Yuri Tynianov’s seminal 1924 review of contemporary poetry discusses the work of many bright lights of the early Soviet avant-garde, as well as the prerevolutionary modernist poets who were still a presence in literature of the 1920s: his subjects include Anna Akhmatova, Sergei Esenin, Velimir Khlebnikov, Osip Mandelstam, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Boris Pasternak. This article has long been a favorite among scholars of early twentieth-century Russian letters. “Interlude” offers a historical snapshot, wherein subsequently acknowledged “classics” like Akhmatova or Mayakovsky are examined alongside poets like Nikolai Aseev or Ilya Selvinsky (now known only to specialists) and, moreover, are subjected to unsparing criticism by a contemporary. Tynianov describes the given period as an “interlude,” characterized by seeming inertia: a time when apparently nothing is happening in poetry. But, as Tynianov, a consummate theorist of literary evolution, assures his readers: “There are no dead ends in history. There are only interludes.”

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