Unorthodox Beauty: Russian Modernism and Its New Religious Aesthetic

Unorthodox Beauty: Russian Modernism and Its New Religious Aesthetic

by Martha Kelly


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Unorthodox Beauty shows how Russian poets of the early twentieth century consciously adapted Russian Orthodox culture in order to create a distinctly religious modernism. Martha M. F. Kelly contends that, beyond mere themes, these writers developed an entire poetics that drew on liturgical tradition. Specifically, Russian Orthodoxy held out the possibility of unifying spirit and matter, as well as a host of other dichotomies—subject and object, empirical and irrational, noumena and phenomena. The artist could produce a work of transformative and regenerative power. Using a range of crossdisciplinary tools, Kelly reads key works by Blok, Kuzmin, Akhmatova, and Pasternak in ways that illustrate how profoundly religious traditions and ideas shaped Russian modernist literature.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810132382
Publisher: Northwestern University Press
Publication date: 03/31/2016
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

MARTHA M. F. KELLY is an assistant professor of Russian in the Department of German and Russian Studies at the University of Missouri.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

Acknowledgments xi

Note on Spelling and Abbreviations xiii

List of Abbreviations xv

Introduction 3

Chapter 1 Aleksandr Blok's Other Body 35

Excursus Marina Tsvetaeva's Verses to Blok 62

Chapter 2 Sex, Love, and Liturgy: Mikhail Kuzmins Revisions of Sophia 66

Chapter 3 "Through Dark Vaults": The Byzantine Imaginary of Poem without a Hero 108

Excursus Osip Mandelstam's Eucharist 154

Chapter 4 Cultural Transformation as Transdisfiguration in Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago 158

Epilogue Ol'ga Sedakovas Religious Humanism 180

Appendix: The Shape of the Liturgy 190

Notes 205

Works Cited 257

Index 275

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