Pavlova and Literary Conventions

How did Pavlova respond to the literary issues facing the women poets of her generation? As regards self-representation, Pavlova never referred to herself as a poetessa. In "Sonet" (Sonnet, 1839, 76), she refers to herself as poet only obliquely and in the third person: "Bespechnyi zhe poet vsegda dushoi ditia" (The carefree poet is always a child in soul). Three years later she more directly states in a poem to Evgenii Baratynsky:

MeHa bh Ha3Ba^n n03T0M,

Torfla noBepma b ce6a.

Then believed in myself. ("E. A. Baratynskomu" [To E. A. Baratynsky], 1842, 112)

By 1860 she describes herself with self-confident humor as the "crazy poet":

He flan 3a6HTB 6e3yMH0My nosTy


(Don't let the crazy poet forget The tormenting lessons of the past!)

Perhaps because no images existed for women to represent themselves as poets (see chapter 2), Pavlova often wrote indirectly about her poetry making. Yet her best-known lines concern her feelings about her poetry:

Moa HanacTt! Moe 6oraTCTBo!

Moe cBaToe!

(My misfortune! My wealth!

My sacred craft!) ("Ty utselevshii v serdtse nishchem" [You, who having remained whole in a destitute heart], 1854, 154)

As for poetic persona, from the beginning Pavlova used feminine endings when writing about herself as poet ("Sonet" [Sonnet], 1839, 76; "Da il' net" [Yes or no], 1839, 78; "Duma" [Meditation], 1840, 89; "Duma," 1843, 114), although she also wrote poems with unmarked endings (for example, "Esf liubimtsy vdokhnovenii" [There are inspiration's favorites], 1839, 79; "Motylek" [The butterfly], 1840, 83-84), and very occasionally verses in a male voice ("Vezde i vsegda" [Everywhere and always], 1846, 127; "Sputnitsa feia" [The fairy companion], 1858, 198). Pavlova's awareness of the issue of gender and poetic persona emerges clearly in "Fantasmagorii" (Phantasmagorias, 1856-58, 37376). In the first section of this mixed-genre work she recounts the thoughts of a poet whose gender she carefully withholds. The poet plays with gendered metaphors to describe the act of writing: the writer is a rapist who attacks the "virgin" white page with a (phallic) pen, but also the princess Scheherazade, who must constantly find new ways to entertain a bored shah-public or face extinction. The section concludes, "It must be added that this was a woman" (376). Similarly, in Dvoinaia zhizn' Pavlova reveals the gender of the narrator only in the second stanza of the envoi when she uses a gender-marked verb:

Ee3Mo^BHoro c6epe^t ce6e o^hoh

(And for a long time I was able

To keep [this thought] silently in my soul, only for myself)

Such devices indicate that Pavlova, like other women writers discussed in chapter 2, while aware of the adverse judgments she would incur, chose to write as a woman.

As for audience, Pavlova addresses several of her poems to women: Iuliia Zhadovskaia, Evdokiia Rostopchina, A. V. Pletneva, Ol'ga

Novikova, A. D. Baratynskaia, and the unidentified N. P. B-a (132, 103, 134, 540-41, 208, 505, 203, 186). In addition, Pavlova dedicated Dvoinaia zhizn' to young women who, like her heroine, experience the constraints of women's role in society:

Bac Bcex, ncHxen, .mmeHHHX KptmHH, HeMtix cecTep Moen aymH

All of you Psyches deprived of wings, The mute sisters of my soul!)

She also wrote about the friends of her youth, Joan of Arc, and the poets Lucretia Davidson and Delphine Gay (500-503, 80, 124-27). However, far more of Pavlova's poetry is addressed to men—Adam Mickiewicz (90, 93, 118, 136), Evgenii Mil'keev (75, 185), Evgenii Baratynsky (112), N. M. Iazykov (119, 133), I. S. Aksakov (131, 136), Nikolai Pavlov (149), the unidentified S. K. N. (137), Boris Utin (153, 154, 155, 157, 169), A. K. Tolstoi (221, 223)—or treats male historical figures. This is not surprising, as the dominant voices in the literary establishment of Pavlova's day as well as its gatekeepers were male.

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