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Reference:

The vicissitudes of life in the mirror of Nikolai Gumilyov`s literary reputation in the post-symbolist period

Kuptsova Mariya Yur'evna

ORCID: 0009-0001-7637-5795

Postgraduate Student, Department of History of Journalism and Literature, Lomonosov Moscow University named after A.S. Griboedov

111024, Russia, Moscow region, Moscow, Sh. Enthusiasts str., 21

delkup@gmail.com

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2023.4.40539

EDN:

OLZPNK

Received:

17-04-2023


Published:

24-04-2023


Abstract: Nikolai Gumilyov is one of the key figures of acmeism and the literary life of Russia in the 20th century. The image of Nikolai Gumilyov, aspects of his work and influence on literature are of keen interest for modern philology. The article is devoted to a review of the elements of the biography that affect the literary reputation of the poet. The chronological framework of the study is the period from 1910 to 1914, from the period of the decline of symbolism to the outbreak of the First World War. The subject of the study is the reputation of the poet N. Gumilyov in the post-symbolist period. The analysis of the subject is carried out by means of system-typological, biographical and cultural-historical methods. The ups and downs of N. S. Gumilyov's fate influenced not only the creative process, serving as inspiration, but also the literary reputation of the poet, which determines the scientific novelty of the study. The result of the work carried out was the selection, through the analysis of selective places from the biography of N. S. Gumilyov, of such components of his reputation in the period of post-symbolism as writer, traveler and lover. The conclusions presented in the material can serve as a basis for considering both literary reputation in general and directly in the analysis of the image of the poet, as well as in determining the specifics of other periods of Nikolai Gumilyov's work and their influence on the literary reputation of the poet.


Keywords:

Nikolai Gumilyov, post-symbolism, acmeism, formal school, literary reputation, literary life, biography, writer, traveler, lover

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Literary critics turn directly to the study of the biography and worldview of the poet, which is reflected in the dissertations of Yu. Yu. Dmitrieva "The concept of the way in the work of N. S. Gumilev", A. N. Dubovtseva "The origins of world culture in the artistic thinking of N. S. Gumilev", L. A. Sinelshchikova "Spiritual and moral guidelines in the Russian culture of the Silver Age: socially-philosophical aspects" and N. V. Derina "N. Gumilev's Artistic creation of the world and the romantic idea"), V. Polushina "Nikolai Gumilev. The Life of a Shot poet" [1] and Yu. V. Zobnin "Nikolai Gumilev the poet of Orthodoxy" [2]. The attention of a number of authors (for example, D. V. Sokolova in the work "The lyrical subject and characters in the poems of N. S. Gumilev") is directed to the artistic world of the poet.

Gumilev's poetry collections have been repeatedly republished, publications containing selected works of the poet are published (it is appropriate to recall the collection "Young Kings" [3]), which indicates inexhaustible reader interest and attention from the scientific community.

Despite the researchers' appeal to various aspects of the poet's life and work, there remain unfilled gaps, for example, the poet's literary reputation, which is the subject of this article. The author of the work has a narrower task: exploring the elements of the biography of Nikolai Gumilev, to formulate the key features of literary reputation in the period of postsymbolism - that is, from 1910 to 1914.

So, let's turn to the definition of the concept. G. L. Tulchinsky and V. L. Terentyeva define reputation as an image formed in the eyes of the public [4]. However, as P. S. Vashpanov points out, for the correct formulation of the interpretation, it is necessary to determine the context, the "paradigm" [5, p. 5], in connection with which we are talking in the article directly about literary reputation, and not about reputation or image in general.

Representatives of the "formal school", Yu. N. Tynyanov and B. M. Eichenbaum, played an important role in domestic studies of the writer's literary reputation. Literary critics have tried to shift the focus of attention of the scientific community from the study of the exclusively literary component to the literary way of life, which includes the economic and political life of the country, social factors, etc.

