Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title Alexander Blok, the German “Conservative Revolution” and the Russian Avant-Garde
Author email
About author Rykov, Anatolii Vladimirovich — full doctor in Philosophy, Ph. D. in Art History, professor. Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetskaia nab., 7/9, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russian Federation.,
In the section Art Theory DOI10.18688/aa177-7-64
Year 2017 Volume 7 Pages 626634
Type of article RAR Index UDK 7.067 Index BBK 85.1

The paper examines the political aspects of Alexander Blok’s poetry and critical works. The main focus is on the heritage of the German “Conservative Revolution” and its influence on Blok’s oeuvre. The authordraws a comparison between one of the most radical Blok’s papers — “The Decline of Humanism” (1919) and Nikolay Punin’s and Evgeny Poletayev’s protofascist tract “Against Civilization” (1918). Special attention is paid to the discourses of war and struggle in Blok’s poetry and criticism. The article considers the special ways of convergence of Symbolist and Futurist aesthetics in the Russian avant-garde in the contexts of racism andnationalism. It explores Blok’s views on art and politics as the Russian equivalent of the protofascist theories of regeneration (for instance, Richard Wagner’s and Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s conceptions). The papertraces the biological metaphors in Blok’s poetry and publications, their role in the development of his populist, anti-intellectualistic aesthetics. It concerns the racist, sexist, and classist connotations of Blok’s works in relation to the general issues of avant-garde art interpretation. The author draws the conclusion that “The Decline of Humanism”, as one of the theories of romantic anti-capitalism, combines the elements of Social Darwinism and eugenics, close to the rhetoric of the German “Conservative Revolution” and proto-fascist discourses in European culture of that period.

Reference Rykov, Anatolii V. Alexander Blok, the German “Conservative Revolution” and the Russian Avant-Garde. Actual Problems of Theory and History of Art: Collection of articles. Vol. 7. Ed. S. V. Mal’tseva, E. Iu. Staniukovich-Denisova, A. V. Zakharova. — St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Univ. Press, 2017, pp. 626–634. ISSN 2312-2129.
Publication Article language russian
  • Antliff M. Avant-Garde Fascism: The Mobilization of Myth, Art, and Culture in France, 1909–1939. Durham; London, Duke University Press Publ., 2007. 376 p.
  • Blok A. A. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii i pisem v 20 t. Т. 5. Stikhotvoreniia i poemy (1917–1921) (Complete Collection of Writings and Letters in 20 vols. Vol. 5. Poems (1917–1921)). Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1999. 564 p. (in Russian).
  • Blok А. А. Sochineniia v 2 t. Т. 2. (Writings in 2 vols. Vol. 2). Moscow, Gosudarstvennoe izdatelstvo khudoshestvennoi literatury Publ., 1955. 846 p. (in Russian).
  • Blumbaum A. B. On the Sources of “Vozmezdiye”: Alexander Blok and Pavel Milyukov. Rabota i sluzhba: Sbornik pamyati Rashita Yangirova (Work and Service: In Memory of Rashit Iangirov). Saint Petersburg, Svoye izdatelstvo Publ., 2011, pp. 13–41 (in Russian).
  • Blumbaum A. Loci Сommunes of the “Jewish Question” in Blok’s Oeuvre: From the Commentary on “Art and Newspaper”. Die Welt der Slaven, 2014, vol. 59, pp. 242–267 (in Russian).
  • Griffin R. Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler. Houndmills; New York, Palgrave Macmillan Publ., 2007. 470 p.
  • Herf J. Reactionary Modernism: Technology, Culture, and Politics in Weimar and the Third Reich. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press Publ., 1984. 252 p.
  • Hewitt A. Fascist Modernism: Aesthetics, Politics, and the Avant-Garde. Stanford, Stanford University Press Publ., 1993. 222 p.
  • Jameson F. Fables of Aggression: Wyndham Lewis, the Modernist as Fascist. Berkeley, Los Angeles, University of California Press Publ., 1979. 190 p.
  • Maksimov D. E. Poeziya i proza Alexandra Bloka (Poetry and Prose of Alexander Blok). Leningrad, Sovietskii pisatel Publ., 1981. 552 p. (in Russian).
  • Marc F. 100 aphorisms. The Second Image. Iskustvoznaniye (Art Studies), 2008, no. 4, pp. 287–313 (in Russian).
  • Piianykh M. F. (ed). Alexander Blok. Andrei Belyi. Dialog poetov o Rossii i Revolutsii (Alexander Blok. Andrei Belyi. Dialogue of Poets on Russia and Revolution). Moscow, Vysshaia shkola Publ., 1990. 687 p. (in Russian).
  • Plenkov O. Iu. Triumf mifa nad razumom (nemetskaya istoriya i katastrofa 1933 goda) (Triumph of Myth over Reason (German History and the Catastrophe of 1933)). Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Dal Publ., 2011. 608 p. (in Russian).
  • Poletaev E.; Punin N. Protiv tsivilizatsii (Against Civilization). Petrograd, Gosudarstvennoe izdatel’stvo Publ., 1918. 138 p. (in Russian).
  • Rykov A. V. Between a Conservative Revolution and Bolshevism. Nikolai Punin’s Total Aesthetic Mobilization. Novoye literaturnoye obozreniye (The New Literary Observer), 2016, no. 4 (140), pp. 240–258 (in Russian).
  • Rykov A. V. Politics of Modernism. Nikolay Punin and Alexander Blok. Perekrestok iskusstv Rossiya Zapad. Trudy istoricheskogo fakulteta Sankt-Peterburgskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta № 25 (Crossroads of the Arts. Russia and the West. Proceedings of the History Department of Saint Petersburg University, vol. 25), 2016, pp. 177–184 (in Russian).
  • Sayre R.; Loewry M. Figures of Romantic Anti-Capitalism. New German Critique, 1984, vol. 32, pp. 42–92.
  • Sternhell Z. The Birth of Fascist Ideology: From Cultural Rebellion to Political Revolution. Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1994. 348 p.
  • Svetlikova I. Iu. Kant-Semite and Kant-Aryan in Belyi’s Oeuvre. Novoye Literaturnoye Obozreniye (The New Literary Observer), 2008, no. 93, pp. 62–98 (in Russian).
  • Svetlikova I. Iu. “Revenge of Copernicus”. Commentary on A. Blok’s Poem “Vozmezdie”. Die Welt der Slaven. Internationale Halbjahresschrift für Slavistik, 2015, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 300–318 (in Russian).
  • Svetlikova I. Yu. On the Ideology of Pavel Florensky’s “Reverse Perspective”. Russkaia intellektualnaia revolutsiia 1910–1930-kh godov (The Russian Intellectual Revolution of 1910–1930s). Moscow, Novoye literaturnoe obozrenie Publ., 2016, pp. 123–139 (in Russian).