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The Consolations of WritingLiterary Strategies of Resistance from Boethius to Primo Levi$
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Rivkah Zim

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161808

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161808.001.0001

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The Consolations of Imagination and Lyric Poetry

The Consolations of Imagination and Lyric Poetry

(p.213) Chapter 5 The Consolations of Imagination and Lyric Poetry
The Consolations of Writing

Rivkah Zim

Princeton University Press

This chapter explores the personal and the political tactics of two remarkable, yet little-known, twentieth-century poets—Joean Cassou and Irina Ratushinskaya—who survived their imprisonments in life-threatening conditions and emerged from confinement to find that their prison poetry had been published and circulated widely, carrying political messages that went beyond their authors' initial situations and declared purposes of resistance and self-preservation. Cassou's thirty-three sonnets are signs of a private inner world that enabled him to resist the psychological pressures of his imprisonment during the winter of 1941–42. By contrast, Ratushinskaya set out to speak for a group of women political prisoners in the last years of the Soviet Union. She used her poetry to sustain the group's morale and willpower to resist the lies and cruelty of their oppressors who controlled the prison camp in which they were interned for various kinds of political dissent.

Keywords:   prison writing, prisoners, twentieth-century poets, poems, poetry, imprisonment, women political prisoners, Joean Cassou, Irina Ratushinskaya

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