Personal and Human Tragedy in Akhmatova’s Poem “Requiem”

Topics: Anna Akhmatova, Nikolay Gumilyov, Russia Pages: 9 (3036 words) Published: November 28, 2012
Oxana Sinitsa
Professor Schneider
ENGWR 301 3:00-4:20 T/TH
April 26, 2012
Research Paper
Word Count: 3014
Question # 5
Personal and human tragedy in Akhmatova’s poem “Requiem” In the history of Russian poetry, 20 century was unique time. At that time, many young poets, who were talented and searching for new original ways, entered into literature. The passion for poetry had the mass character, approximately as the computer technology or sports now. But only some of them became a cult figure and had the innovative approach to creation of new themes and images. Anna Akhmatova is one of few names of Russian poetry of 20 century who is noted in decades by an invariance of the reader's likings in spite of the fact that revolutionary shocks and social and historical events of these years were capable to bury irrevocably this lyrical voice into oblivion. But her voice has displayed its strength most strongly than those who tried to suppress it and moreover, it not only sounded then, but also now Akhmatova’s voice reflects in souls of her readers. The future poetess was born in the family of the retired naval engineer Andrey Gorenko on June, 23rd 1889 “in a small cottage on the seashore in Bolshoy Fontan near Odessa.” (Reeder 1) “Moving north eleven months after Anna’s birth, the Gorenko settled in Tsarskoye Selo, the czar’s village, where Anna spent most of her childhood.” (Becerra)This beautiful place was a cradle of her wonderful poems and verses and became a foundation of her creativeness. Akhmatova wrote the first poem when she was eleven years old, and created about two hundred of them in her maidenly years (McNaughton 9). However, her childhood was not a very happy one because of the disharmony between her parents who separated in 1905. “The insecurity of her childhood may have accounted for her own difficulties in her relationship with the men she later lived with.”(Reeder 2) Also, her father did not approve her daughter’s choice to become the poetess and her desire to publish the first set of poems in 1907 and stated that she “besmirched the family name, and the seventeen-year-old changed her name to Akhmatova, as having descended on her mother's side from the Tartar ruler Akhmat, himself a descendant of Genghis Khan, and the last leader of the Golden Horde.” (Simon) Roberta Reeder writes in her book Anna Akhmatova: Poet and Proper”, “Many Russian women had been allowed to take an active part in the political and social life in the country, but few had been accepted as equal to their male peers in the artistic words” because “for a woman to be a poet-is absurd.” (Prologue) But publication of forty-six poems in the first collection “Evening" in the spring of 1912 brought the instant glory for Akhmatova despite the modest edition in three hundred copies (Reeder 46). Despite so early success, her creative and woman's fate took a dramatic turn. Akhmatova has been married several times and has changed five husbands for the life. The first one was talented poet Nikolay Gumilev, who was a father of her son Lev Gumilev, and was shot as “enemy of the people". Her third husband and son were arrested three times and spent many years in Stalin’s prison camps as “enemies of the people” too (McNaughton 19-21). She survived two wars: World War I and World War II, The Russian Revolution of 1917, Russian Civil War, the siege of Leningrad, Great Terror, losses of her relatives and friends during Stalin’s inquisition, the annihilation of her books, the injunction of her poem’s publication and the exclusion from the Union of Soviet Writers. But though Akhmatova met with all kinds of difficulties, but she did not surrender and overcame all vicissitudes of fortune. She saved her inner freedom and continued to write her poem and to love her country and its people. “Regardless of what Akhmatova endured during these years, she never wavered in her allegiance to her native land. She was always upset when foreigners attempted to use her name...
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