Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Nadezhda Yakovlevna Khazina Mandelstam (muhn-dyihl-SHTAHM), the wife of the poet Osip Mandelstam, preserved the poetry of her husband until it could be published abroad. In two powerful memoirs, she castigates the Soviet regime which persecuted him and sent him to his death. In her two volumes of memoir and one essay-memoir, she served as eloquent witness to his moral and poetic values, which posed a humane challenge to the terror of Joseph Stalin’s Soviet Union. Her work gives abundant testimony of Mandelstam’s courage and creativity in the Soviet cultural milieu of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Though she herself wrote some fiction and might under other circumstances have produced a different body of work, her intense devotion to her husband and his work became motive and content of her major literary output. A story of her life is necessarily the story of his; early suspected of dissidence as he had been, their life together was precarious and finally tragic. As the widow of a condemned man, she spent the long years after his death in remote parts of the Soviet Union working as a teacher, barely making enough money to survive.
Nadezhda Khazina, the daughter of educated parents, met Osip Mandelstam in 1919 in Kiev when she was a student of art and foreign languages and he was an emerging poet in the innovative Acmeist group. They were separated for a year and a half amid the dislocations of civil war, but after they were reunited in Kiev in 1921 they...
(The entire section is 1486 words.)
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