My Tsvetaeva biography began when I first encountered Tsvetaeva scholars
at the first Tsvetaeva conference in Lausanne in 1982. I gave a paper on Tsve-
taeva's childhood and I was very surprised to find that no one else looked at
Tsvetaeva from a psychological perspective.
Without the encouragement of Professor Simon Karlinsky, I would never
have finished this biography; he helped me overcome many obstacles on the
road to publication. Professors G. S. Smith, Barbara Heldt, and John Malm-
stad were interested in my approach and have also supported my project.
I am deeply indebted to Lenora DiSio for her inspiration and psychologi-
cal inSights in the early stages of my writing. I am also grateful to Professor
Richard Sheldon, the late Rose Raskin, and Professor Svetlana Elnitskaya,
who was particularly helpful in discussing her own linguistic approach to
Tsvetaeva's work.
Recent revisions, incorporating the new information about Tsvetaeva that
has emerged over the last ten years, would not have been possible without
my close editorial collaboration with Ruth Mathewson and the helpful sug-
gestions of Judith Vowles.
I am especially grateful to the Tsvetaeva scholar Yelena B. Korkina, and
Professors Alexandra Smith and Richard Davis of the Leeds Archive. They
helped me immensely by sending me recent materials that in some cases
changed my understanding and reshaped the book.
I cannot name all the many friends and acquaintances who were always
ready to listen to my interpretations. But I do wish to thank Professors
Barnes and Frank Miller; Beatrice Stilman; Anne Stevenson,
the poet and biographer of Sylvia Plath; and Lynn Visson of the United
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