26 Feb 2021

A lecture by Boris Aronstein: “Andrew Marvell: the sacred mystery and beauty that go hand in hand to give life to timeless masterpieces”

On February 26, founder and president of TechInput Group of Companies, visiting professor at the Moscow State University, the National Research University Higher School of Economics and the New Economic School, as well as several US universities, publisher of a number of bilingual US magazines, and literary translator Boris Aronshtein met with the readership of the Margarita Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature where he gave a lecture titled:Andrew Marvell: the sacred mystery and beauty that go hand in hand to give life to timeless masterpieces”.

A masterpiece of literature is truly timeless, for it is precisely this quality of timelessness that commands us whether to rank a piece as a work of genius or not. Anything that is not up to that may well fade into oblivion as time goes by, albeit merely degrade: the connotations dim, allusions become increasingly vague, the meanings of the words alter with time, and the context undergoes major transformations. Even if we are to believe that the heart of the meaning remains unchanged and unshakable, the integrity of this literary heritage is something you can never depend on. This is probably what Thomas Eliot was referring to when he said: “…The quality which Marvell had… is something precious and needed and apparently extinct…”

And this is what lies at the heart of Marvell’s poetry. His poetry, or, at least, its most notable examples have successfully evaded the merciless power of oblivion inflicted by the changeable and all-destroying time. The mere two lines out of Eyes and Tears: “Two tears, which sorrow long did weigh/Within the scales of either eye…” will invariably induce giddiness in just anyone who is able to penetrate the deep meaning of these words. And the entire humanity will continue to sense the powerful message contained in his poem To His Coy Mistress”, so long as women of this world are pestered by men blinded by selfish passion, and men of this world are infatuated with flirty women.

“The very name of the poet – Marvell – alludes to something unusual, something extraordinary, a one-off thing, that is to say, to something that, just like his poetry, is endowed with immortality,” Boris Aronstein believes.

Margarita Rudomino All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature is a federal library specializing in literature in foreign languages. Back in 1921, it was started as a Neophilologica library. Presently, the library a unique collection of foreign literature, which includes books and periodical literature in over 140 languages of the world.

A lecture by Boris Aronstein: “Andrew Marvell: the sacred mystery and beauty that go hand in hand to give life to timeless masterpieces”