By Elizabeth Allen
A Fallen Idol continues to be a God elucidates the old uniqueness and importance of the seminal nineteenth-century Russian poet, playwright, and novelist Mikhail Iurevich Lermontov (1814-1841). It does so by means of 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 while the twilight of Romanticism used to be dimming however the sunrise of Realism had but to seem. via shut and comparative readings, the booklet explores the singular metaphysical, mental, moral, and aesthetic ambiguities and ambivalences that mark Lermontov’s works, and tellingly replicate the transition out of Romanticism and the character of post-Romanticism. total, the ebook unearths that, even though restrained to his transitional epoch, Lermontov didn't succumb to it; as a substitute, he probed its personality and evoked its old import. And the booklet concludes that Lermontov’s works have resonance for our transitional period within the early twenty-first century besides.
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Extra info for A Fallen Idol Is Still a God: Lermontov and the Quandaries of Cultural Transition
Notoriously difficult to place historically, the short-lived Lermontov (killed in a duel at the age of twenty-six) was an exceptional artist of a transitional time—to him, that time was the twilight of Romanticism, or what I will call post-Romanticism. For Lermontov’s works not only reflect his own particular transitional time, they also more generally illuminate the quandaries of cultural transition out of a period as they show Lermontov uniquely grappling with the loss of Romanticism’s cultural integrity.
130–31) Herzen cites the ancient Romans as representatives of such a period, and he sees himself and his generation in a similar state after the failed revolutions of 1848. ” So, he recalls later on, “life was going out like the last candles in windows before the dawn,” and as “the terrible progress of death” proceeded, “the vaster became the desert around us, the vaster grew our loneliness” (123, 135)—the loneliness of an existence seemingly headed nowhere, with nothing to believe in. cultur al integrity and cultur al anomie Whether or not transitions out of cultural periods exhibit some of this kind of eschatological gloom, one phenomenon common to this type of transition is what I will call a loss of cultural integration and integrity.
And he asserts of Ludwig Tieck that lately “a strange disparity between [his] intellect and his imagination” had appeared, so that in Tieck’s recent works “a timorous manner, a certain indefiniteness, uncertainty, and weakness are noticeable” (203–4). Overall, Heine inquires of his readers, “Don’t you see how sad and wan Germany is? ” (271). Remarking that Germany still “casts a melancholy glance at the past it leaves behind” (268), he urged the young to muster their strength and move forward. For Heine, “the gods” of Romanticism were “dying” in spirit, as well as in body, putting a whole generation at risk of going astray.