Mikhail Kuzmin (1872-1936), Russia's first brazenly homosexual author, stood on the epicenter of the turbulent cultural and social lifetime of Petersburg-Petrograd-Leningrad for over 3 many years. A poet of the quality of Aleksandr Blok, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Boris Pasternak, Osip Mandelshtam, and Marina Tsvetaeva (and said as such through them and different contemporaries), Kuzmin used to be additionally a prose author, playwright, critic, translator, and composer who used to be linked to each element of modernism's background in Russia, from Symbolism to the Leningrad avant-gardes of the 1920s.
Only now's Kuzmin commencing to emerge from the "official obscurity" imposed via the Soviet regime to imagine his position as one in every of Russia's maximum poets and considered one of this century's so much attribute and colourful artistic figures. This biography, the 1st in any language to be in response to complete and uncensored entry to the writer's inner most papers, together with his infamous Diary, locations Kuzmin within the context of his society and instances and contributes to our discovery and appreciation of a desirable interval and of Russia's lengthy suppressed homosexual history.
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Extra info for Mikhail Kuzmin: A Life in Art
Others of his new release might even have been in sympathy together with his scornful rejection of a positivism and "progressivism" that had left guy bereft of religion. extra revealing for Kuzmin in my opinion, besides the fact that, is his pointed assault on Chicherin's worship of the facility of the human mind to create grand schemes. Dostoevsky and Leskov (two of his favourite authors) had noticeable that because the deadly appeal for generations of Russian intellectuals, and it now, Kuzmin believed, held his buddy lower than its spell: you assert "impossible" approximately what exists, and also you say it's fictitious, like an indication interpreting "buffalo" on an elephant's cage. What can one say to that? Is it now not the sacrifice of actual truth to a fictitious and harmonious idea? In conception it can't exist, this means that it doesn't exist, so whatever that contradicts the idea is a deception and fiction? however the very harmoniousness of the idea and the syllogisms forces one to suspect that it's at variance with fact, the place every little thing is obvious and muddled, basic and contradictory, and scarcely vulnerable to systematization. (Autumn 1901) He rejected any type of method, philosophical or differently, as a distortion of the complexity and limitless number of existence, and he made transparent his outspoken choice for all times over any procedure, for the actual over the final ("I could not care much less for the general"). This choice lies on the center of his later refusal to permit an individual, even his closest neighbors, to command his allegiance to any literary grouping or institution. Even the critical guiding principle of his one enterprise at forming a gaggle of likeminded writers round himself, the very short-lived "Emotionalism," a made of the polarized literary weather of the mid-1920s, has its roots in evaluations expressed on the tum of the century: the predilection for 54 "I AM looking . . . THE lengthy, lengthy direction" event itself over all else because the resource of paintings. concerning this trust is his self belief that good looks and fact are one with the realm, now not against it. His hostility to people who might intellectualize the religious, and his insistence at the desire for simplicity and a private religion, anything he repeats time and again, aid clarify why the ReligiousPhilosophical Society and its makes an attempt to collect the intelligentsia and individuals of the professional Church or the comparable actions of Merezhkovsky and his circle by no means attracted Kuzmin, regardless of his hindrance with faith. all of them absolutely repelled him. 29 most important is Kuzmin's circulate in his letters from an emphasis on and protection of the traditions of a common, unchanging church ("I have by no means imagined religion and the church as something yet strictly ordered intrinsically and extrinsically, universal to all instances and peoples, yet itself unchanging and unchangeable" [Autumn 1901]) to an incredibly own end approximately his personal paintings. It used to be nonetheless imperfect, he felt, and nonetheless unequal to the beauties of the area and his stories in it: "What I write is so pathetic compared to the way in which I recognize it and how all of it thrills me!