Bely, Andrei

Bely, Andrei

(əndrā` byĕ`lē), pseud. of

Boris Nikolayevich Bugayev

(bûryēs` nyĭkəlī`əvyĭch' bo͞ogī`ĭf), 1880–1934, Russian writer. A leading symbolistsymbolists,
in literature, a school originating in France toward the end of the 19th cent. in reaction to the naturalism and realism of the period. Designed to convey impressions by suggestion rather than by direct statement, symbolism found its first expression in poetry but
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, he had a close but stormy relationship with Aleksandr BlokBlok, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich
, 1880–1921, Russian poet, considered the greatest of the Russian symbolists. As the leading disciple of Vladimir Soloviev, he voiced both mysticism and idealistic passion in an early cycle of love poems, Verses about the Lady Beautiful
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. His poetry includes the four-volume Symphonies (1901–8); his best prose is in the novels The Silver Dove (1910) and Petersburg (1912, tr. 1959) and in Kotik Letayev (1922), an autobiographical novel in the manner of James Joyce. He was an experimenter—his involved style often mixes realism and symbolism in complex forms. In his later years Bely was influenced by Rudolph SteinerSteiner, Rudolf
, 1861–1925, German occultist and social philosopher. He was a leader in the founding of the German Theosophic Association (see theosophy). In time he abandoned theosophy and developed a distinctive philosophy which he called anthroposophy; this philosophy
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's anthroposophy. He accepted the Soviet regime, but his works were not well received by Soviet critics. By the mid-1970s Western critics had discovered Bely, and several, including Vladimir NabokovNabokov, Vladimir
, 1899–1977, Russian-American author, b. St. Petersburg, Russia. He emigrated to England after the Russian Revolution of 1917 and graduated from Cambridge in 1922. He moved to the United States in 1940.
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, proclaimed him the most important Russian writer of the 20th cent. In 1974 new translations of The Silver Dove and Kotik Letayev were published in the United States, and in 1977 a new translation of Petersburg.


See study by J. D. Elsworth (1984).

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