Exiled in Paris and isolated in the émigré community during this period, Tsvetaeva became increasingly aware of the importance of biography, history, and myth. Her famous portraits of the poets Maximilian Voloshin and Andrei Bely reveal her remarkable capacities as an eyewitness, while her moving accounts of her father and mother, sisters and brother, seen through a child’s eyes, comprise the most lyrical of family chronicles. The final section of the book, juxtaposing two works of literary criticism, demonstrates her formidable critical and analytical intelligence. Tsvetaeva composed her prose to be read aloud, and these essays, full of extrodinary vitality, reflect the urgency of one who writes to discover the essential truths hidden in the past. A Captive Spirit is a remarkable collection of work from, as Vladimir Nabokov described her, "a writer of genius."