THE FUTURIST ON THE MARGINS OF ISLAM:
“URUS DERVISH” AND “GUL-MULLA”
FROM THE VANTAGE POINT OF XLEBNIKOV’S
BIOGRAPHY AND POETICS
(Critical Survey and Addenda to the Commentary)
This article is devoted to Velimir Xlebnikov’s post-revolutionary poem Tyrant Without a T, which was written in Iran, and stemmed from the Futurist’s engagement with Iranian culture. The author focuses on the relationship between Xlebnikov’s behaviour and his creative work.
Special attention is paid to the word dervish, which appears in the poem repeatedly: it is precisely with dervishism that the whole idea of the “marginalized” Muslim adept is linked. Xlebnikov’s attitude toward two heterodox Islamic figures Mirza Ali Muhammad (Bab) and Qurrat al-‘Ayn (Tahirih) is also examined.
The article offers a reconstruction of the ideas about dervishism current among Xlebnikov’s contemporaries. This reconstruction is based on print sources of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.