The generic intertext of psalms in the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941)

Ossipow Cheang, Sarah (2008) The generic intertext of psalms in the poetry of Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941). PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This study investigates the presence of the genre of psalms in Tsvetaeva's poetry by means of Alastaire Fowler's theory of the historical persistence of literary genres throughout history. The main argument is that in her intertextual use of psalms Tsvetaeva develops further some of their typical features such as the expression of bafflement at God's passivity or an over-familiarity in addressing God; although these features are already present in psalms, they are not given a full-blown realisation because of the religious restrictions reigning at the time and context in which they were written.

Chapter One presents the theoretical tools used in this research, namely the concomitant concepts of intertextuality and genre: intertextuality focuses on how texts differ from one another, while genre theory highlights the resemblance existing between a set of texts. Taken together these concepts offer a balanced and multisided approach.

Chapter Two presents the psalms and outlines its importance in Russian poetry. It also discusses Tsvetaeva's spiritual outlook.

Chapter Three demonstrates that the integration of the generic intertext of psalms into Tsvetaeva's poetry results in the modification of their praying function: Tsvetaeva's psalm-like praises to God contain a veiled expression of doubt that is absent from the Psalter; another change of the praying function of psalms performed in Tsvetaeva's poetry consists in the implicit denunciation of the absence of a feminine voice.

Chapter Four shows that Tsvetaeva's mixture of the psalmic intertext with the genre of diary-writing, epistolary writing and folk songs create a fruitful interaction between the universal tone of the psalmist and the private concerns voiced in diary, letters or folk laments.

Chapter Five shows that in her poetry Tsvetaeva develops further some typical features of psalms such as the theme of the sacred land and that of God's passivity.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Rosslyn, W.A.
Keywords: Marina Tsvetaeva, Russian poetry, intertextuality, genre theory, psalms
Subjects: P Language and literature > PG Slavic, Baltic, Albanian languages and literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 10554
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2008
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2017 16:22

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