Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.



an early 20th-century movement in Russian poetry which evolved because of the crisis of bourgeois culture and expressed a decadent world view.

Acmeism arose as a reaction to symbolism. The representatives of acmeism, who united in the Poets’ Guild and published in the journal Apollon (1909–17), fought against the withdrawal of poetry into “other worlds” and the “unknowable,” as well as ambiguous and fluctuating poetic images. Even though they declared their preference for real, earthly life and called for the return of poetry to the forces of nature, the acmeists perceived life as being outside of society and history; man was excluded from the reality of society. The acmeists juxtaposed an esthete’s admiration for the trifles of life with social conflicts. Their poetry deals with things (for example, the work of M. Kuzmin), with the objective world, and with images of past culture and history (O. Mandel’shtam, in the collection Stone, 1913) and poetizes the biological origins of being (especially the works of M. Zenkevich and V. Narbut).

Inherent in N. Gumilev’s early poetry was an apologia for “the powerful personality” and “primordial” feelings which limited him to a consciousness that was antidemocratic and individualistic.

In the years after the revolution the Poets’ Guild ceased to exist as a literary school. As early as 1915 the most famous acmeists had transcended the limits of their manifestos; the works of A. Akhmatova, O. Mandel’shtam, N. Gumilev and, in part, M. Kuzmin developed individual destinies.


Blok, A. “Bez bozhestva, bez vdokhnoven’ia.” Sobr. soch., vol. 6. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.
[Manifesty akmeistov.] Apollon, 1913, no. 1.
Kuzmin, M. “O prekrasnoi iasnosti.” Apollon, 1910, no. 1.
Mikhailovskii, B. Russkaia literatura 20 v. Moscow, 1939.
Volkov, A. Ocherki russkoi literatury kontsa 19 i nachala 20 vv. Moscow, 1955.
Orlov, V. “Na rubezhe dvukh epokh.” Voprosy literatury, 1966, no. 10.
Zhirmunskii, V. “O tvorchestve Anny Akhmatovoi.” Novyi mir, 1969, no. 6.
Istoriia russkoi poezii, vol. 2. Leningrad, 1969.


References in periodicals archive ?
It has already lasted far longer as a structured group than any other in the history of French (or indeed, European) literature: romanticism, realism, naturalism, Parnassianism, symbolism, acmeism, futurism, vorticism, surrealism, structuralism, telquellism--all such "doctrines" and chapels rose and fell within the span of a decade or two, and often far less.
Scholars who study these connections are able to uncover significant aesthetic overlaps between Anglo-American, French, German, and Russian avant-garde movements such as Imagism, Acmeism, Symbolism, Futurism, Vorticism, Constructivism and others (Painter 3).
The length of individual poems tends toward longer rather than shorter, and poetic influences are eclectic, ranging from surrealism and dadaism to Russian acmeism and American confessionalism.
Let's remember that Albanian poetry of the 1960s and '70s, even the socialist-realist works, was heavily influenced formally by the Russian avant-garde, by acmeism and especially futurism: Akhmatova, Brodsky, Pasternak, Blok, Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva--almost all dissidents.
This strange resurrection of the symbolist idea of the duality of existence, filtered through the lenses of acmeism and surrealism, proves that the great lyric style that emerged at the beginning of the last century has still not exhausted itself in Russian poetry.