Andrei Bely: The Major Symbolist Fiction by Vladimir E. Alexandrov

By Vladimir E. Alexandrov

A number one Russian Symbolist poet, essayist, and mentor to a complete new release of writers, Andrei Bely (1880–1934) completed maximum renown for 3 exceptional novels: Petersburg — which has been ranked with the masterpieces of Joyce, Kafka, and Proust — The Silver Dove, and Kotik Letaev. Vladimir Alexandrov argues cogently that the main-spring of Bely's complicated paintings is his perception of Symbolism as a brand new kind of cognition that hyperlinks the person, the fabric international, and the transcendent realm. Supplementing shut textual research with fabric drawn from Bely's theoretical and autobiographical writings, Alexandrov strains intimately how this notion developed from 4 early experimental prose narratives to the key novels, and the way it truly is manifested of their topics, shape, and magnificence. Alexandrov additionally presents lucid discussions of the numerous impact that numerous philosophical and occult structures had on Bely's paintings, and of the theoretical challenge of what constitutes a Symbolist novel.

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25 In his first essay, "The Forms of Art," for example, Bely follows Schopenhauer in ranking all the arts in terms of their distance or proximity to music, which is understood as a pure expression of Will—the Absolute in Schopenhauerian metaphysics. Thus, architecture is the least perfect art, while symphonic music is the most perfect; and poetry that aspires to music is the most perfect of the verbal arts. 27 This was undoubtedly what he tried to achieve himself in his Symphonies. The special distinction of poetry in Bely's Schopenhauerian system is that it is the form of art linking time and space.

5. A strong wind blew and the trees waved long branches, (p. 13) The scene is a forlorn one and can be understood as expressing the narrator's dejection. But it is so abstract that one could see it in a variety of other ways as well. An abstraction that seems to grope for an occult meaning also appears in the description of the tower: it has a terrace with "curious" (prichudlivye) marble banisters (p. 27). Since a tower evokes a range of associations with both superior isolation and transcendence, the reader automatically imagines that the "curious" appearance of the banisters is somehow related to what the tower symbolizes.

59 A belletristic tactic such as this clearly increases the polysemy of the image at the point of intersection of the various planes to the extent of making it into a symbol. Bely also shifts rapidly among different planes of existence when the planes are not contiguous.

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