(Lovers of Wisdom), the name given to the members of the Society of Lovers of Wisdom, a literary and philosophical circle that was active in Moscow from 1823 to 1825. The society’s members included V. F. Odoevskii, D. V. Venevitinov, I. V. Kireevskii, N. M. Rozhalin, A. I. Koshelev, V. P. Titov, S. P. Shevyrev, and N. A. Mel’gunov.
The circle was primarily philosophical in nature. The Liubomudry studied the works of B. Spinoza, I. Kant, J. G. Fichte, and the German nature philosophers L. Oken, J. Gorres, and especially F. W. Schelling. Under the influence of Schelling’s principle of identity, they attempted to create a unified philosophical system that reduced “all events or all of man’s partial knowledge to a single source” (Venevitinov). In aesthetics, the Liubomudry opposed empiricism and “criticism of tastes” and attempted to show the need for a “unified theory of the beautiful” (Odoevskii, Venevitinov, and Shevyrev). These ideas were to be embodied in a philosophical and literary journal, whose program was expounded in Venevitinov’s article “Some Thoughts On the Plan for a Journal” (also published as “On the State of Education in Russia”), which was read at a circle meeting.
Many of the Liubomudry combined a philosophical bent with a liberal political orientation. Kireevskii was an admirer of Helvetius, Venevitinov “sang of freedom” in his “Song of the Greek” and poems on the death of Byron, and Odoevskii contributed to the Decembrist miscellany Mnemosine. The circle’s oppositionist sentiment intensified prior to the uprising of Dec. 14, 1825; according to Koshelev, the works of French political writers pushed German philosophy “from the forefront.” After the uprising was suppressed, the Liubomudry were frightened by the repressions and disbanded. The society’s bylaws and records of proceedings were burned by its chairman, Odoevskii. Subsequently most of the Liubomudry gathered around the journal Moskovskii vestnik.
The Liubomudry played a notable role in developing Russian versions of idealist dialectics and philosophical theories of art, to some extent preparing the way for the work of N. I. Nadezhdin, N. V. Stankevich, and V. G. Belinskii. In poetry, the Liubomudry contributed to the development of the philosophical lyric, marked by psychologism, striving for self-knowledge, and a penchant for allegory and pantheistic metaphors.
REFERENCESKoshelev, A. I. Zapiski. Berlin, 1884.
Barsukov, N. P. Zhizn’ i trudy M. P. Pogodina, book 1. St. Petersburg, 1888.
Piatkovskii, A. P. Kniaz’ V. F. Odoevskii i D. V. Venevitinov, 3rd ed. St. Petersburg, 1901.
Sakulin, P. N. Iz istorii russkogo idealizma: Kniaz’ V. F. Odoevskii, vol. 1. part 1. Moscow, 1913.
Aronson, M., and S. Reiser. Literaturnye kruzhki i salony. Leningrad, 1929.
Maimin, E. A. “Filosofskaia poeziia Pushkina i liubomudrov.” In Pushkin: Issledovaniia i materialy, vol. 6. Leningrad, 1969.
Mann, Iu. Russkaia filosofskaia estetika. Moscow, 1969.
Müller, E. Russischer Intellekt in europaischer Krise: I. V. Kireevskij. Cologne-Graz, 1966.
IU. V. MANN