Thus, Yu. N. Tynyanov in the article "Literary Fact" poses the problem of correlation of literary fact and literary life, noting their continuous interaction as an endless process. The author believes that the analysis of literary reputation implies a comprehensive study of not only the works of the author, but also the historical context, as well as the life of the creator as a whole [6].

The continuation of the line started by Yu. N. Tynyanov becomes B. M. Eichenbaum, who presented in the article "Literature and literary life" in 1927 a more detailed justification of the key ideas of the scientist [7]. It is appropriate to recall the work of I. N. Rozanov "Literary reputations" in 1928. The literary critic formulates a new direction in the study the study of the theory and history of literary reputations. The author says that "... we are in a period of accumulation and description of the material ..." [8, p. 16]. To generalize, formulate a program and put forward effective conclusions, it is necessary to collect an extensive database.

I. E. Gitovich defines literary reputation as an opinion about a writer that exists in the eyes of the public and determines his place in the literary system. The image of a writer or poet formed by his contemporaries affects the perception of descendants not only of the author's life, but also of his work. [9, p. 15]. In this context, we will interpret the concept in the article.

Literary reputation is not static, it is in constant dynamics. As determined by researchers (for example, A. T. Konkov and L. N. Sarbaa [10], P. S. Vashpanov [5], G. L. Tulchinsky [4], etc.), reputation is formed over a long period, often changing throughout the life of a writer or poet.

A. I. Reitblat in the monograph "How Pushkin came out as a genius: History-sociological essays on the book culture of the Pushkin era" indicates that the formation of a stable image is influenced by creative circles, the media, readers, publishers, as well as those close to the author. The literary critic notes that literary reputation is the quintessence of the evaluation of creativity and public image, which is influenced by the behavior of the writer, including [11, p. 51].

Thus, the study of the literary reputation of a writer involves the analysis not only of his works, but also of the non-literary context, namely, the existence of a person in society: travel, scientific research, dating and much more. Before proceeding to the study of the factors affecting the literary reputation of N. Gumilev, it is necessary to first indicate the context, namely, to explain what we mean by post-symbolism.

The phenomenon of post-symbolism is often called the crisis of symbolism, characteristic of Russian literature of the 1910s and 1930s. The term is conditional, since it does not imply the presence of a pronounced literary trend, aesthetic program or school, but reflects the attitude of that period.

The legitimacy of using such a term is indicated by the closure of the main organ of the symbolists the Libra magazine, as well as "... even Bely and Blok, Bryusov and S. M. Solovyov, who were once very close in spirit, are isolated" [12].

Following the split of the symbolists, Gumilev and Gorodetsky create a "Workshop of Poets", the publications of the founders declared the appearance of acmeism. The first meeting was held on October 20, 1912, where the name was chosen according to the medieval model, which emphasized the practical orientation of poetry.

The close attention of the public to the creative association was beneficial to its participants, especially Nikolai Gumilev, which guaranteed, if not the recognition of the reader, then at least the wide dissemination of his work. The poet's son in his memoirs points to stormy discussions and publications of critical reviews containing attacks on opponents [13, p. 221].

Later Gumilev actually held the post of head of the community. Remembering how the meetings were held, the poet Georgy Adamovich tells about the sensitive approach to the assessment of someone else's creativity, which was given by N. Gumilev. His remarks concerned only the formal side of the work and were distinguished by reasonableness and attention to detail [13, p. 354].

The facts given from the poet's biography and a cursory examination of the historical context allow us to talk about the creation of such an aspect in the public image of the poet as a writer. The image of a person who knows literature, understands it and understands it, is formed for a long time, and by the beginning of the period under study is organic for Gumilev.

It should be noted that at that time the first issue of the magazine "Hyperborea" was published, as well as a new collection of the poet "Alien Sky", which, in addition to his poems, included translations of the works of Theophile Gautier. In the second issue of Apollo for 1912, the first positive review of the poet's new work, written by M. Kuzmin, appears [14].

