Anna Akhmatova

18 Jan, 2018 890 Other literatures

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the work, ideas and life of the Russian poet whose work was celebrated in C20th both for its quality and for what it represented, written under censorship in the Stalin years. Her best known poem, Requiem, was written after her son was imprisoned partly as a threat to her and, to avoid punishment for creating it, she passed it on to her supporters to be memorised, line by line, rather than written down. She was a problem for the authorities and became significant internationally, as her work came to symbolise resistance to political tyranny and the preservation of pre-Revolutionary liberal values in the Soviet era.

Play on BBC Sounds website


  • Katharine Hodgson No other episodes
    Professor in Russian at the University of Exeter
  • Alexandra Harrington No other episodes
    Reader in Russian Studies at Durham University
  • Michael Basker No other episodes
    Professor of Russian Literature and Dean of Arts at the University of Bristol

Reading list

  • Selected Poems
    Anna Akhmatova (trans. Richard McKane) (Bloodaxe, 1989) Google Books →
  • The Complete Poems of Anna Akhmatova
    Anna Akhmatova (trans. Judith Hemschemeyer, ed. Roberta Reeder) (Canongate, 2000) Google Books →
  • The Word That Causes Death's Defeat: Poems of Memory
    Anna Akhmatova (trans. Nancy K. Anderson) (Yale University Press, 2004) Google Books →
  • In A Shattered Mirror: The Later Poetry of Anna Akhmatova
    Susan Amert (Stanford University Press, 1992) Google Books →
  • Personal Impressions
    Isaiah Berlin (ed. Henry Hardy) (Pimlico, 1998) Google Books →
  • Less than One: Selected Essays
    Joseph Brodsky (Penguin, 1987) Google Books →
  • The Akhmatova Journals: Volume I, 1938-41
    Lydia Chukovskaya (trans. Milena Michalski and Sylva Rubashova) (Harvill, 1994) Google Books →
  • Russian Literature and Its Demons
    Pamela Davidson (ed.) (Berghahn Books, 2000) Google Books →
  • The Acmeist Movement in Russian Poetry
    Justin Doherty (Oxford University Press, 1994) Google Books →
  • Anna of All the Russias: The Life of Anna Akhmatova
    Elaine Feinstein (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005) Google Books →
  • The Pillar of Fire and Selected Poems
    Nikloay Gumilyov (trans. R. McKane) (Bloodaxe, 1999)
  • Anna Akhmatova: A Poetic Pilgrimage
    Amanda Haight (Oxford University Press, 1976) Google Books →
  • The Poetry of Anna Akhmatova: Living in Different Mirrors
    Alexandra Harrington (Anthem Press, 2006) Google Books →
  • Twentieth-Century Russian Poetry: Reinventing the Canon
    Katharine Hodgson, Joanne Shelton and Alexandra Smith (eds.) (Open Book Publishers, 2017) Google Books →
  • Akhmatova's Petersburg
    Sharon Leiter (Cambridge University Press, 1983) Google Books →
  • Remembering Anna Akhmatova
    Anatolii Naiman (trans. Wendy Rosslyn) (Halban, 1991)
  • Anna Akhmatova: Poet and Prophet
    Roberta Reeder (Allison & Busby, 1995) Google Books →
  • The Prince, The Fool and the Nunnery: A Study of Akhmatova's Early Verse
    Wendy Rosslyn (Avebury Publishing, 1984)
  • The Speech of Unknown Eyes: Akhmatova's Readers on her Poetry
    Wendy Rosslyn (ed.) (Astra Press, 1990) Google Books →
  • Anna Akhmatova: Her Poetry
    David Wells (Berg, 1996) Google Books →

Related episodes

Programme ID: b09lw39p

Episode page:

Auto-category: 891.709 (Russian poetry)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. Anna Akhmatova, 1889-1966, was one of the most famous Russian poets of the 20th century and one of few to survive Stalin's terrors, Band at Home that published abroad.