Andrei Belyi

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Belyi, Andrei


(pseudonym of Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev). Born Oct. 14 (26), 1880, in Moscow; died Jan. 8, 1934, in Moscow. Russian writer; theoretician of symbolism.

Belyi graduated from the mathematics department of Moscow University (1903). His first verses came out in 1901. He belonged to the symbolists of the “younger” generation. His first collection of poems was Gold in Azure (1904). The four “symphonies” written in rhythmical prose (The Heroic, 1900, published in 1903 under the title Northern Symphony; Dramatic Symphony, 1902; Return, 1905; Goblet of Snowstorms, 1908) were marked by decadent features.

The Revolution of 1905–07 aroused Belyi’ s interest in social problems (the collection of poems Ashes, 1909). In the novel Petersburg (1913–14, revised edition, 1922), a harsh satire of reactionary, bureaucratic St. Petersburg emerges through symbolic imagery; however, the revolutionary movement is shown in a distorted light. While abroad in 1912, Belyi was under the influence of the leader of anthroposophy, R. Steiner. In 1916, Belyi returned to Russia. After the October Revolution, from 1919–22, he published the symbolist-oriented journal Notes of Dreamers.

In the postrevolutionary years he wrote primarily prose: the autobiographical novellas Kotik Letaev (1922) and The Baptized Chinaman (1927), and the historical epic Moscow (part 1, The Eccentric of Moscow, 1926; part 2, Moscow Under Attack, 1926; and Masks, 1932). In his prose Belyi remained faithful to the symbolist aesthetic with its fragmented plot, its shifting planes, and its attention to rhythm and the auditory effect of phrasing. He developed a symbolist aesthetic (the collection of articles Symbolism, 1910) and a theory of rhythm in verse and prose in which he was the first to make use of mathematical methods (Rhythm as Dialectic and the “Bronze Horseman,” 1929, and articles in the journal The Furnace in 1919). Belyi’s memoirs On The Border Between Two Centuries (1930), The Beginning of the Century: Memoirs (1933), and Between Two Revolutions (1934) are of great interest.


Sobr. soch., vols. 4, 7. Moscow, 1917.
Masterstvo Gogolia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Aleksandr Blok i Andrei Belyi: Perepiska. Moscow, 1940.
Stikhotvoreniia i poemy. (With an introductory article by T. Iu. Khmel’nitskaia.) Moscow-Leningrad, 1966.


Briusov, V. Dalekie i blizkie. Moscow, 1912.
Voronskii, A. Literaturnye portrety, vol. 1. Moscow, 1928.
Literaturnoe nasledstvo, vols. 27–28. Moscow, 1937.
Mikhailovskii, B. V. Russkaia literatura XX. v. Moscow, 1939.
Istoriia russkoi literatury, vol. 10. Moscow-Leningrad, 1954.
Denisova, L. Problema dialektiki v sovetskoi estetike 20-kh godov. In Iz istorii sovetskoi esteticheskoi mysli: Sb. st. Moscow, 1967. Pages 407–13.


References in periodicals archive ?
Andrei Bely (Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev, 1880-1934), one of the principal writers of the Russian Symbolist movement, produced a novel considered by many literary historians to be one of the greatest of the 20th century.
The poet Andrei Bely constructed elaborate parallels between his self-image and characters from The Ring.
They include writers Kornei Chukovsky and Andrei Bely, Gorky's common-law wife and actress Mariia Fyodorovna Andreeva, Gorky's secretary Pyotr Petrovich Kryuchkov, Nobel Prize-winner Boris Pasternak and his companion Olga Ilinskaya, producers Arthur Rank and Alexander Korda, president of the provisional government Alexander Kerensky, and others.
Many of the authors anthologized here are little-known to American readers, which adds to the book's appeal: Marcel Ayme, Andrei Bely, Mikhail Bulgakov, Piero Camporesi, Elias Canetti, Antonin Careme, Leonora Carrington, Blaise Cendrars, Rene Char, Barbara Comyns, Sergei Dovlatov, Luigi Colombo Fillia, Eduardo Galeano, Francois Hebert, Ismail Kadare - without going further, it's obvious that Gordon's literary palate leans toward French and Eastern European dishes, which has the advantage of adding new names to the reading lists of "bibliogourmands" (her word) with appetites as ravenous as Gordon's.
Poets of Hope and Despair presents Ben Hellman's personal reading of the Russian symbolist poets' ideologies during World War I, such poets as Andrei Bely, Alexander Blok, Zinaida Hippius, Dmitri Merezhkovsky, Fyodor Sologub, and others.
Apart from being an author of seven books in Russian, winner of the prestigious Andrei Bely literary prize, porn star in Bruce LaBruce's queerly acclaimed 1999 Skin Gang (in which he is billed as Tom International), and now performance artist (with Assume Vivid Astro Focus, among others) and photographer, somehow Slava's reluctance to settle down, settle for the norm, jumps out of his multiple personae and trajectories.
Born in 1955, he lives in Moscow and has won the People's Booker and Andrei Bely prizes.