the TERM

Who was the first to start talking about the "silver age", why was this term so disgusting to contemporaries and when did it finally become a common place?

The Museum of the Silver Age.
Designed by architect Vladimir Chagin in the Northern Art Nouveau style.

The concept of the "silver age" applied to the turn of the XIX - XX centuries is one of the fundamental ones for describing the history of Russian culture.

The number of books, articles, anthologies and anthologies where the "silver age" appears as an established definition simply cannot be counted. Those 't less and the appearance of the phrase, and what value he put his contemporaries, is not even the problem, and a whole detective story.

Today, no have who don't can be no doubt positive (one might even say a "noble" as the silver) color of this phrase — contrasted, by the way, such a "decadent" characteristics that historical period Western culture, as fin de siècle ("end of century") or "the end of a great era."

Each time
has its own metal

It is worth starting from afar, namely with two significant examples when the properties of metals are attributed to the epoch. And here it is worth mentioning the ancient classics (first of all Hesiod and Ovid), on the one hand, and Pushkin's friend and co-editor on the "Contemporary" Pyotr Alexandrovich Pletnev, on the other.

First imagined history as the change of various human birth (in Hesiod, for example, gold, silver, bronze, heroic, and iron; Ovid subsequently abandon age of heroes and prefer classification only "metals"), in turn created by the gods and with time disappearing from the face of the earth.



The definition was quickly accepted by contemporaries and by the middle of the XIX century it became a common place. In this sense, the naming of the next big surge of poetic (and 't only) culture age "of silver" is not what else like humiliation:

Critic Peter Alexandrovich Pletnev was the first to name the epoch of Zhukovsky, Batyushkov, Pushkin and Baratynsky as the "golden age" of Russian poetry.

So it becomes clear why the scientists-humanitarians who came out of the cultural cauldron of the turn of the century, the phrase "silver age" deeply disgusted. Such were the critic and translator Gleb Petrovich Struve (1898-1985), linguist Roman Osipovich Yakobson (1896-1982) and literary historian Nikolai Ivanovich Khardzhiev (1903-1996).

All three spoke about the "silver Age" with considerable irritation, directly calling such a name erroneous and incorrect. This note claims only to be a popular retelling of the work of a remarkable polymath "The Silver Age as Intent and Fiction".

than gold.

much less noble,

silver is a metal




"The yearning of the spirit, the desire for the "beyond" permeated our "Silver Age", partly under the influence of the West."

Russian Russian writer Dmitry Petrovich Svyatopolk-Mirsky (1890-1939), one of the most influential critics of the Russian diaspora and the author of one of the best "Stories of Russian Literature", preferred to call the cultural abundance surrounding him "the second golden age". Century as "silver" in accordance with the hierarchy of precious metals, Mirsky called the era of feta, Nekrasov and Alexei Tolstoy, and here he coincided with philosophers Vladimir Soloviev and Vasily Rozanov, taps for the "silver age", the period from approximately 1841 to 1881 years.

Berdyaev and the mistake

(this is what Berdyaev called him, contrasting Pushkin's "Golden")

of the memoirist
It is even more important to point out that Nikolai Alexandrovich Berdyaev (1874-1948), who is traditionally credited with the authorship of the term "silver age" in relation to the turn of the XIX–XX centuries, actually imagined cultural development in much the same way as his colleagues in the philosophical workshop. Berdyaev traditionally called the Pushkin era the golden age, and the beginning of the twentieth century with its powerful creative rise — the Russian cultural (but by no means religious) Renaissance. It is characteristic that the phrase "silver age" does not occur in any Berdyaev text. In attributing to Berdyaev the dubious fame of the discoverer of the term, several lines from the memoirs of the poet and critic Sergei Makovsky "On the Parnassus of the Silver Age", published in 1962, are to blame:

«Томление духа, стремление к „запредельному“ пронизало наш век, „Серебряный век“,

The mysterious Gleb Marev
and the appearance of the term

The first writer who worked at the turn of the century and declared his own era the "silver age" was the mysterious Gleb Marev (almost nothing is known about him, so it is possible that his name was a pseudonym). In 1913, under his name, the brochure "Vsedur. The Mitt of Modernity", which included the manifesto of the "Final Age of the Poezi". It is there that the formulation of metallurgical metamorphoses of Russian literature is contained:

«Pushkin is gold;

symbolism — silver;

modern times — тускломедная».

the pale All-blue».

If we take into account the quite probable parodic nature of Marev's work, it becomes clear the context in which the phrase "silver age" was originally used to describe the modern era for writers. It in polemical manner was made by the philosopher and publicist V. Razumnik Ivanov-Razumnik (1878-1946), in article 1925 years "Look and something" poisonous mocking (under Griboedov the pseudonym of Hippolyte Odushev) over Zamyatin, the "Serapion brothers", Acmeists and even formalists.

