A History of Women's Writing in Russia

By Adele Marie Barker; Jehanne M. Gheith | Go to book overview

7
Women in Russian Symbolism:
beyond the algebra of love
JENIFER PRESTO

Introduction: on signs, functions, and
celebrated equations

“The wife of [Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Blok] and suddenly…!” they knew what I should be like, because they knew what “function” I was equal to in the equation of the poet and his wife. But I was not a “function. ” Iwas a human being, and I myself often didn't know what I was equal to, let alone what was equal to the “wife of a poet” in the celebrated equation. It was often the case that I was equal to nothing; and thus I stopped existing as a function and went off into my own “human” existence.

LIUBOV' MENDELEEVA-BLOK, I byl', i nebylitsy o Bloke i o sebe (Facts and Myths About Blok and Myself)

Many of the women who occupy a place in western histories of Russian Symbolism 1 do so not because they distinguished themselves as poets or writers in their own right, but rather because they fulfilled important “functions”in the “celebrated equations”of male poets. 2 To be sure, most students of Russian literature can without much difficulty elaborate on the ways in which Liubov'Mendeleeva-Blok and Lydiia Zinov'evaAnnibal fulfilled the “wife-function” and “muse-function” for Aleksandr Blok and Viacheslav Ivanov respectively or even how Nina Petrovskaia fulfilled the “muse-function” for Valerii Briusov and Andrei Belyi, but they are much less likely to be familiar with the memoirs, plays, poetry, and short stories of these women. The notable exception to this rule is the poet Zinaida Gippius, whose literary accomplishments have not been overshadowed by her marriage to the Symbolist poet and theoretician Dmitrii Merezhkovskii. I would suggest that the tendency for the “wife-” and “muse-function” of the vast majority of women in Symbolism to supersede what Michel Foucault would refer to as the “author-function” 3

-134-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A History of Women's Writing in Russia
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 391

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.