Concept

Nadezhda Mandelstam

Summary
Nadezhda Yakovlevna Mandelstam (Надежда Яковлевна Мандельштам; [Хазина]; 29 December 1980) was a Russian Jewish writer and educator, and the wife of the poet Osip Mandelstam who died in 1938 in a transit camp to the gulag of Siberia. She wrote two memoirs about their lives together and the repressive Stalinist regime: Hope Against Hope (1970) and Hope Abandoned (1974), both first published in the West in English, translated by Max Hayward. Of these books the critic Clive James wrote, "Hope Against Hope puts her at the centre of the liberal resistance under the Soviet Union. A masterpiece of prose as well as a model of biographical narrative and social analysis it is mainly the story of the terrible last years of persecution and torment before the poet [her husband Osip] was murdered. The sequel, Hope Abandoned, is about the author's personal fate, and is in some ways even more terrible, because, as the title implies, it is more about horror as a way of life than as an interruption to normal expectancy. [The two books] were key chapters in the new bible that the twentieth century had written for us." Nadezhda Yakovlevna Khazina was born in Saratov, southern Russia, the youngest of four children (she had a sister and two brothers) of a middle-class Jewish family. Her parents were Yakov Arkadyevich Khazin and Vera Yakovlevna Khazina, and the family was wealthy enough to travel. Her mother was among the first group of women in the Soviet Union to complete training as a medical doctor, and her father was an attorney. The family did not practice Judaism, and kept Russian Orthodox holidays. Later they converted to Christianity. The family moved to Kiev, Ukraine, for her father's work, and the greater cultural and educational opportunities of the larger city. There she attended school. After gymnasium (secondary school), Nadezhda studied art. Nadezhda met the poet Osip Mandelstam at a nightclub in Kiev in 1919, and they started a relationship which led to marriage in 1921–1922. They lived in Ukraine at first, but moved to Petrograd in 1922.
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