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  Philologica 1 (1994)  


THE HISTORY OF ONE REVIEW (Viacheslav Ivanov’s “Cor ardens” in the Appraisal of Mixail Kuzmin)


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In Works and Days (1912, No. 1) Mixail Kuzmin published a review of Viacheslav Ivanov’s Cor ardens. This review, in the words of Ivanov, was subjected to an “amputation” by the journal: the last paragraph was lopped off, without the consent of the author. In this paragraph Kuzmin had proclaimed that “the technique of verse <...> has now only two masters: Valerij Briusov and Viacheslav Ivanov”. Viacheslav Ivanov, Kuzmin, Blok, Andrej Belyj and Emilij Metner all were, for their own different reasons, offended and displeased in this episode. Irritation and mutual grievances were mirrored in the correspondence and partially spilled out onto the pages of Apollo (Kuzmin’s Letter to the Editors). The polemic surrounding Kuzmin’s review revealed a crisis in the Works and Days camp and stimulated the split between Kuzmin on the one side, and Ivanov and the Symbolists on the other. Kuzmin had already broken earlier with Gumilev and the Acmeists and, therefore, he was compelled to look for contact with “independent” publishing organizations. This demanded considerable changes in his poetics; these changes were perceptible earlier but only now were they finally established.

“The history of one review” is illustrated by a large amount of archive documents, many of which are published for the first time in the present work.


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