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A History of Russian Symbolism by Avril Pyman

By Avril Pyman

This booklet is the 1st precise heritage of the Russian Symbolist flow, which served because the seedbed of Existentialism and Modernism in Russia. It reassesses the symbolists' achievements within the mild of recent learn, concentrating on their literary works. Prose is quoted in English translation and poetry is given within the unique Russian with prose translations. there's a precious bibliography of basic resources and an in depth chronological appendix. This publication will fill a long-felt hole for college students and academics of Russian and comparative literature, symbolism, modernism, and pre-revolutionary Russian tradition.

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Though their work is concurrent with and continuous from that of such 'transitional' writers as Merezhkovsky and Minsky, it has the unmistakable ring of the new. In spite of the notion current at the time that Hippius wrote Merezhkovsky's poetry and he her prose or vice versa, it was in thought and in their general cultural activity that the two were inextricably interlinked. As artists, they were very different. Hippius's short stories lacked sustained imaginative power but her lyric poetry was a revelation in her own generation.

The literary editor was not afraid of Hippius's 'new manner' in poetry, which not only failed to take elsewhere but got him into serious trouble with his own editorial colleagues. He also agreed to serialise Merezhkovsky's first historical novel, Otverzhennyi (The Outcast), starting from January 1895, but submitted the work to unceremonious cutting. His relations with the author were not helped by the fact that, as Aleksei Remizov later mischieviously remarked, he 'always wrote on the same subjects as Merezhkovsky'.

Dmitrii Merezhkovsky. 3 Volynsky embarked upon this venture not in the name of any modern trend, but rather - like Merezhkovsky, though from a less cosmopolitan standpoint - in defence of the eternal values of literature. Russian literature, particularly, he maintained, was 'austere, simple and serious', whereas the radical critics had consistently denigrated it as 'lacking in civic merit'. 4 'Russian art' he wrote, 'in the persons of its most talented representatives, has always run contrary to the aspirations of the journalist reviewers'.

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