A Fallen Idol Is Still a God: Lermontov and the Quandaries by Elizabeth Allen

By Elizabeth Allen

A Fallen Idol remains to be a God elucidates the historic forte and value of the seminal nineteenth-century Russian poet, playwright, and novelist Mikhail Iurevich Lermontov (1814-1841). It does so via demonstrating that Lermontov’s works illustrate the of dwelling in an epoch of transition. Lermontov’s specific epoch was once that of post-Romanticism, a time whilst the twilight of Romanticism used to be dimming however the sunrise of Realism had but to seem. via shut and comparative readings, the ebook explores the singular metaphysical, mental, moral, and aesthetic ambiguities and ambivalences that mark Lermontov’s works, and tellingly mirror the transition out of Romanticism and the character of post-Romanticism. total, the ebook unearths that, even if limited to his transitional epoch, Lermontov didn't succumb to it; in its place, he probed its personality and evoked its historic import. And the ebook concludes that Lermontov’s works have resonance for our transitional period within the early twenty-first century to boot.

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Extra resources for A Fallen Idol Is Still a God: Lermontov and the Quandaries of Cultural Transition

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Earthly splendor vanished and with it my grief—my melancholy flowed over into a new unfathomable world,—you, ecstasy of night, slumber of heaven, came upon me—the countryside rose gently—over it floated my liberated spirit, reborn. . I saw the transfigured traits of my beloved. In her eyes was all eternity—I took her hand and my tears became a sparkling, indestructible link. Thousands of years receded into the distance. . —It was the first, the only dream—and only since then have I felt an eternal, im- romanticism and its twilight  mutable faith in the heaven of night and its light, my beloved.

4 Let me begin my exploration of the various and contradictory Romantic spirit by recapitulating an emblematic but little-known story by the German author Ludwig Tieck entitled “The Runenberg” [“Der Runenberg”] (1802). It relates the tale of a young hunter, Christian, who abandons his family, friends, and familiar way of life on a pleasant plain and heads off into the mountains to pursue his dreams of discovering an unknown, exotic world amid nature’s sublimity. There he encounters a stranger, to whom he explains that “my father’s little, hampered garden, with its trimmed flowerbeds; our narrow dwelling; the wide sky which stretched above us in its dreary vastness, embracing no hill, no lofty mountain, all became more dull and odious to me” (217), until finally he fled.

In my view, the very loss of a center or core of integrity that distinguished and unified the principal Romantic values signals the shift from Romanticism to post-Romanticism. Not surprisingly, this shift to post-Romanticism is also signaled by the appearance of distinctive brands of fragments and irony (see especially Chapters 6, 7, and 8 for examples). Whereas Romantic fragments point beyond themselves to their completion in a larger implied whole at some future time, whether sooner or later, post-Romantic fragments point beyond themselves toward nothing.

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