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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 30, Issue 2, 2002

Maija Könönen
Pages 677-693

‘Infernal’ subtexts in Brodsky’s poem The fifth anniversary

This essay explores the intertextual relationships of Joseph Brodsky’s poem — an occasional verse dedicated to the fifth anniversary of the poet’s enforced emigration from the Soviet Union. As is common in Brodsky’s poetics, the text is imbued with allusions to other texts, not only from Russian, but from Western belles lettres, as well. Through reminiscences of La Divina Commedia the lost homeland together with the beloved native city of Leningrad is paralleled with Dante’s “lost and accursed” Florence as well as with the lost St.Petersburg of Mandelshtam and Akhmatova, among others. The Dantean undertones are exposed not only on the semantical level of the examined text but in the metrical and structural aspects of the poem, as well.

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