Russian Russian modernism's second period, which flourished in the 1920s, was contemptuously dubbed the "silver Age" by Ivanov-Razumnik, predicting the further decline of Russian culture.:

R. V. Ivanov-Razumnik with children: son Lev and daughter Irina. The 1910s

«...what awaits us next? Is Russian literature over? Hopeless night ahead, the kingdom of silver, then copper, then iron?"


Four years later, in 1929, poet and critic Vladimir Piast (Vladimir Alekseevich pestovskiy, 1886-1940) at the Preface to his memoirs "Meeting" talking about "silver age" contemporary poetry seriously (not possible that he did in okay dispute Ivanov-razumnik a) — although highly nenastoychivost and carefully:

However, in the mid-eighties, a fairly significant number of people were born who were called to "serve the muses."

Gold and silver century Piast found in -  classic Russian literature — on modern him culture he tried to project that same two-stage scheme, speaking of different generations of writers.

«"We are far from claiming to compare our peers, "eighties" by birth, with representatives of some "Silver Age" of Russian, say, "modernism".

The Silver Age
is getting bigger

The expansion of the concept of the "silver age" belongs to critics of Russian emigration. Nikolai Avdeevich Otsup (1894-1958) was the first to spread the term, applying it to the description of the entire pre-revolutionary era of modernism in Russia.

Initially, he only repeated Piast's famous thoughts in a 1933 article entitled "The Silver Age of Russian Poetry" and published in the popular Paris emigrant magazine Numbers. The Ocup, without mentioning Piast in any way, actually borrowed from the latter the idea of two centuries of Russian modernism, but threw out the "golden age" from the XX century. Here is a typical example of the reasoning of the Ocup:

Nikolay Avdeevich Ocup

"Russia, which was late in its development, due to a number of historical reasons, was forced to implement in a short time what was inThis has been done in Europe for several centuries.

The inimitable rise of the "golden age" is partly explained by this. But and what what we called "silver age", according force energy, and also the abundance of amazing creatures, almost has analogies in West:

These are phenomena squeezed into three decades, which, for example, occupied the entire nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century in France."

One of the first to pick up this phrase was the famous Parisian critic Vladimir Vasilyevich Weidle (1895-1979), who wrote in the article "Three Russias" published in 1937:

Участники студии «Звучащая раковина». Фотография Моисея Наппельбаума. 1921 год
Слева — Фредерика и Ида Наппельбаум, в центре — Николай Гумилев, справа — Вера Лурье и Константин Вагинов, внизу — Георгий Иванов и Ирина Одоевцева.

It was this compilation article that introduced the expression "silver age" into the lexicon of Russian literary emigration.

"The most striking thing modern history of Russia — it what was possible that silver age of Russian culture, which was preceded by her revolutionary crash".

the painfully jealous Ocup added words to the revised version of his article, which was published after the death of the critic, specifically that it was he who first owned the name "to characterize modernist Russian literature."

And here a reasonable question arises: what did the poets of the "silver Age" era think about themselves? How did the poets who represented this epoch define themselves? For example, Osip Mandelstam used the well-known term "Sturm und Drang" ("Storm and onslaught") to the era of Russian modernism.

Here a new term for the epoch is just beginning to be applied as something obvious, although this does not mean that it was since 1937 that the idea of the "silver age" has already become public domain:

In article of Marina Tsvetaeva "Fuck", published in 1935 year leading Parisian emigre magazine "Contemporary notes" when publications were confiscated following lines (they subsequently was restored by the researchers):

From this passage it follows that Tsvetaeva, first, was familiar with the name of "silver age"; second, saw him with enough irony (not possible that these word was a reaction to the above considerations Ocupa 1933 years). Finally, perhaps the most famous lines are from "Poems without a Hero" by Anna Akhmatova:

Understanding these lines is impossible without appeal to wider context of the poet, however doubt silver age have Akhmatova — 't definition of the era, and the common quote that carries its own function fiction text. For author "Poem without hero", dedicated to summing up the name "silver age" — 't characteristics of the era, and one it names (obviously not indisputable), the data literary critics and other cultural figures.

Nevertheless, the phrase under discussion quickly lost its original meaning and began to be used as a classification term. Mikhail Leonovich Gasparov wrote in the "preface to the "poetic anthology of the turn of the century:

So the definition quickly became fixed and was taken on faith by both readers and researchers (it is possible that for lack of a better one) and spread to painting, sculpture, architecture and other areas of culture.

The phrase "silver age" in its application to the beginning of the XX century is found only in two major poets (or, more precisely, poetesses).

would not need about thirty pieces of silver».

or, then, we, the children of the silver age,

«It would not be necessary — in front of the children,

He froze over the silver age».

And the silver moon is bright

In the Summer , the weather vane sang subtly,

«An archway darkened on the Galley,

«The poetics of the "silver Age" in question is primarily the poetics of Russian modernism. So it is customary to call three poetic trends that announced their existence between 1890 and 1917...»

author of longrid:
GeorGIOS Papadopoulos
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