Translator Sarah Vitali
Publisher: Columbia University Press
In this unique literary memoir, “the greatest Russian poet of our time” pays tribute to the major authors of Russian Symbolist movement (Vladimir Nabokov).In Necropolis, the poet Vladislav Khodasevich turns to prose to memorializes some of the greatest writers of late 19th and early 20th century Russia. In the process, he delivers an insightful and intimate eulogy of the era. Recalling figures including Alexander Blok, Sergey Esenin, Fyodor Sologub, and the socialist realist Maxim Gorky, Khodasevich reveals how their lives and artworks intertwined, including a notorious love triangle among Nina Petrovskaya, Valery Bryusov, and Andrei Bely. Khodasevich testifies to the seductive and often devastating Symbolist ideal of turning one’s life into a work of art. He notes how this ultimately left one man with the task of memorializing his fellow artists after their deaths. Khodasevich’s portraits deal with revolution, disillusionment, emigration, suicide, the vocation of the poet, and the place of the artist in society. Personal and deeply perceptive, Necropolis show the early twentieth-century Russian literary scene in a new light.