The Byron Journal

Russian Byronism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

The Byron Journal (2010), 38, (2), 157–167.


This essay discusses a period of Byron's reception in Russia characterised not only by an intensified interest in Byron's works, but also the modification of Byron's influence by Russian literary tradition, contemporary aesthetic and philosophical ideas, a particular interest in Byron in relation to the perceived 'end' of European culture and an attention to Byron's 'metaphysical' dramas in connection with a more general turn to ontological/ metaphysical questions in Russian thought. Most striking, however, is the fact that between the 1880s and 1910s, the theoretical, literary and philosophical discussion of Byron in Russia played a significant part in the much larger national debate then going on about the kinds of survival and development available to humanity in general and Russian civilisation in particular. The essay shows that during this period Byron's life and work were read as containing the prototypes of contemporary individualistic and pessimistic 'diseases', as offering profound insights into the foundations of human existence and as prophesying a new era of the titanic 'superhuman' and 'divine humanity'.

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Author details

Klimova, Svetlana