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Hope Against Hope

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  769 ratings  ·  75 reviews
The story of the poet Osip Mandelstam, who suffered continuous persecution under Stalin, but whose wife constantly supported both him and his writings until he died in 1938. Hope Against Hope was first published in English in 1970. It is Nadezhda Mandelstam's memoir of her life with Osip, who was first arrested in 1934 and died in Stalin's Great Purge of 1937-38. Hope Agai ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published January 1st 2000 by Kuperard (Bravo Ltd) (first published 1970)
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4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  769 ratings  ·  75 reviews

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Mohammad Ali

کتابی است به شدت خواندنی که در آن هم از شعر و ادبیات سخن رفته، هم از تاریخ و سیاست و فرهنگ - همه ذیل یک زندگی نامه ی شخصی. اصلا نباید فکر کرد که با خاطراتی صرفا شخصی روبروئیم. شیوه ی ورود نادژدا به مطلب و حاشیه رفتن هایش هم بسی خواندنی است. چنانکه خود نادزدا گفته او یک "شاهد"ه و تبعا این کتاب یک شهادت نامه

حاشیه: خیلی عجیبه که روی جلد هیچ اشاره ای به این مطلب نیست که با خاطرات بک فرد روبروئیم. من که بشخصه فکر می کردم کسی در مورد وضعیت روشنفکران اثری نوشته. کار درستی نبوده این پنهانکاری. اما کتاب
Aug 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
We live, not sensing our own country beneath us,
Ten steps away they dissolve, our speeches,
But where enough meet for half-conversation,
The Kremlin hillbilly is our preoccupation.
They’re like slimy worms, his fat fingers,
His words, as solid as weights of measure.
In his cockroach moustaches there’s a hint
Of laughter, while below his top boots gleam.
Round him a mob of thin-necked henchmen,
He pursues the enslavement of the half-men.
One whimpers, another warbles,
A third miaows, but he alone prods and
Chris Coffman
Aug 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those exploring the human soul
Only a process that is very beautiful and very terrible could produce this book: the anguish of two human souls being tormented by a cruel, fiendishly clever, and virtually all-powerful State determined to murder both the body and soul of its victims. Whether we deserve to benefit as readers from the terrible tempering endured by the poet Osip Mandelstam and his widow Nadezhda Mandelstam is a matter that can be easily determined: we do not deserve it. We are not worthy of the Mandelstams. They b ...more
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
Unlike many wives of famous husbands who tend to emphasize that their husbands would've been nothing without their love and support (or their vanity let's call a spade a spade), Nadezhda Mandelstam wrote an absolutely heartbreaking and devastating chronicle of her husband's life which she happened to share as a fellow traveller and devoted supporter, not as a glamorous muse. Her immense talent of a storyteller makes her memoirs a lot more than just memories of Mandelstam and their life. Nadezhda ...more
Sep 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Utterly heartbreaking. An essential witness.

"Anticipating his arrest M. obtained a copy of the Divine Comedy in small format and always had it with him in his pocket, just in case he was arrested not at home but in the street."

"And after his death--or even before it, perhaps--he lived on in camp legend as a demented old man of seventy who had once written poetry in the outside world and was therefore nicknamed The Poet. And another old man--or was it the same one?--lived in the transit camp of V
Akram Khatam
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
زندگی نامه ای بسیار خواندنی ،نوشته نادژدا همسر شاعر روس اوسیپ ماندلشتام
کتاب را نباید صرفا زندگی نامه تصور کرد ،در ورق ورق کتاب تاریخ دیکتاتوری استالین ترسیم میشود و سرنوشت تیره و رنجبار روشنفکران
ماندلشتام برای سرودن شعری در هجو استالین جانش را در اردوگاه های روس از دست داد
ما زندگی میکنیم بی انکه خاک را زیر پای خود احساس کنیم
آنچه میگوییم ده گام دورتر شنیده نمیشود
و زمانی که میخواهیم دهن هایمان را نیمه باز کنیم
آن ایلیاتی کوهنشین کرملین بازمان میدارد
انگشتان ستبر چونان کرمهای لزج
فرامین لازم الاجرا ب
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable book (so far). Mandelstam landed in hot water for this poem on Stalin (which is sometimes called the "Kremlin Mountaineer"):

We live, deaf to the land beneath us,
Ten steps away no one hears our speeches,

All we hear is the Kremlin mountaineer,
The murderer and peasant-slayer.

His fingers are fat as grubs
And the words, final as lead weights, fall from his lips,

His cockroach whiskers leer
And his boot tops gleam.

Around him a rabble of thin-necked leaders -
fawning half-men for him to
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Mandelstam’s memoir of her and her husband’s life in Soviet Russia between 1934 and 1938, between which times he is twice taken into the Gulag, the second time fatally, is among the best and most powerful of nonfiction books. It is not only a unique and exceptionally frank personal testament but a work of art.

