Marina Tsvetaeva

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Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva (Russian: Мари́на Ива́новна Цвета́ева; 8 October [O.S. 26 September] 1892–31 August 1941) was a Russian and Soviet poet. Her work is considered among some of the greatest in twentieth century Russian literature.[1] She lived through and wrote of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Moscow famine that followed it. In an attempt to save her daughter Irina from starvation, she placed her in a state orphanage in 1919, where she died of hunger. As an anti-Bolshevik supporter of Imperialism, Tsvetaeva was exiled in 1922, living with her family in increasing poverty in Paris, Berlin and Prague before returning to Moscow in 1939. Shunned and suspect, Tsvetaeva's isolation was compounded. Both her husband Sergey Efron and her daughter Ariadna Efron (Alya) were arrested for espionage in 1941; Alya served over eight years in prison and her husband was executed. Without means of support and in deep isolation, Tsvetaeva committed suicide in 1941. As a lyrical poet, her passion and daring linguistic experimentation mark her striking chronicler of her times and the depths of the human condition.


Early years

Marina Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow, her surname evokes association with flowers. Her father was Ivan Vladimirovich Tsvetaev, a professor of art history at the University of Moscow,[1] who later founded the Alexander III Museum, which is now known as the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts. Tsvetaeva's mother, Maria Alexandrovna Meyn, was Ivan's second wife, was a concert pianist,[1] highly literate, with some Polish ancestry on her mother's side. Tsvetaeva would later come to identify herself with the Polish aristocracy. Tsvetaeva's two half-siblings, Valeria and Andrei, were the children of Ivan's deceased first wife, Varvara Dmitrievna Ilovaiskaya, daughter of the historian Dmitry Ilovaisky. Tsvetaeva's only full sister, Anastasia, was born in 1894. Quarrels among the children were frequent and occasionally violent. There was considerable tension between Tsvetaeva's mother and Varvara's children, and Tsvetaeva's father maintained close contact with Varvara's family. Tsvetaeva's father was kind, but deeply wrapped up in his studies and distant from his family. He was also still deeply in love with his first wife; he would never get over her. Maria Tsvetaeva, had had a love affair before her marriage, from which she never recovered. Maria Tsvetaeva disapproved of Marina's poetic inclination, wishing her daughter to become a pianist, holding the opinion that her poetry was poor.

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