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My Half-Century by Anna Akhmatova

"My Half-Century includes the sketches of nine writers and the painter Modigliani […] as well as a number of autobiographical notes, Akhmatova's important critical studies of Pushkin, and a selection of public addresses and letters that together open a window into Russian intellectual life. This is an important, accessible volume; it is highly recommended. General readers; undergraduate; graduate."—Choice; a Choice "Outstanding Academic Book" of 1993

 

"If anything, Akhmatova's diary--lilke some of her other prose--is moving in its underlying awareness of the insufficiency of language to convey truth about history. Yet, in bits an dpieces, My Half Century, edited by Ronald Meyer, a scholar of Russian literature, does manage to render the times in which Akhmatova lived." —New York Times Book Review, July 11, 1993

"Ronald Meyer's edition of the (not-quite-complete) collected prose is a real achievement, and it contains translations of the articles on Pushkin plus a miscellany of diary fragments, memoirs of friends and contemporaries like Blok, Mandelstam, Pasternak, and Tsvetaeva, brief reviews and public statements, and a selection of letters. The editor, who has also supplied some 100 pages of indispensable annotations and a comprehensive index, has fashioned from this disparate material an encompassing view of the life and career of the writer. An essential outline is provided by the reliable biographical sketch which introduces the volume. Meyer has clearly profited from his collaboration with a surviving friend and confidante of Akhmatova's, Emma Gerstein, whose knowledgeable essay on Akhmatova as a prose writer is appended as an Afterword."
—Robert P. Hughes, Washington Post Book World

 

"Ther are a number of reasons to take pleasure in this handsome and well-edited collection of Akhmatova's prose writings.... Beyond their intrinsic interest, these pieces of varying significance are valuable for the hints they give about Akhmatova's creative process.... The editor, Ronald Meyer, is to be congratulated on a job well done."—Sam Driver, Slavic and East Europpean Journal