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Angel Classics > The Ratcatcher: A lyrical satire

Angel Classics The Ratcatcher: A lyrical satire

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Marina Tsevetaeva (1891.1941) is acknowledged as one of the greatest of Russian poets. Like much of the most original Russian literature written since 1917, however, her narrative poem The Ratcatcher remained unpublished in Russia for some decades.

Tsevetaeva wrote this extraordinary work, which she subtitled 'a lyrical satire', in Prague and Paris in the mid-1920s. Using the story known to us as 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin', she pits Art against Philistinism in a critique of all social search for material prosperity (including that of the Bolsheviks). Even for the innovative Tsvetaeva, this is quite a new kind of writing - an explosion of clashing sounds, voices and rhythms, fuelled by anger and bitter sarcasm. At the end the Piper, who stands for the magical power of Art, takes a terrible toll on the children of the town of Hamelin - neat, comfort-loving, hypocritical and reluctant to pay its debts.

The critic D. S. Mirsky saw The Ratcatcher as 'the first really successful attempt to emancipate the language of Russian poetry from the tyranny of Greek, Latin and French ..', and found in it 'wit in the most imaginative 17th-century meaning of the word'. This peak of Tsvetaeva's verse has hitherto been virtually unknown in English. Angela Livingstone, long associated with 20th-century Russian poetry and with Tsvetaeva in particular, brilliantly recreates its wild music.

'This translation is just dazzling; it inspires absolute confidence. I enjoyed and admired it most intensely... I should never have anticipated your skill with the cracklingly concrete, colloquial, immediate, and elliptical brilliance of this piece'. - Michael Frayn, letter to the translator

'or the first time we have a readable Tsvetaeva which persuades us that she must have been a very great poet' - Lachlan MacKinnon, Times Literary Supplement

Title details

Series Angel Classics Title The Ratcatcher: A lyrical satire
Subject Russian Language English
Market Adolescent/Adult Level Fluent/native speakers
Publication Date January 1999 Authors Marina Tsvetaeva / Angela Livingstone
Binding Paperback Pages 128
Size(mm) N/A Weight (gms) 180
ESB Code 55776 ISBN 9780946162611
Inspection Copy No Delivery In Stock - will be despatched next business day
  Price £9.95

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