic. Finally, I suggest that aesthetic perception itself is the dominant principle in the poema, as opposed to documentary faithfulness, which is traditionally emphasized in the scholarship on this work.

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