Other Literary Forms
Aleksandr Blok was the best poet in the second wave of Russian Symbolists at the beginning of the twentieth century. His early poems are included in the collections Stikhi o prekrasnoy dame (1904; verses about the beautiful lady) and Ante lucem (1909; before light), which express his adoration of mythical Sophia, in fact his later wife. His exuberance later changed to a more somber mood, the beautiful lady being replaced by a stranger (neznakomka), in Puzyri zemli (1916; earth’s bubbles), Gorod (1916; the city) Snezhnaya maska (1907; the masque of snow), and Faina (1916). World War I brought a patriotic fervor to his poetry, in Na pole Kulikovom (1908; on the field of Kulikovo) and Vozmezdie (1922; retribution). His masterpiece, Dvenadtsat (1918; The Twelve, 1920), expresses his reaction to the Russian Revolution, which seems to be both receptive and skeptical. Blok also wrote essays about literature, theater, music, and culture.