Bethea, David M. 1948-
BETHEA, David M. 1948-
PERSONAL: Born 1948.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, University of Washington Press, P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA 98145-5096.
CAREER: Writer and editor.
Khodasevich: His Life and Art, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1983.
The Shape of Apocalypse in Modern Russian Fiction, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1989.
(Editor) Pushkin Today, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1993.
Joseph Brodsky and the Creation of Exile, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 1994.
Realizing Metaphors: Alexander Pushkin and the Life of the Poet, University of Washington Press (Seattle, WA), 1998.
SIDELIGHTS: Author and editor David M. Bethea describes the life and times of twentieth-century Russian poet Vladislav Felitsianovich Khodosevich in his book Khodosevich: His Life and Art. Victor Terras, a reviewer in World Literature Today, commented that Bethea "provides a wealth of biographical information." Considering Bethea's translations of Khodosevich's poetry "competent" and his comments "useful," Terras called the book "a valuable contribution to scholarship." New Republic reviewer Clarence Brown stated that Bethea "is that rarity amongst American specialists in Russian literature," and noted that Bethea "writes with clarity and grace."
Maintaining his avid interest in Russian literature, Bethea develops his "new" study of the apocalyptic myth in his book The Shape of Apocalypse in Modern Russian Fiction. Maria Carlson, a reviewer in Modern Language Review, claimed Bethea "writes with wit and the manner of his presentation makes his book a pleasure to read." Carlson insisted that The Shape of the Apocalypse "pushes the reader to keep up with the author, and thereby explore our assumptions not only about [the] classics of modern Russian literature but about 'the Russian Idea' as well."
Bethea continued his study of Russian literature with his editing of Pushkin Today, a collection of twenty-four papers from fourteen North American scholars examining Pushkin's work. Barbara Heldt, a reviewer for Slavic Review, called the "Pushkin Symposium" perhaps "the only work in the collection that will make indigenous Russian scholars wonder why they themselves hadn't written it."
In Joseph Brodsky and the Creation of Exile, Bethea attempts to define Brodsky's theories in metaphysical terms. According to Victor Terras in World Literature Today, the book "is an immensely stimulating and very carefully crafted study." Peter France, a reviewer in Times Literary Supplement, claimed that Bethea seeks "to explain the absolutism in Brodsky's view of poetry, the prophetic tone which sounds so strange . . . to postmodern Western ears." France insisted that the book "is a sympathetic, inward account of its subject, showing the grandeur . . . of Brodsky's stance, and finishing with a suggestive afterword on the future for a bardic view of poetry in an unpoetic world."
Investigating the difficulties of poetic biography occupies Bethea's interest in his book Realizing Metaphors: Alexander Pushkin and the Life of the Poet. Andrew Kahn, a reviewer in the Times Literary Supplement, called Bethea's work "a combination of practical criticism and sophisticated intertextual analysis." Gene Shaw, a reviewer in Library Journal, praised Beathea for doing a "good job" and recommended it for Russian studies collections.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Insight on the News, May 23, 1994, p. 29.
Library Journal, October 15, 1998, pp. 69-70.
Modern Fiction Studies, winter, 1989, pp. 836-839.
Modern Language Review, July, 1991, pp. 808-810; January, 2001, Gerald E. Mikkelson, review of Realizing Metaphors: Alexander Pushkin and the Life of the Poet, p. 284.
New Republic, February 13, 1984, pp. 38-39.
Russian Review, January, 1995, pp. 116-117; January, 2000, Gene Fitzgerald, review of Realizing Metaphors, p. 118.
Sewanee Review, October, 1990, pp. 699-705.
Slavic and East European Journal, summer, 2000, Paul Debreczeny, review of Realizing Metaphors, p. 305.
Slavic Review, summer, 1994, pp. 566-567.
Times Literary Supplement, July 8, 1994, p. 21; May 28, 1999, p. 25.
World Literature Today, spring, 1984, p. 286; autumn, 1994, pp. 845-846.*