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The Ratcatcher

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Winner of 2000 Heldt Translation Prize

The Ratcatcher,
Marina Tsvetaeva's masterpiece, is a satirical version of the Pied Piper of Hamelin legend in the form of a complex narrative poem that bears all the marks of Tsvetaeva's poetic style. Written in 1926, it was not available in Russia until 1965, and has hitherto been virtually unknown in English.
Paperback, 123 pages
Published September 1st 2000 by Northwestern University Press (first published 1983)
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Eℓℓis ♥
Graffiante poemetto satirico, suddiviso in sei canti, che prende di mira la condotta egoistica della borghesia sovietica usando a modello una fiaba senza tempo: il Pifferaio magico.
Federica
* * *
Intatto il lucchetto
intonso il tappeto-
nelle case dei ricchi
cos'è primo? l'odore.

Deciso, come un gusto,
spietato, come la Torà.
spudorato come un ascesso
sul grugno dell'attore.

Tutta la carne della materia,
(i conti rilegati
in zigrino!) tutta
la materialità della carne

sta lì: cancrena fino al midollo.
Non si scherza con la lebbra

Non l'essenza delle cose-
la cosalità dell'essenza:

il suo aroma- tutto!
Ci sono odori che sferzano!
Non la sostanza delle cose:
la sostanzialità della cosa.

Non l'essenza de
...more
Paolo Maria
Oct 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Encomiabile operazione di (buona) resa in italiano di un testo intraducibile. Impressionante la coincidenza della Cvetaeva col proprio tempo e con la propria civiltà anche nell'esilio, anche da lontano, anche durante il soffocamento di quella civiltà: non ricordo dove ho letto l'accostamento di questi versi sincopati, allitterantissimi, ritmicamente folli, di percussioni e stridii - che imitano, dicono e sono fatti di quel tempo e quel soffocamento - con la ricerca musicale coeva e ancor più suc ...more
Café
May 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
A biography of humankind.
How many times has this not happened to our societies? The "rats" arrive, whatever color they are, sometimes red, sometimes blue. The sweet flute comes next, and "is not music that lies, but the instrument". We feel saved, and we "marry a hero? or is he a pansy?". So there we go, following the one who plays the instrument best, the one who promises "wars for the boys, and for girls-weddings". That sums it up, that's our history, that's us. Sometimes Hamlin, sometimes the
...more
Kristine
May 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics, owned
3.5
This was a fun read. The fact that this is a translation is very impressive because there's so much playing around with language and sounds.

However, it was also very hectic and a little difficult to understand at times, and there were so many niche references that I felt they often got in the way, even with the explanations in the notes.
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Марина Цветаева
Marina Ivanovna Tsvetaeva was born in Moscow. Her father, Ivan Tsvetaev, was a professor of art history and the founder of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her mother Mariya, née Meyn, was a talented concert pianist. The family travelled a great deal and Tsvetaeva attended schools in Switzerland, Germany, and at the Sorbonne, Paris. Tsvetaeva started to write verse in her early childhood.
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