Other literary forms
Although famous in the Western world primarily for his historical romances, Dmitry Merezhkovsky (mehr-ehsh-KAWF-skee) was known among his Russian peers as a critic as well—and a particularly harsh one at that. His first critical work, a collection of essays published under the title O prichinakh upadka i o novykh techeniyakh sovremennoy russkoy literatury (1893; on the causes of the present decline and the new currents of contemporary Russian literature), was followed a decade later by perhaps his most important work of criticism and nonfiction, L. Tolstoy i Dostoyevsky (1901-1902; Tolstoi as Man and Artist, with an Essay on Dostoievski, 1902).
Throughout his life, Merezhkovsky would remain an essayist and critic, choosing as his subjects such wide and varied topics as the Acropolis, Michel de Montaigne, Marcus Aurelius, Gustave Flaubert, Henrik Ibsen, Alexander Pushkin, and Maxim Gorky. After the Bolshevik Revolution, his criticism became especially vitriolic, culminating in Tsarstvo Antikhrista (1921, with Z. N. Gippius and others), an indictment of Russia as a whole.
In addition, Merezhkovsky was a classicist, thus enabling him to translate Longus’s idyll Daphnis and Chloë (c. mid-second century c.e.) as well as numerous tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, into Russian for the first time. Finally, in the early stages of his career, Merezhkovsky published two collections of poetry, Stikhotvoreniya, 1883-1887 (1888) and Simvoly (1892), and one play, Pavel I (1908).