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Idiomatic Aspect of Osip Mandelstam's Poetic Language

Student: Veronika Faynberg

Supervisor: Pavel Uspensky

Faculty: Faculty of Humanities

Educational Programme: Philology (Bachelor)

Year of Graduation: 2018

This paper discusses the part idioms play in the semantic development of O. Mandelstam’s poetry. From the earliest to the last, his poems are satiated with idiomatic expressions that may be noticed on the surface of the text or be the underlying motivation for certain obscure imagery. The classification of the examples allows to see the structure of this poetic technique. After the thorough commentary on the examples I give the linguistic close reading of several poems, including “The expert mistress of guilty glances…” and “Verses on the Unknown Soldier” (this text seems to be the key example of poetry built on the basis of idiomatic formulas). In the final part the elaboration of idioms as a poetic technique is put in the literary context of the epoch. In conclusion, the idiomatic aspect is shown as the semantic operator that explains the “intuitive” nature of the perception of Mandelstam’s poetry and its mnemonic features.

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