Boris Nikolayevich Bugaev Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Andrey Bely (BYAY-lyuh), a major figure in Russian symbolism at the beginning of the twentieth century, was a novelist, poet, and prolific essayist. His nonfiction writings include memoirs as well as criticism and literary theory. He was born Boris Nikolayevich Bugaev, the son of Nikolay Bugaev, a prominent professor of mathematics at Moscow University. Bely graduated from that university in 1903 with a degree in natural sciences, and until his literary career interfered he fully intended to complete a second program in philosophy. During his student years, he began to publish his “symphonies,” a form now generally classified as prose but one in which he incorporated principles of musical composition.{$S[A]Bugaev, Boris Nikolayevich;Bely, Andrey}

Bely, who had avidly read the works of the German philosophers Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, was also strongly influenced by the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov, who had talked of a coming apocalyptic chaos as well as of the appearance of “Sophia,” the embodiment of divine wisdom. At the start of his career, Bely also began an intense and stormy friendship with fellow Symbolist poet Aleksandr Blok. Between 1903 and 1910, Bely’s extensive writing included numerous critical and theoretical works. Three major collections, totaling about fifteen hundred pages, appeared in 1910 and 1911, and in the course of his life he completed more than three hundred critical studies. Meanwhile, he also became interested in philosopher Immanuel Kant and the neo-Kantians, whose works he read extensively. Poetry was primarily the basis for his early literary reputation; his first three collections—Zoloto v lazuri (gold in azure), Pepel (ashes), and Urna (the urn)—contain the verse from this period and are widely regarded as his best poetic efforts.

Bely’s first novel, The Silver Dove, appeared only after he had become widely known as a poet, but from that point on his major work was in prose. Bely conceived of The Silver Dove as the first part of a trilogy to be...

(The entire section is 852 words.)