The Frenzied Poets: Andrey Biely and the Russian Symbolists

The Frenzied Poets: Andrey Biely and the Russian Symbolists

The Frenzied Poets: Andrey Biely and the Russian Symbolists

The Frenzied Poets: Andrey Biely and the Russian Symbolists

Excerpt

The Symbolist Movement in Russia was one of the outstanding and most complex phenomena in the cultural history of that country. Yet, up to the present few studies on that subject have appeared in print. No large work has been published on Andrey Biely, who was among the most significant symbolist writers. Perhaps the reason for such neglect has been that the mystical trends of symbolism run counter to Marxist philosopphy and are, therefore, deemed alien to Soviet Russian menptality.

The slight accounts of the movement that are scattered in histories of Russian literature, in special studies discussing literary phenomena in general, as well as in a few critical and semicritical monographs, approach the problem from varying points of view; and each interpretation of symbolism differs with each individual writer's own philosophy. Thus, the Marxists interpret the symbolist movement exclusively in the light of socioeconomic factors and stress class struggle as the determining element; the formalists seek to analyze the techniques of the writers; the psychologists approach the works of symbolist writers from the point of view of their own theories of creative art--whether Freudian, anti-Freudian, or a-Freudian; comparatists strive to account for literary phenomena by estabplishing similarities between the works of various writers; proponents of the biographic school submit their own version of "the truth." Every method of literary scholarship, if it be sufficiently exhaustive, will prove valid to a greater or lesser degree. Yet no single method can provide a complete, all-

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