It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature. - Henry James
Andrei Belyi (Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev, 1880 - 1934)
Andrei Belyi was a poet, a prosaic, a critic, and an author of memoirs, works on Symbolist theory, and philological research.
Belyi was the son of a professor of Mathematics, and graduated from Moscow University with a degree in Natural Science. He studied Darwin and the writings of various philosophers and idealists.
Belyi's path of artistic development was complicated and contradictory. Early on, he was attracted to the works of Nietzche and Shopenhauer, the philosophical ideas of Solovev, and the NeoKantist theories of Rikkert. Later, Belyi refuted many of these ideas and became a zealous proponent of the anthroposophical views of philosopher-mystics such as Rudolph Shteiner.
Belyi left behind a large literary legacy spanning various genres, including his three-tome memoirs about life in the first decade of the 20th century.
Poety plays a large role in Andrei Belyi's artistry. In 1901, he had some poems published. In 1904 the first collection of his poetry, "Gold in Azure" is filled with light and hints of joyous colors. Characteristically, Belyi weaves together two poetic styles. He does this by tempering lofty verse with depravity, seriousness, and irony.
In 1909, Belyi's most meaningful poetic book, "Ash", was published. It was dedicated to the memory of Nekrasov. The central theme of the book is Russia. Belyi himself said that "all of the verses in "Ash" comprise a single poem, ringing-out over the voiceless, unawakened expanses of Russian Land."
Later that year another collection of poetry, "Urn" was published. It was Belyi's final poetic achievement. He then began working on articles, novels, and memoirs. Of his memoirs, "On the Shore of Two Centuries," published in 1903, "The Beginning of the Century. Recollections," published in 1933, and "Between Two Revolutions," which was published in 1934, are the most noteworthy.