Nadezhda means “hope” in Russian, which makes the title a wryly ironic pun. Mandelstam’s wit and resilience are the twin beacons that light this memoir of life in a relentlessly dark time.
Jun 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Madeline by: Aya
If you are anything like me, you'll start to feel pretty bad about eating while reading Hope Against Hope - even drinking tea starts to feel like you're mocking Mandelstam and her friends. "Look at me, sitting here in my capitalist comfort, my hybrid bourgeois-intelligentsia existence, with the air conditioning on and very little chance of being arrested. How can I stand myself."

So, yeah, it took me a while to get through this. Partly because it's loosely structured, so sometimes it's hard to fo
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biophilia
Moved up on the "to reread queue", perhaps right after Proust.
Feb 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
First and foremost, M.'s book is entirely engaging and engrossing memoir. Several of its features are most striking and prominent in my mind as I write these comments.

Nadia is fully present on every page. The sort of person she was is fully evident in every paragraph - for the most part a strong-minded, unshakably independent, clear sighted, uncompromisingly honest observer of her time and place, who could not be moved or broken under years of relentless and unremitting repression at the hands o
Laia Pérez G
Ressenya completa ací:
Com puc ressenyar un llibre que m'ha sobrepassat en tots els sentits? Sincerament, me senc un poc ridícula opinant sobre l'obra de Nadejda Mandelstam. L'autora ens conta la vida amb el seu marit, el poeta Òssip Mandelstam, durant els anys trenta a la Unió Soviètica. Una ment lucidíssima ens narra les calamitats i les horrors que es sofrien aleshores (concretament ens parla de la repressió i mort a la intel·lectualitat). Una història
Claudia Putnam
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, history, memoir
The introduction by Joseph Brodsky claims N Mandelstam is not a writer but that you should read this anyway for the content and context. Bullshit. As someone somewhere else has said, this is probably the finest work of dissident writing about the USSR done, Solzhenitsyn included. Sure, it wanders in time and sometimes gets into details about Russian schools of writing that I was less interested in, but that's a thing with Russians and Russian literature (esp the part about the structure).

Lutzka Zivny
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book should be the opposite of uplifting. It should leave one devastated and hopeless, yet mysteriously it has the opposite effect.
I would encouraged anyone going through difficult times to read it. I would pretty much encourage anyone to read it. See if I throw the term "life changing experience" around lightly.
Oh, you will also learn tun about poetry and history.

Your image, tormenting and elusive,
I could not touch in the mist.
“God!” I said by mistake,
never thinking to say that myself.

Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
By examining the rise of totalitarianism in Russia, this book answers the question of how a whole society can be controlled and manipulated into blindly accepting the power of their leaders, no matter how corrupt they may be. This book is incredible; a highly recommended, life-changing read.
Apr 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography-memoir
ما زندگی میکنیم بیآنکه خاک را زیر پای خود احساس کنیم
آنچه میگوییم ده گام دورتر شنیده نمیشود
و زمانی که میخواهیم دهنهایمان را نیمهباز کنیم
آن ایلیاتی کوهنشین کرملین بازمان میدارد
انگشتان ستبر چونان کرمهای لزج
فرامین لازمالاجرا به وزن چهل پوند
پاکت چرمیاش چون گوسالههای براق
و چشمان سوسکیِ به خنده نشستهاش
گرداگردش جماعتی رئیس گردنباریک
جان نثاریشان ملعبهی دستش
زوزه میکشند، میومیو میکنند و ناله
او یکه و تنها سیخونک میزند و بس
با انگشتان یا با عربدههایش.

شعر فوق را اوسیپ ماندلشتام در وصف استالین سروده و در حضور
John Forbis
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all poets and those who want insights into an artist during the Stalinist era.
Recommended to John Forbis by: another book
Osip Mandelstam wrote in a scathing poem about Stalin:

Our lives no longer feel ground under them.
At ten paces you can’t hear our words.

But whenever there’s a snatch of talk
it turns to the Kremlin mountaineer,

the ten thick worms his fingers,
his words like measures of weight,

the huge laughing cockroaches on his top lip,
the glitter of his boot-rims.

In a time of no one's "lives feel ground under our feet" except Stalin and his "half-men" who offer their "tributes" to "toy with" and who benefit from
Noah Hillyard
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is in many ways an extraordinary book and fully deserving of its prominent place in the canon of 20th century literature on Stalinism, and totalitarianism more generally. While there are parts, particularly about Osip Mandelstam’s literary tastes, which are rather impenetrable for those without a strong grounding in Russian literature, I have not come across as evocative an account of how pervasive and all-consuming the climate of fear was amongst all Soviet citizens in the 1930s.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro que reflexiona y se cuestiona sobre el significado de lo humano con una gran lucidez en un momento histórico en el que en Rusia, la barbarie y el horror se respiraba a cada paso. Nadiezhda Mandelstam, viuda del poeta Ósip Mandelstam, escribe estas memorias recordando su vida junto a su marido, el cual morirá en la Gulag. Una historia de amor tejida entre más sombras que luces, pero que vive y respira esperanza por doquier. Muy recomendable.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بی نظیر تلخ و بیان سختی هایی که بر روشنفکران در دوره استالین گذشت این کتاب بی نظیر را از دست ندهید تا بفهمیم چه زحماتی کشیدند طبقه روشنفکر شوروی تا حقیقت کمونیسم را به جهان بفهمانند
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This account which broaches many aspects of the Soviet system and Osip Mandelstam’s life prior to his first arrest in 1934, focuses on the years of exile and unfair persecution throughout the Stalinist terror that led to Mandelstam’s murder on his way to Kolyma in 1938.

