Tjutchev Euphony and Beyond

Elizabeth Ginzburg
xi + 249

Just as the key to Fedor Tjutchev’s life is his poetry, the key to his euphonious lyrics is sound. Tjutchev’s poetry demonstrates how he greatly extended the field of poetic sound form, much beyond the accomplishments of his predecessors. This study develops an original, functional approach to the structural role of assonance as expressed in his works. The functional approach is supplemented with the analytic methods of poetics and lingua-poetics, as well as those of musicology and the theory of music, and employs some common modes of musical analysis in order to treat sound in lyrics as part of a formal system. “For the general lover of poetry, Elizabeth Ginzburg’s book provides fascinating information and insights into the special role of sound in poetic language and into how sound produces and participates in meaning. This study of Tjutchev’s lyrics is a ‘must’ for versification specialists—and not just those in Russian poetry. It offers new approaches in theory and methodology applicable to any Western poetic tradition. The author’s dual expertise in musicology and Russian prosody combine here to produce a unique book.” — Anna Lisa Crone, University of Chicago “Tjutchev: Euphony and Beyond comprises an original approach to the study of verse structure. The author proposes to consider two major verse models, the dynamic (found in Tjutchev, Derzhavin, and Pushkin) and the static (identified in Fet). The work has a particular focus on the role of stressed vowels, as outlined in part 1, ‘Sound and Structure,’ and turns to anagrams in part 2, ‘Sound and Meaning.’ While there have been previous tentative explorations of such subjects as assonance, or anagrams, Elizabeth Ginzburg goes further than other scholars in showing the effect that both features can have on the organization and meaning of a poem. As a person with musical training, she also brings a fresh emphasis to investigating the relationship between music and poetry. In all these regards the book will prove of value to those interested in the study of verse.” — Barry P. Scherr, Mandel Family Professor of Russian, Dartmouth College