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Andrei Bely


Andrei Bely (1880–1934), was born Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev in Moscow. A leading symbolist, he had a close but stormy relationship with Aleksandr Blok. His poetry includes the four-volume Symphonies(1901–08); his prose include The Silver Dove (1910), Petersburg (1912), and Kotik Letayev (1922), an autobiographical novel in the manner of James Joyce. He experimented, often mixing realism and symbolism in complex forms. In his later years, Bely was influenced by Rudolph Steiner’s anthroposophy. He accepted the Soviet regime, but his works were not well received by Soviet critics. By the mid-1970s, Western critics had discovered Bely, and several, including Vladimir Nabokov, proclaimed him the most important Russian writer of the twentieth century. He died in Moscow.