Nadezhda’s devotion to Osip and to his work is otherworldly. The sense of dignity of both of them, their commitment to truth through hardship and the unflinching moral (and physical) courage it requires, is soul-striking andmakes
Erin Bow
Osip Mandelstam was one of the four great poets of 20th century Russia. I came across him because one of the other poets, Akhmatova, is one of my all-time favorites, and I was told I really could not set about memorizing her Requiem without knowing more about Mandelstam and what happened to him. So piece by piece I found my way to this book, the memoir of his wife and widow, Nadezhda, or Nadia -- whose name means hope.

Though Nadia did other things, and is important in other ways, this is a memo
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Nadezhda Mandelstam was the wife, and later widow, of the poet Osip Mandelstam. He is considered one of the four great poets of twentieth century Russia: Boris Pasternak, Anna Akhmatova, and Marina Tsvetaeva are the others (I think an argument could be made for Andrei Blok). "Hope Against Hope" narrates the Mandelstams' perilous voyage through the punitive bureaucracy of Stalinist Russia: from Moscow to prison to the south and, then, for the poet, to the prison camp where he died. His offense, a ...more
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, history, library
This is a stunning memoir, and probably the book that best captures the sinister surrealism of the Stalinist era in the Soviet Union. Nadezhda Mandelstam, wife of the blacklisted poet Osip Mandelstam, describes their lives in the four years between when Osip ran afoul of Stalin and when he was finally sent to a labor camp (where he subsequently died). Her writing is beautiful and tragic, a paean of love to her lost spouse and a blistering critique of tyranny. If I could give this more than five ...more
Miquel  Adam
Estic entre les tres o quatre estrelles perquè, malgrat ser força irregular, reiteratiu i desestructurat —salts en el temps que poden arribar a fer-te perdre, detalla molt i molt bé com l'stalinisme va destruir tota una generació d'intel·lectuals mitjançant la delació, la tortura i la por. M'hi han sobrat els capítuls dedicats a l'anàlisi de la poètica de Mandelstam, però hi ha reflexions i capítols veritablement bons.
Jan 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My daughter's name was inspired, in part, by this woman. This book is incredible. The author was the wife of a Russian poet killed during Stalin's regime. Her writings on living in such a bizarre political environment should be, I believe, required reading for all. She captures the crazy mindsets of the leaders, followers and everyone in between.
Introduction, by Clarence Brown
Translator's Preface

--Hope against Hope


A. Notes on Persons Mentioned in the Text
B. Note on Literary Movements and Organizations

Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
so intelligent, but simply observed. no hysteria, just life, while stalin's jailers & inquisitors hound her husband Osip Mandelstam, great Russian, anti-Soviet poet to death.
Lee Razer
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, russia
A powerful and insightful window into the first couple of decades of post-revolution Soviet Russia. Nadezhda Mandelstam, educator and widow of Osip Mandelstam, one of Russia's greatest poets of the twentieth century and one of millions of Stalin's victims, wrote this account in the 1960s. It is thanks to her efforts that much of his poetry survived to the present day, but her own literary contribution here towers beside those writings of her husband.

It is a memoir of these two specific people, y
Angela María Guzmán
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rusos
Un hermoso, triste y terrible libro marcado muchas veces por el pesimismo que narra la realidad de una época caracterizada por el totalitarismo que se ensañó de manera especial contra aquellos intelectuales y poetas que de manera tácita o expresa se negaron a prostituir su obra en pos del régimen imperante. Así, Nadiezna en su papel de testigo y narradora nos cuenta las vicisitudes por la que ella y su esposo, el gran poeta Osip Mandelstam, tuvieron que pasar, pero también, las de de todo un pue ...more
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Nadezhda Yakovlevna Mandelstam (Russian: Надежда Яковлевна Мандельштам, née Hazin; 31 October 1899 – 29 December 1980) was a Russian writer and a wife of poet Osip Mandelstam.
Born in Saratov into a middle-class Jewish family, she spent her early years in Kiev. After the gymnasium she studied art.
After their marriage in 1921, Nadezhda and Osip Mandelstam lived in Ukraine, Petrograd, Moscow, and Geo
“I decided it is better to scream. Silence is the real crime against humanity.” 2520 likes
“And after his death - or even before it, perhaps - he lived on in camp legend as a demented old man of seventy who had once written poetry in the outside world and was therefore nicknamed The Poet. And another old man - or was it the same one? - lived in the transit camp of Vtoraya Rechka, waiting to be shipped to Kolyma, and was thought by many people to be Osip Mandelstam - which, for all I know, he may have been. That is all I have been able to find out about the last days, illness and death of Mandelstam. Others know very much less about the death of their dear ones.” 6 likes
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