Marina Cvetaeva on Influence and Other Russian Poets

in A Companion to Marina Cvetaeva
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The point of departure for this chapter is Marina Cvetaeva’s rejection of the notion of influence and the idea of confluence that she conceptualizes in its stead. Though the change in verbal prefix appears slight, it in fact enables a richer approach to the variety of ways in which Cvetaeva engaged with other Russian poets and, particularly, to the impressive range of purposes that she accomplishes with these engagements. As we study how and to what end Cvetaeva effects confluences with Pushkin, Pavlova, Briusov, Blok, Achmatova, Mayakovsky, and Pasternak, we see how she uses them (in full awareness of gender bias) to shape her creative identity and to claim a place both in the culture of the time and in the Pushkinian tradition. We also appreciate the extent to which Tsvetaeva’s concept of confluence conveys essential features of her overarching definition of her art and its practitioners.