Symbolism is a literary trend,It originated in the late 19th century in France and spread in many countries of Europe. However, it was in Russia that symbolism became the most significant and large-scale phenomenon. Russian symbolist poets introduced something new in this direction, something that their French predecessors did not have. Simultaneously with the appearance of symbolism, the Silver Age of Russian literature begins. But I must say that in Russia there was no single school of this modernist trend, there was no unity of concepts, one style. The creativity of poetic symbolists united one thing: mistrust of the ordinary word, the desire to express themselves in symbols and allegories.
The currents of symbolism
This is a literary trend in the worldviewposition and time of formation is classified into two stages. Poet-Symbolists appeared in the 1890s, whose list includes such figures as Balmont, Gippius, Bryusov, Sologub, Merezhkovsky, are called "senior". In the 1900s, the direction was replenished with new forces that significantly changed its appearance. Debuted "younger" poet symbolists, such as Ivanov, Blok, White. The second wave of the current is usually called the Young Symbolism.
Representatives of the "senior" school perceived thisliterary direction in the aesthetic sense. Balmont and Bryusov expressed the idea that the poet is primarily a creator of purely artistic and purely personal values. "Younger" poets saw the current in the religious-philosophical aspect. Philosophy, refracted in the poetic consciousness, is what symbolism means, in their opinion. Poets-symbolists of the second generation are also represented by Sergei Solovyov, Innokentiy Annensky and others.
In Russia this literary trendin the late 1890s. In Moscow, at the forefront of symbolism was Valery Bryusov, and in Petersburg - Dmitry Merezhkovsky. However, the most vivid and radical representative of the early school of symbolism in the city on the Neva was Alexander Dobrolyubov. Apart from all the modernist groups, another Russian symbolist poet, Fyodor Sologub, created his own poetic world.
But, perhaps, the most readable, musical andsonorous at that time were the poems of Constantine Balmont. At the end of the 19th century, he clearly stated "a search for matches" between meaning, color and sound. Similar ideas were encountered in Rambo and Baudelaire, and later in many Russian poets such as Blok, Bryusov, Khlebnikov, Kuzmin. Balmont saw this search for correspondences mainly in the creation of a sound-semantic text - music that gives meaning. The poet was carried away by the sound, began to use colorful adjectives in the works instead of verbs, as a result he created, as the detractors thought, almost meaningless verses. At the same time, this phenomenon in poetry eventually led to the formation of new poetic concepts, including melodeclamation, zaum, and sound.
The second generation of Symbolistspoets, first started publishing in the 1900s. Among them were as very young authors, for example, Andrei Bely, Sergei Soloviev, Alexander Blok, and respectable people, for example, the scientist Vyacheslav Ivanov, the director of the gymnasium Innokenty Annensky.
In St. Petersburg at that time, the "center" of symbolismwas the apartment of V. Ivanov at the corner of Tavricheskaya Street, where M. Kuzmin, A. Bely, A. Mintslov, V. Khlebnikov, N. Berdyaev, A. Akhmatova, A. Block, A. Lunacharsky used to live. In Moscow poets symbolists gathered in the editorial office of the publishing house "Scorpion", whose editor-in-chief was V. Bryusov. Here the issues of the most famous symbolist edition, "Libra", were prepared. The staff of the Scorpion were such authors as K. Balmont, A. Bely, Yu. Baltrushaitis, A. Remizov, F. Sologub, A. Blok, M. Voloshin and others.
Features of Early Symbolism
In Russia, the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. was a time of change, disappointment, gloomy omens and uncertainty. During this period, the approaching death of the existing socio-political system was not clearly felt. Such trends could not help influencing Russian poetry. The poems of the Symbolist poets were heterogeneous, as the poets held conflicting views. For example, such authors as D. Merezhkovsky and N. Minsky, at first were representatives of civil poetry, and later began to focus on the ideas of "religious community" and "god-building." The "older" Symbolists did not recognize the surrounding reality and told the world "no." Thus, Bryusov wrote: "I do not see our reality, I do not know our age ..." The early representatives of the current reality counterposed the world of creativity and dreams, in which the person becomes completely free, and they portrayed reality as dull, evil and meaningless.
Great value for poets hadartistic innovation - the transformation of the meanings of words, the development of rhymes, rhythms and the like. The "older" Symbolists were impressionists, eager to convey subtle nuances of impressions, moods. They have not yet used a system of symbols, but the word as such has already lost value and has become meaningful only as a sound, musical note, link in the overall construction of the poem.
In the years 1901-1904. a new stage in the history of symbolism began, and it coincided with the revolutionary upsurge in Russia. Pessimistic moods, inspired in the 1890s, were replaced by a premonition of "unheard-of changes". At this time, young symbols appeared in the literary arena, followers of the poet Vladimir Solovyov, who saw the old world on the brink of death and said that "divine peace" should be achieved by combining the heavenly beginning of life with the material worldly. In the works of symbolist poets, landscapes often began to appear, but not as such, but as a means of revealing the mood. Thus, in verse there is a constant description of the languid-sad Russian autumn, when the sun does not shine, or casts only faint, sad rays on the earth, the leaves rustle and quietly rustle, and everything is shrouded in a flickering misty haze.
Also the favorite motif of the "younger" Symbolists wascity. They showed him as a living being with his character, with his form. Often the city appeared as a place of horror, insanity, a symbol of vice and callousness.
Symbolists and revolution
In 1905-1907, when the revolution began,symbolism again underwent a change. Many poets responded to the events that took place. Thus, Bryusov wrote a famous poem "The Coming Huns", in which he glorified the end of the old world, but he ranked himself and himself, and all the people who lived in the period of the dying, old culture. Block in his works created images of people of the new world. In 1906, Sologub published a book of poems "Homeland", and in 1907 Balmont wrote a series of poems "Songs of the Avenger" - the collection was published in Paris and banned in Russia.
The Decline of Symbolism
At this time the artisticworldview of the Symbolists. If before they perceived beauty as harmony, now for them it has found a connection with the folk elements, with the chaos of struggle. At the end of the first decade of the 20th century, symbolism fell into decay and no longer gave new names. Everything viable, vigorous, young was already outside of it, although individual works were still created by symbolic poets.
List of the main poets who represent symbolism in literature
- Jurgis Baltrušaitis;
- Valery Bryusov;
- Zinaida Gippius;
- Fyodor Sologub;
- Konstantin Balmont;
- Alexander Tinyakov;
- Wilhelm Sorgenfrey;
- Alexander Dobrolyubov;
- Victor Strazhev;
- Andrei Bely;
- Konstantin Fofanov;
- Vyacheslav Ivanov;
- Alexander Blok;
- George Chulkov;
- Dmitry Merezhkovsky;
- Ivan Konevskaya;
- Vladimir Piast;
- Poliksena Solovyov;
- Ivan Rukavishnikov.