Fallacy of the Silver Age in Twentieth-Century Russian by Omry Ronen

By Omry Ronen

During this examine, Ronen seriously examines the time period "Silver Age", which through the years has received such extensive forex between historians and connoisseurs of twentieth century Russian tradition. the writer strains the foundation and the arguable improvement of what he condemns as an influential misnomer. Ronen units out to debunk the parable that attributes invention of the time period to Nikolai Berdiaev, and in flip strains this commonly used catchword within the severe idiom from an abscure, avante-garde manifesto to the current day. He lays to relaxation using the time period which he sees because the so much deceptive constituent of Russia's modern cultural self-awareness and self-assessment.

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Hence Akhmatova’s precise pinpointing of the poles of that era: Zolotogo l’veka viden’e Ili chernoe prestuplen’e V groznom khaose davnikh dnei. ] (A Poem Without a Hero, lines 361–363) There is no evidence that Akhmatova ever shared the condescending skepticism of Georgii Adamovich (1967:87), who wrote, blending a reference to Mark Twain’s “Gilded Age” and the expression applied to the Latin of the Middle Ages, latinitas argentata (rather than argentea): “[…]our Silver Age, which ought to be called actually a 40 OMRY RONEN silver-plated age” (kotoromu vprochem luchshe bylo by nazyvat’sia vekom poserebrennym).

Russian literature of that age was not a Renaissance one in its spirit. Only in Pushkin there are glimmerings of the Renaissance. That was the golden age of Russian poetry [emphasis added]. This Russian Renaissance was carried out in the very narrow circle of Russian cultured nobility. It soon collapsed, and literature changed course and took other directions. Beginning with Gogol’, Russian literature has become instructive; it seeks what is right and teaches how to bring about what is right.

Lunoi oblita bronzovaia dver’, Zdes’ arlekin vzdykhal o slave iarkoi I Aleksandra zdes’ zamuchil Zver’. Kurantov boi i teni gosudarei… Rossiia, ty, na kamne i krovi, Uchastvovat’ v svoei zheleznoi kare Khot’ tiazhest’iu menia blagoslovi! [The rabble has fallen asleep. ] O bud’, Rossiia Aleksandra, Blagoslovenna i v adu! ] […] zachem Siialo solntse Aleksandra Sto let nazad, siialo vsem? ] The last quotation is from a 1917 poem addressed to Akhmatova, “To Cassandra,” who commented in her “Pages From the Diary (About Mandel’shtam)”: “The sun of Alexander shone/One hun dred years ago, it shone for all (December 1917),—this is, of course, also Pushkin.

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