A History of Russian Symbolism

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This book is the first detailed history of the Russian Symbolist movement, from its initial hostile reception as a symptom of European decadence to its absorption into the mainstream of Russian literature, and eventual disintegration. It focuses on the two generations of writers whose work served as the seedbed of Existentialism in thought and of Modernism in prose and the performing arts, and reassesses their achievements in the light of modern research. At the centre of the study are the texts themselves, with prose quoted in English translation and poetry given in the original Russian with prose translations. There is a valuable bibliography of primary sources and an extensive chronological appendix. This book will fill a long-felt gap, and will be invaluable to students and teachers of Russian and comparative literature, Symbolism, modernism, and pre-revolutionary Russian culture.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dr. Pyman's book is a superb achievement, which will fundamentally revise our understanding of the origins and nature of Russian Symbolism and the role within it of the major figures." Canadian Slavic Papers

"Designed primarily for the student of Russian literature, this book will also be of value to specialists, who can benefit from its clarity and wealth of information. In terms of both breadth and depth, it is unlikely to be surpassed for some time." Slavic Review

"This valuable and rewarding study is recommended to graduate students and faculty." v. D. Barooshian, Choice

"A tour de force of meticulous sholarship, Pyman's book will be indispenable to students of Russian literature and of the fin de si├Ęcle." John Wilson, McGill's Literary Annual

"...rich in detail....offers a wealth of anecdotal information and carefully follows the endlessly complex personal realtionships among these volatile and sometimes bizarre artists." Evelyn Bristol, Slavic and East European Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521024303
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2006
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Table of Contents

Note on the text and list of abbreviations
Prologue: decadence or rebirth? The European fin de siecle and the Russian precursors 1
1 Transitional writers 1892-1898. Volynsky and Severvnyi Vestnik, Minsky and the early Merezhkovsky 19
2 The new poetry in St Petersburg. Zinaida Hippius and Fedor Sologub 1893 onwards 38
3 Russian Symbolism acquires a name. Balmont, Briusov, Dobroliubov and Konevskoi 1894-1900 56
4 The foundation of Mir Iskusstva and the role of the visual and performing arts. Benois, Diagilev, Filosofov and their group 1890-1904 93
5 From Mir Iskusstva to Novyi Put'. The development of Merezhkovsky's prose and thought, Rozanov, Shestov 1898-1904 123
6 Russian Symbolism comes of age. Skorpion, Severnye Tsvety and Vesy. Briusov as organiser and teacher 1900-4 160
7 The turn of the century. The early poetry of the second generation of Russian Symbolists: Viacheslav Ivanov, Bely, Blok 1900-4 183
8 The Sophia-myth and the theme of Apocalypse. The influence of Solovev and Nietzsche 1892 onwards 226
9 The Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 Revolution. Symbolism, Mystic Anarchism and the beginning of division 1904-6 245
10 The anthithesis. Zolotoe Runo and Oraea. Erotica in Skorpion, Vesy. Symbolist theatre. Polemics 1906-8 285
11 'From the real to the more real'. Blok's 'Russia and the Intelligentsia'. Ivanov's 'A realibus ad realiora'. Bely's and Remizov's prose. 1907-10 305
12 Russian Symbolism and Russian literature. Apollon and Annensky's summing-up. 'The crisis of Symbolism'. Disintegration and reconciliation. 1909-10 323
Epilogue 337
Chronology 343
Notes 375
Bibliography 432
Index 447
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