Later, during a honeymoon trip to Italy, a second negative review appears in No. 4 of Sovremennik magazine, authored by the poet and prose writer Boris Sadovsky, who claims that "... the author is not primarily a poet. In his poems, he lacks the absolutely magical thrill of poetry, the breath of a living spirit, what is commonly called inspiration, that elusive, mysterious force that makes "a leaf that has dried up and fallen, burn with eternal gold in song", and one gives the writer the right to be called a poet" [15, p. 385].

Further, the magazine published exclusively positive reviews of "Alien Sky". Bryusov, Narbut, Gorodetsky, Khodasevich spoke about him.

From April to September 1913, the Academy of Sciences sent N. S. Gumilev to Africa, the poet's path passed through Djibouti, Dire Dawa, Harrar, Addis Ababa. The influence of travel on the poet's work and reputation is undeniable: high fever and poor health did not cause the trip to be postponed [15, p. 363]. Nikolai Stepanovich returns to St. Petersburg and Tsarskoye Selo only in the second half of September, bringing with him a huge collection, the analysis of which was completed only at the beginning of 1914. Gumilev made four trips to Africa [16], which allows us to talk about the inclusion of the traveler's image in the poet's literary reputation.

In December 1913, a double issue of Hyperborea was published, and the magazine ceased to exist. Russian Russian Poetry in 1912, Bryusov published an article in the journal "Russian Thought" entitled "New Trends in Russian Poetry. Acmeism", one of the key statements of which was the statement about the decline of Acmeism [17]. On March 16, 1914, there was an explanation with Gorodetsky on the basis of different views on Acmeism. The current ceases to exist.

Highlighting the significant changes in Gumilev's life, it is impossible not to mention his open romance with Tatiana Adamovich, to whom the poet dedicated a collection of poems "Quiver", published on December 15, 1915. This collection is characterized by researchers as a turning point that marked the beginning of a more mature period in the poet's work [18].

In the period from 1904 to 1910, the image of a romantic lover became an integral part of Gumilev's public image. It is known that at this time, in addition to the already mentioned affair with Adamovich, Gumilev was in relationships of varying degrees of seriousness with 10 or more women [15, p. 2]. This is also true for the image in the later periods of the poet's life. Thus, A.V. Lamzina also speaks about the significant degree of involvement of personal experiences in creativity, in particular the influence of relations with Larisa Reisner, analyzing the translation of Shakespeare's sonnets [19].

Studying the concept of "reputation", A. T. Konkov and L. N. Sarbaa come to the conclusion that, being the result of many assessments, opinions, influences that cannot be controlled, reputation cannot also be completely artificially constructed and is unique for each subject [10, p. 248].

However, speaking directly about Gumilev's reputation, K. A. Yakubovskaya, studying the formation of the poet's image in the eyes of the French reader, points to the desire to influence public opinion: "Like many other fellow writers, Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev sought to create a certain poetic reputation for himself, first in the Russian and then in the French literary environment of the early XX century" [20, p. 325].

Based on the above research, the study of selected episodes from the author's biography, as well as the perception of Gumilev's poetic works by contemporaries, we have revealed that literary reputation develops throughout the life of a poet or writer and is a complex phenomenon characterized by dynamism, variability, and also of a social nature.

The literary reputation of Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev includes such images as a writer, a traveler and a lover, which we believe is the basis for characterizing public perceptions of the poet in the post-symbolist period.

In 1914, serious incidents began to occur in the world: the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the beginning of general mobilization in Russia, the transition of Germany to martial law. With the beginning of hostilities, Gumilev voluntarily goes to the front.

During the First World War, the poet was constantly published in various literary, on weekends he performs at poets' evenings. Another image in the literary reputation of Nikolai Stepanovich is the image of a military man, a soldier. The influence of military events on literary reputation is the subject of study of other material, in connection with which we first identified the historical period, the analysis of which is given in the article.

We consider the study of this period to be a promising and interesting direction for further study of factors affecting not only creativity, but also the perception of the poet by the public. The reflections given in the article can help not only in the study of the image of Nikolai Gumilev, but also in the study of literary reputation as a phenomenon in general.

