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Anatoly Mariengof

A NOVEL WITHOUT LIES

ISBN 5-7172-0049-8
192 pages, 17 photographs

Translated by Jose Alaniz

The turbulent life of a great poet against the flamboyant background of Bohemian Moscow in the 1920s

Sample writing excerpt from the novel

"Anatoly Mariengof's controversial memoir, A Novel Without Lies, hidden away for so long in the closed holdings of Soviet public libraries, deserves to be widely known. Mariengof concentrates on the bohemian lives of the Imagist poets in 1919-22, and presents a candid, yet affectionate, portrait of his closest friend, the famous peasant poet Sergei Esenin. Mariengof's tone tends to be cynical and condescending, racy and often sarcastic; he does not aspire to scholarly meticulousness or chronological exactitude. With its lively style and unique psychological insight, this memoir has abiding value, both for the scholar and the general reader." — Gordon McVay, author of Esenin: a Life and Isadora and Esenin
This is the story of an extraordinary friendship and an extraordinary poet seen through the prism of an extraordinary time and place the upside-down world of Moscow just after the Revolution. By the time Sergei Esenin (1895-1925) met Mariengof in 1918, his lyrical verse had made him a national celebrity. The cultivated Mariengof found the peasant-born Esenin provincial at first. But soon the two would be sitting up at night hammering out their Imagist manifesto. Mariengof traces Esenin's career in bohemian Moscow as well as in Europe where the poet traveled with his exotic and much older wife, the American dancer Isadora Duncan. A self-described genius, Esenin was devastated by his non-reception in the West where no one knew him (or read poetry). His response was to ignore the West, moving through it like a blind man. When Esenin divorced Duncan and returned to Moscow, he was a changed man: crushed by the West, disillusioned by Soviet Russia. As well as increasingly unstable and alcoholic. Soon after parting company with the Imagists, he hung himself, having written a last poem in his own blood.

See also Anatoly MARIENGOF Cynics in Glas 1.

"Esenin was a living, vibrant hub of that artistic energy which we call the highest manifestation of Mozartian talent and the Mozartian element."
— Boris PASTERNAK