The Silver Age

English > Context > Literary > The Silver Age

Aleksandr Blok

The beginning of the 20th century in Russian literature is often described as the Silver Age of Russian poetry. In the literature, this period was initially dominated by symbolism and its important representatives, who were mainly propagating l'art-pour-l'art, included the poet Aleksandr Aleksandrovich  Blok (1880-1928) and Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev (1880-1934), better known by the pen name Andrei Bely, whose novel Saint Petersburg is perhaps the most renowned work. In The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov referred three times to details of the work of the latter.

Anna Akhmatova and Osip Mandelstam

In 1910 emerged the acmeïst poetry, a movement that rebelled against the symbolism. The acmeist poets sought in their verses for supreme clarity. Acmeism comes from the Greek word ακμή [akmi], which means acme or the best age. The movement started as Цех поэтов [Tsekh poetov] or Guild of Poets, a reference to the medieval guilds. The founders of the Guild were Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilyov (1886-1921, poet and husband of Anna Andreevna Akhmatova (1889-1966), and Sergey Mitrofanovich  Gorodetsky (1884-1967). At first, the group held its meetings in The Stray Dog Cafe in Saint Petersburg, an important meeting place for artists and writers at that time. The poem cycle Камень [Kamjen] or The Stone, published by Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (1891-1938) in 1913, is considered the culmination of the efforts acmeist poetry.

Share this page |