Issue 1
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Issue 1

The Language of the End and the Language of the World in The Poem of the End by Marina Tsvetaeva


This article presents a reading of the 1924 long poema, The Poem of the End by Marina Tsvetaeva. The reading focuses on Tsvetaeva’s development of the theme and notion of “the end” in the farewell scenes that make up the poem and that take place as a lyrical dialogue between the male, lyrical “you” and the female lyrical “I.” I show that the poet employs a method of bracketing common sense ideas of the end, represented by the “you,” in a phenomenological reduction, by opposing them to the very consequences of this end for the lyrical I. The lyrical I not only grieves, but loses her means of attaining an inner life, and therefore she disintegrates, dismembers, just as her language. The consequence is a radical modernist break in The Poem of the End with lyrical language and meter, because here she breaks with the idea that language, or a better language, will offer a birthplace of a higher self. Poetic language, as we learn from Tsvetaeva, offers only a home in the words if it bespeaks the utter homelessness of the inner self being disintegrated or dismembered.


exile poetry, Heidegger, Marina Tsvetaeva, modernism, phenomenology, Poem of the End