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The literary biography of a writer, poet, or playwright is increasingly rare in the spectral layout of scientific publications. But, in my opinion, works of this type are valuable, important, because they complement the full scale of the creative figure, adjust the option of evaluating talent. The presented text is focused on the analysis of Nikolai Gumilev's literary reputation. The article is competently structured, the author at the beginning of his work makes the necessary systematic review of sources that are somehow focused on this problem: "literary critics turn directly to the study of the biography and worldview of the poet, which is reflected in the dissertations of Yu. Yu. Dmitrieva "The concept of the path in the work of N. S. Gumilev", A. N. Dubovtseva "The Origins of the World culture in the artistic thinking of N. S. Gumilyov", L. A. Sinelshchikova "Spiritual and moral guidelines in the Russian culture of the Silver Age: socio-philosophical aspects" and N. V. Derina "Artistic creation of N. Gumilyov and the romantic idea"), V. Polushina "Nikolai Gumilyov. The Life of a shot poet" and Yu. V. Zobnin "Nikolai Gumilev the poet of Orthodoxy". The attention of a number of authors (for example, D. V. Sokolova in the work "The lyrical subject and characters in the poems of N. S. Gumilev") is directed at the artistic world of the poet." Further, he clarifies what the essay will be devoted to in particular: "despite the researchers' appeal to various aspects of the poet's life and work, there remain unfilled gaps, for example, the poet's literary reputation, which is the subject of this article. The author of the work has a narrower task: exploring the elements of Nikolai Gumilev's biography, to formulate the key features of literary reputation in the period of postsymbolism - that is, from 1910 to 1914." It is worth agreeing that the chosen line of research is relevant, interesting, and poorly studied. Therefore, the work has scientific novelty and practical significance. The theoretical factor is leveled, since the research methodology is not literally connected with any conceptual paradigm. The material is interesting, logically verified, stylistically smooth; the language is borderline related to the scientific type. Judgments in the course of the narrative are accurate: for example, "I.E. Gitovich defines literary reputation as an opinion about a writer that exists in the eyes of the public and determines his place in the literary system. The image of a writer or poet, formed by his contemporaries, affects the perception of descendants not only of the author's life, but also of his work. In this context, we will interpret the concept in the article ", or "A. Reitblatt's monograph "How Pushkin came out as a genius: History-sociological essays on the book culture of the Pushkin era" indicates that the formation of a stable image is influenced by creative circles, the media, readers, publishers, as well as those close to the author. The literary critic notes that literary reputation is the quintessence of evaluating creativity and public image, which is influenced by the behavior of the writer, including,"or "the study of the literary reputation of a writer involves the analysis not only of his works, but also of the non-literary context, namely, the existence of a personality in society: travel, scientific research, dating and much more other things. Before proceeding to the study of the factors influencing N. Gumilev's literary reputation, it is necessary to first identify the context, namely, to explain what we mean by post-symbolism," etc. There are enough footnotes and citations in the work; the reference segment is introduced into the text taking into account the requirements of the publication. I think that the main task of Hoodoo's work has been solved, but a number of positions can be further developed: for example, "the literary reputation of Nikolai Stepanovich Gumilev includes such images as a writer, a traveler and a lover, which we believe is the basis for characterizing public perceptions of the poet in the post-symbolist period," in fact, himself The author comments on this point: "we consider the study of this period to be a promising and interesting direction for further study of factors affecting not only creativity, but also the perception of the poet by the public. The reflections given in the article can help not only in the study of the image of Nikolai Gumilev, but also in the study of literary reputation as a phenomenon in general." The list of sources is extensive, the relevance of the included works is beyond doubt. The work is independent, original, even with frequent reference to one or another opinion, the author's position is different. Serious editing of the text is not required, the available volume is enough to disclose the issue. I recommend the article "Life vicissitudes in the mirror of Nikolai Gumilev's literary reputation in the post-Symbolist period" for open publication in the magazine "Litera".
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