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Asoyan, A.A. Dante’s Implications for Ellis’ Creative Mind: the Years of 1904–1914

Published in journal "Philology: scientific researches", 2014-1 in rubric "Imagination and its fruits", pages 65-76.

Resume: The subject matter of this research article is the evolution of views of a famous theorist of symbolism Ellis (Lev Kobylinsky) during the most active period (1904–1914) of the most respected Russian literary movement at the beginning of XXth century. Being an ‘Argonaut’ and having quite close relations with Andrei Bely, Emily Metner, Vyacheslav Ivanov and some relations with Alexander Blok, Ellis had very singular personal qualities and demonstrated drastic shifts in his intellectual, philosophical and religious views. That was the reason of his unique marginality. It also caused the Russian elite to feel rather indifferent towards Ellis’ life and creative work. However, marginality always represents extreme conditions that reflect the most typical features of the historical epoch. Therefore it is not only useful but necessary to study the literary heritage left by Ellis. As the author of the article sees it, the most natural method for analyzing Elis’ legacy is the study of his creative work from a certain perspective that would allow to define the most challenging and the most important moments in the biography of the Russian symbolist. Such a perspective can be Ellis’ interest in Dante. Over the decade Ellis had been reviewing and developing his attitude and views on Dante. As a result, Ellis created the cardiogram of ‘swings’ as Andrei Bely called it. On his way to understanding the medieval poet, Ellis dipped into the atmosphere of Soloviev’s philosophy of love, Rosenkreuz mystic dreams and Steiner’s theosophy. Ellis viewed his path to understanding Dante as the ‘path of faith’ and always found the reasons to explain his subjective but profound perception of the author of The Divine Comedy. Ellis changed but never betrayed himself. That was the most intriguing feature of the Russian symbolist. Andrei Bely described it postfactum in his article ‘Why I became a symbolist’.

Keywords: symbolism, Argonaut, marginality, from the point of view of Dante’s studies, Ellis’ ‘swings’, Soloviev’s philosophy of love, Rosicrucianism, theosophy, ‘the path of faith’, intrigue, biography, theorist of symbolism.

DOI: 10.7256/2305-6177.2014.1.11132

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