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Additional Book Information

Series: Notting Hill Editions
ISBN: 9781907903472
Pages: 192
Publication Date: September 25, 2018

From Notting Hill Editions

Journey to Armenia & Conversation About Dante

by Osip Mandelstam, introduction by Henry Gifford, translated from the Russian by Sidney Monas, Clarence Brown, and Robert Hughes

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Osip Mandelstam visited Armenia in 1930, and during the eight months of his stay, he rediscovered his poetic voice and was inspired to write an experimental meditation on the country and its ancient culture—available to English language readers here in a crisp translation by Sidney Monas. "Armenia brought [Mandelstam] back to his true self, a self depending on the 'inner ear' which could never play a poet false," writes Henry Gifford in his essay, "Mandelstam and the Journey," included in Journey to Armenia.

This edition also includes the companion piece, “Conversation About Dante,” translated by Clarence Brown and Robert Hughes, which Seamus Heaney called “Osip Mandelstam’s astonishing fantasia on poetic creation.” An incomparable apologia for poetic freedom and a challenge to the Bolshevik establishment, the essay was dictated by the poet to his wife, Nadezhda Mandelstam, in 1934 and 1935, during the last phase of his itinerant life, and has close ties to Journey to Armenia.


At once a travel narrative, an allegorical journey, a withering comment on State-Building, a humanist philosophy of life, a preparation for death and a prophecy of resurrection... Journey was the last piece Mandelstam saw published, and it takes its place among the outstanding masterpieces of twentieth-century literature.
—Bruce Chatwin