Other literary forms

(World Poets and Poetry)

The essays and reviews of Joseph Brodsky (BROD-skee), some of which have been collected in Less than One: Selected Essays (1986), are valuable in their own right; brilliant, arrogant, and idiosyncratic, they establish Brodsky as one of the finest poet-essayists of the twentieth century. Among Brodsky’s subjects are Osip and Nadezhda Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetayeva (unlike most of his prose, his two essays on Tsvetayeva, one brief and one extended, were written in Russian, the language Brodsky normally reserves for his poetry), W. H. Auden, Constantine P. Cavafy, and Eugenio Montale. The essay “Less than One” is an extraordinary meditation on the city of Leningrad, part memoir and part cultural history.