MacFadyen focuses on Brodsky's poetic beginnings. Revising the typical, simplistic representation of the young Brodsky and his peers in Western criticism, he demonstrates that Brodsky and his acquaintances absorbed an amazingly wide range of texts, both old and new, and that they read contemporary American, French, German, and Polish literature. Through numerous interviews with Brodsky's contemporaries and vast archival research, MacFadyen offers a vital new slant on Brodsky's early verse, providing the first published translations of these poems and examining Brodsky's work in relation to a broad international spectrum of influences to reveal the art and craft of his poetry. Joseph Brodsky and the Soviet Muse will appeal not only to those interested in Brodsky and the cultural influences that shaped his work and literature of the time but to those intrigued with Russian history and culture.
"I have read MacFadyen's penetrating book with pleasure and profit. MacFadyen's intellectual integrity, keen understanding of the poetic text, originality of thought, and painstaking research combine to reveal a dimension of Joseph Brodsky that has heretofore remained unstudied. MacFadyen draws fresh, convincing analyses and richly diverse material into a coherent, exciting whole. The translations of the very difficult poetic texts are very high in quality. " Olga P. Hasty, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Princeton University