Winner of 2002 AATSEEL Award for Best Translation into English
A poet, critic, and theoretician during the Silver Age of Russian poetry, at the turn of the Twentieth century, Viacheslav Ivanov was dubbed "Viacheslav the Magnificent" by his contemporaries for his erudition, sumptuous and allusive poetry, and brilliant essays. He provided Russian Symbolism with theoretical underpinnings based on classical and biblical mythology, the aesthetics of music, philosophy ranging from Plato and Kant to Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and a profound knowledge of classical and modern European poetry.
In choosing material for this volume of essays, Robert Bird and Michael Wachtel have covered a broad range of Ivanov's interests: the aesthetics of Symbolism, theater, culturological concerns, and on such influential figures of the period as Nietzsche, Solovyov, Tolstoy, and Scriabin. Also included are extensive notes on the essays in which classical, biblical, and poetic citations and allusions are identified, the aesthetic and theoretical contexts are clarified, and certain translation problems are briefly discussed. This volume provides valuable insight into the theory of Symbolism as it developed in Russia.
Viacheslav Ivanov (1866-1949) is considered the preeminent thinker of Russia's Symbolist movement and an influential figure in prerevolutionary Russian culture. While abroad as a scholar, Ivanov met Lidia Dimitrievna Zinovieva-Annibal, the woman who would inspire much of his work, and gave up a career in academia to be a poet. In 1924 he left the USSR and settled in Rome, where he died in 1949. Robert Bird is an assistant professor of Russian Literature at the University of Chicago. He is the author of numerous articles on the literature and thought of Russian modernism, and of a forthcoming study of Viacheslav Ivanov entitled The Russian Prospero. Michael Wachtel is a professor in the Slavic department at Princeton University and the author of The Development of Russian Verse: Meter and Its Meanings and Russian Symbolism and Literary Tradition: Goethe, Novalis, and the Poetics of Vyacheslav Ivanov.