11/03/2017 Peter Durantine

Reflections on the Russian Revolution 100 Years Later

For Russia, the year 1917 opened with revolt, the collapse of the empire, and abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. It ended with another revolution that brought Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin and other Communist leaders to rule a new country, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, for 70 years.

In reflections on the Soviet era, Franklin & Marshall College features the staged readings, in English, of selected poems by three remarkable Russian poets who are considered to have set the tone for their country’s struggles in the 20th century.

For “Women Poets and the Age of Revolution,” at 5 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Phillips Museum of Art’s Gibson Gallery, three F&M faculty members will recite the works of Anna Akhmatova, Zinaida Gippius and Marina Tsvetaeva.

  • A 1914 portrait of Anna Akhmatova painted by Olga Della-Vos-Kardovskaya. A 1914 portrait of Anna Akhmatova painted by Olga Della-Vos-Kardovskaya.

Akhmatova, perhaps the most significant of the three, experienced the brutality of the revolution when her husband, among dozens of other intellectuals, was shot in 1921 for conspiracy to overthrow the government. She wrote shortly after his death:

“Terror fingers all things in the dark,

Leads moonlight to the axe,

There’s an ominous knock behind the wall:

A ghost, a thief or a rat … “

The faculty poetry readers are Holly Andrew, a costume specialist for the College theatre program; Ibby Cizmar, visiting assistant professor of theatre; and Sands Hall, a novelist, editor of the Alumni Arts Review and associate teaching professor of English. The performance is directed by Rachel Anderson-Rabern, assistant professor of theatre.

The poetry performances are in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition, “Onward with the Revolution: Late Soviet-era Posters,” a commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. It shows through Dec. 8. F&M Associate Professor of Russian and Russia Studies Jon Stone and Adjunct Professor of Russian Nina Bond selected 18 posters marking the Nov. 7, 1917, revolution.

“Women Poets and the Age of Revolution” is 5 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Phillips Museum of Art’s Gibson Gallery, Franklin & Marshall College, 700 College Ave., Lancaster, Pa. Tel. 717-291-3879.

  • One the Soviet-era posters on exhibit. One the Soviet-era posters on exhibit.
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