Life and Poetic Evolution of S. M. Soloviev

Dissertation, Brown University (1996)

Sergei Mikhailovich Soloviev belonged to the younger generation of Russian Symbolists and along with Andrei Bely and Leo Ellis-Kobylinsky created the core of what was to become known as the "Argonaut" group--an informal circle of Moscow visionary poets and mystics. He later became a member of the so-called triumvirate of the Younger Symbolists , which did not last long, but played an important part in Russian cultural history. S. Soloviev emerged for posterity as a rather enigmatic poet--an odd shadow accompanying his "brilliant" contemporaries Bely and Blok. At the same time, his biography often revealed unrealized possibilities in the biographies of other Russian Symbolists: S. Soloviev did what his elder friends were only dreaming or speaking of doing. He attempted suicide and became an Orthodox priest ; he also converted to Catholicism ; and he died in a mental asylum . Within the scope of the present study, his biography and poetry are seen as a set of refractions of various literary "motifs," cultural themes and personal influences , to those which arose in the midst of his fellow Symbolists). Therefore, the suggested approach is essentially subtextual and/or intertextual. This study attempts to add to the concept of intertextuality the necessary historical dimension, while allowing for the ability of a certain intertext to evolve within the confines of a certain period. ;Such intertext is only partially reconstructed here--since it functions within the entire complex of Russian Symbolism , and must be seen as an integral part of the more general and archetypal poetic mythology operational in European modernism of the late nineteenth-early twentieth centuries
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