- Vyacheslav Ivanov (poet)
Vyacheslav Ivanovich Ivanov ( _ru. Вячеслав Иванович Иванов) (
February 16(28), 1866– July 16, 1949) was a Russian poetand playwrightassociated with the movement of Russian Symbolism. He was also a philosopher, translator, and literary critic.
Moscow, Ivanov graduated from the First Moscow Gymnasium with a gold medal and entered the Moscow Universitywhere he studied history and philosophy under Sir Paul Vinogradoff. In 1886 he moved to the Berlin Universityto study Roman lawand economics under Theodor Mommsen. During his stay in Germany, he absorbed the thoughts of Friedrich Nietzscheand German Romantics, notably Novalisand Friedrich Hölderlin.
In 1893 Ivanov met
Lydia Zinovieva-Annibal, a poet and translator. Having divorced their spouses, they married 5 years later, first settling in Athens, then moving to Geneva, and making pilgrimages to Egyptand Palestine. During that period, Ivanov frequently visited Italy, where he studied the Renaissanceart. The rugged nature of Lombardyand the Alpsbecame the subject of his first sonnets, which were heavily influenced by the medieval poetry of Catholic mystics.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ivanov elaborated his views on the spiritual mission of
Romeand the Ancient Greek cult of Dionysus. He summed up his Dionysian ideas in the treatise "The Hellenic Religion of the Suffering God" (1904), which traces the roots of literary art in general and the art of tragedyin particular to ancient Dionysian mysteries.
Ivanov's first collection, "Lodestars", was published in 1903. It contained many of his pieces written a decade earlier and was praised by the leading critics as a new chapter in the
Russian Symbolism. The poems were compared to Milton's and Trediakovsky's on account of their detached, calculated archaism.
In 1905 Ivanov made his triumphant return to
St Petersburg, where he was much lionized as a foreign curiosity. A turreted house where he and Zinovieva-Annibal settled became the most fashionable literary salon of the era, and was frequented by poets ( Alexander Blok), philosophers ( Nikolai Berdyayev), artists ( Konstantin Somov), and dramatists ( Vsevolod Meyerhold). The latter staged Calderon's "Adoration of the Cross" in Ivanov's house. The poet exerted a formative influence on the Acmeismmovement, whose main tenets were formulated in the turreted house.
His wife's death in 1907 was a great blow to Ivanov. Thereafter the dazzling Byzantine texture of his poetry wore thin, as he insensibly slipped into
theosophyand mysticism. The poet even claimed to have had a vision of his late wife ordering him to marry the daughter by her first marriage. Indeed, he married this stepdaughter in 1910; their son Dmitry was born 2 years later.
Upon their return from an Italian voyage (1912-13), Ivanov made the acquaintances of art critic
Mikhail Gershenzon, philosopher Sergei Bulgakov, and composer Alexander Scriabin. He elaborated many of his Symbolist theories in a series of articles, which were finally revised and reissued as "Simbolismo" in 1936. At that time, he relinquished poetry in favour of translating the works of Sappho, Alcaeus, Eschylus, and Petrarch.
In the abysmal years following the revolution, Ivanov concentrated on his scholarly work and completed a treatise on "Dionysus and Early Dionysianism" (1921), which earned him a Ph.D. degree in
philology. The new Communistgovernment didn't allow him to travel outside Russiauntil 1924, when he went to deliver lectures on classical philology at the BakuUniversity. From Azerbaijanhe proceeded to Italy, where he settled in Rome, finally converting to Roman Catholicismin 1926. His last collections of verse were the "Roman Sonnets" (1924) and the "Roman Diary" (1944). Many other poems appeared posthumously.
Ivanov died in
Romein 1949 and was interred at the Cimitero Acattolico, not far from the graves of Karl Briullovand Alexander Ivanov.
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