A Captive Spirit: Collected Prose / ISBN 9780875011776 / 496-page paperback from Ardis Publishers / discounted copies but in nice condition (light cover wear, spine denting)
Exiled in Paris and isolated in the émigré community during this period, Tsvetaeva became increasingly aware of the importance of biography, history, and myth. Her famous portraits of the poets Maximilian Voloshin and Andrei Bely reveal her remarkable capacities as an eyewitness, while her moving accounts of her father and mother, sisters and brother, seen through a child's eyes, comprise the most lyrical of family chronicles. The final section of the book, juxtaposing two works of literary criticism, demonstrates her formidable critical and analytical intelligence.
Tsvetaeva composed her prose to be read aloud, and these essays, full of extrodinary vitality, reflect the urgency of one who writes to discover the essential truths hidden in the past. A Captive Spirit is a remarkable collection of work from, as Vladimir Nabokov described her, "a writer of genius."
Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow in 1892. Her first volume of poetry was published in 1910 and attracted notice from some of the most important critics and poets in Russia, including Maximilian Voloshin. In 1922, following the Russian Civil War, she went into exile in Paris, where she became one of the leading writers of the emigre community. In 1939, she returned to the Soviet Union, and her husband was arrested shortly thereafter and subsequently executed by the NKVD. Tsvetaeva committed suicide in Elabuga, a small town to which she had been evacuated following the onset of World War II, in 1941.