Selected Essays

Paper Text – $24.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2083-9
Publication Date
November 2003
Page Count
352 pages
Trim Size
6 1/8 x 9 1/4

Selected Essays

Viacheslav Ivanov
Viacheslav Ivanov
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.
About the Author
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 and Michael Wachtel deserve to be congratulated for the enormous amount of careful work that has gone into this volume. Northwestern University Press should also be commended for undertaking to produce a work of such quality so beautifully. This book offers far more than a translation of Ivanov's essays; it is a valuable scholarly edition, which supercedes previous efforts. It can be highly recommended to students and specialists alike, as well as to anyone with an interest in the genesis and formation of Russian modernism.
--The Russian Review
"Those who know little Russian or who are specialists in other literary traditions will now have access to the works of Viacheslav Ivanov, which encompass much of Russian Symbolism. While they clearly will benefit from the appearance of this book, even those who have studied Symbolism for years will enjoy not only rereading the essays, but will also delight in the scholarly excellence of the introduction and notes that accompany them.
--Slavic and East European Journal