Odoevtseva, Irina Vladimirovna (1895–1990) By Harwell, Xenia Srebrianski
Poet, memoirist, and novelist with roots in the Acmeist literary movement, Odoevtseva is best known for her two volumes of memoirs, which portray many of the leading figures of the Russian Silver Age. Born in Rīga, she died in Leningrad (modern-day St. Petersburg). She moved to Petrograd in 1918, where she studied poetry under Nikolai Gumilev, joined the second Guild of Poets, and published a book of verse. In 1922 she emigrated to France with her husband, the poet Georgy Ivanov (1894–1958), spending most of her life in Paris at the center of Russian émigré literary society, and visiting the USA only once. As an émigré, Odoevtseva initially turned to writing prose, with female protagonists as the focus of her interwar novels. During the post-Second World War period, she published several volumes of poetry, continued to place her work in various literary journals, and worked on the staff of Russkaia mysl’ [Russian Thought]. Georgy Ivanov died in 1958, and in 1978 she married writer Iakov Nikolaevich Gorbov (1896–1982). In 1987 Odoevtseva returned to live permanently in Leningrad at the invitation of the Writers’ Union. She was warmly welcomed, and attained her lifelong dream of reconnecting with Russian audiences through public appearances and the publication of some of her works.