A Sense of Place Tsarskoe Selo and Its Poets Papers from the 1989 Dartmouth Conference Dedicated to the Centennial of Anna Akhmatova

Edited by Lev Loseff and Barry Scherr

A Sense of Place contains papers, from a conference dedicated to Akhmatova's centennial, which focus not on her poetry by itself, but on the place where she spent her formative years, Tsarskoe Selo (now, of course, called Pushkin), and on the poetic tradition that was connected with the town. By Akhmatova's day Tsarskoe Selo was fraught with connotations: it was, thanks to Pushkin and the other poets who had attended the lycee, in a sense the birthplace of modern Russian literature, at the same time that its formal layout and striking architecture created an ambience of their own. Around the turn of the century an entire cluster of poets became closely associated with the town, including Innokenty Annensky, Nikolai Gumilev, and Vasily Komarovsky. The contributions to the conference, taken as a group, comprise an exploration of what might be termed the poetics of Tsarskoe Selo. Some papers examine the effect of the town on Akhmatova's poetry or on that of her contemporaries, others look at the relationship among the writers who lived there and who formed a kind of Russian Bloomsbury, and still others focus on the sculpture and landscaping of Tsarskoe Selo, which in turn had a great effect on the poetry. In short, the collection, taking an interdisciplinary approach, attempts to define what might be termed a "Tsarskoe Selo style." A recognition of that style not only provides insights into the writings (and lives) of this particular set of poets, but it can also help lead to an understanding of the ways in which other locals have interacted with and influenced various schools of literature. Contents: Peter Hayden: Tsarskoe Selo: The History of the Ekaterininskii and Aleksandrovskii Parks; Lev Loseff: The Toy Town Ruined; Andrei Ariev: "The Splendid Darkness of a Strange Garden": Tsarskoe Selo in the Russian Poetic Tradition and Akhmatova's "Ode to Tsarskoe Selo"; Anna Lise Crone: Akhmatova and the Passing of the Swans: Horatian Tradition and Tsarskoe Selo; Anatoly Naiman: The Place of Tsarskoe Selo in Akhmatova's Poetry; Sonia Ketchian: Returns to Tsarskoe Selo in the Verse of Anna Akhmatova; Wendy Rosslyn: Remodelling the Statues at Tsarskoe Selo: Akhmatova's Approach to the Poetic Tradition; Nancy Pollack: Annensky's "Trefoil in the Park" (Witness of Whiteness); A. E. Anikin: "Classical" and "Tsarskoe Selo" in the Works of Annensky: Some Observations in Regard to Acmeism; Michael Basker: Gumilev, Annensky and Tsarskoe Selo: Gumilev's "Tsarskosel'skii krug idei"; Barry Scherr: Gumilev and Parnassianism; Tomas Venclova: The Exemplary Resident of Tsarksoe Selo and the Great Pupil of the Lycïe: Some Observations on the Poetics of Count Vasily Alekseevich Komarovsky; Andre Ustinov: Two Episodes from the Biography of Nikolai Gumilev; Valery Sazhin: On Publishing History of a Bibliography of Tsarskoe Selo. Appendix I: Publication. E. F. Gollerbakh: Recollections of Tsarskoe Selo {A Publication Prepared and Introduced by E. A. Gollerbakh}. Appendix II: Synopses of other papers. Iury Molok: Pushkin's Monuments; Roman Timenchik: On Akhmatova's Tsarskoe-Selo Code; A. E. Parnis: The Futurist Khlebnikov as a Successor to the Tsarskoe Selo Tradition.