The Poetic Imagination of Vyacheslav Ivanov: A Russian Symbolist's Perception of Dante by Pamela Davidson
Vyacheslav Ivanov, poet, philosopher and critic, played a key role in the formation of the early twentieth-century Russian literature as leader of the religious branch of the Symbolist movement and his influence spread to Europe after his emigration to Italy in 1924. Pamela Davidson explores Ivanov's poetic method, relating his art to his central beliefs (in particular his interpretation of the ancient Greek religion of Dionysus and of the teachings of Vladimir Solovyov) and considering the ways in which he attempted to embody these ideas in his own life. She focuses on Ivanov's interpretation of Dante and in so doing, opens up fresh perspectives on the wider question of Russia's relation to the Western cultural tradition and Catholicism. Detailed analyses of Ivanov's pre-revolutionary poetry and of his translations from Dante form the basis of the second part of the study and extensive use is made of unpublished archival materials from the Soviet Union and Italy.