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 Dmitry  Merezhkovsky

Born:   August 2 (14), 1865
Deceased:   December 9, 1941

Poet symbolist, writer, critic, historian and religious philosopher


Dmitry Merezhkovsky was born into the family of a high-rank official in St. Petersburg in 1866.
At the age of 13 he showed interest in poetry and started writing poems. In 1888 the first collection of his verses was published.  
In 1884 Dmitry Merezhkovsky entered the Histort and Philology Faculty of the Moscow and Petersburg University, where he got deeply interested in philosophy. Having found poems by Vladimir Solovyov very attractive, Dmitry Merezhkovsky resorted to symbolism.
In 1889 he married Zinaida Gippius, who became his muse and had great influence on his creativity.

At the end of the 1880s and in the 1890s Dmitry Merezhkovsky and Zinaida Gippius travelled around Europe and studied European culture. During those years Dmitry Merezhkovsky translated antique tragedies from Latin and Greek into Russian and authored critical articles.

The year 1892 saw the publication of the collection of his poems under the title Symbols. This very collection gave name to the literary trend of Symbolism. The next collection of poems by Dmitry Merezhkovsky was titled New Poems and published in 1896.

In 1899 Dmitry Merezhkovsky addressed the subjects and issues of religion, Christianity and the church. Two years later he founded a philosophical and religious circle, which united intellectuals in discussing the matters of religion, church and the Russian culture till 1903.

Dmitry Merezhkovsky was deeply into historical prose and authored the trilogy Christ and Antichrist about the struggle of Christian and pagan in the person. He even called for adoption of new Christianity (the Third Precept), however, his ideas were not supported by the church.
The year 1896 saw the first part of the trilogy The Death of Gods. Julian Otstupnik. The second part Resurrected Gods. Leonardo da Vinci was published in 1901. The last part of the trilogy Antichrist. Pyotr and Alexey came out in 1905.
In 1909 the fourth collection of poems by Dmitry Merezhkovsky was published.
In the spring of 1906 Dmitry Merezhkovsky and his wife went to France. They stayed in Paris till 1908. This is where the work Le Tsar et la Revolution (The Tsar and Revolution) co-authored by Dmiry Merezhkovsky, Zinaida Gippius and D. Filosofov was published. Dmitry Merezhkovsky started work on his Kingdom of the Beast, a trilogy on the Russian history of the 18th – 19th centuries.

At the beginning of the 20th century his works enjoyed popularity in Europe and were translated into many languages. However, Dmitry Merezhkovsky's works were not widely known in Russia due to most severe censorship, since the poet opposed autocracy and the official church.
After the revolution Dmitry Merezhkovsky with his wife migrated to Poland, where he carried out vigorous political activity against the Bolshevism, and soon was compelled to move to Paris.

In 1927 Dmitry Merezhkovsky cofounded the religious and philosophical circle Green Lamp, which played a major role in lives of the Russian abroad.

In 1931 Dmitry Merezhkovsky was nominated for the Nobel Prize, however it was won by Ivan Bunin.

Dmitry Merezhkovsky died in Paris on December 9, 1941.

The year 1951 saw the publication of Dmitry Merezhkovsky’s biography, on which Zinaida Gippius worked in the last years of her life.

Tags: Russian Writers Russian Philosophers Russian Poets Symbolism  

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