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

By Elizabeth Allen

A Fallen Idol continues to be a God elucidates the ancient forte 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 situation of dwelling in an epoch of transition. Lermontov’s specific epoch used to be 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 publication 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 booklet finds that, even supposing limited to his transitional epoch, Lermontov didn't succumb to it; as an alternative, he probed its personality and evoked its historic import. And the publication 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

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At first ambivalent, Christian finally trades the simple life for transcendence, although it may come at the cost of his very sanity. But does it? 5 Probably all of these—as is that quintessentially Romantic work of reckless transcendence, Goethe’s Faust. For “The Runenberg” sets forth a distinctive constellation of values and beliefs that all true Romanticists would, in one way or another, in part or in whole, adopt in their Faustian aspiration to transcend limitations in quest of the unconventional, the unconstrained, the unconditioned.

This is the magic of the completed self experiencing complete joy. Nature also serves the Romantic self in its quest for wholeness, integrity, and integration. To Romanticists, nature did not merely comprise an inert set of discrete classifiable elements, as in Linnaeus’s system of binomial nomenclature. 21 Being alive, nature was composed of organically connected parts that were born, grew, and decayed while passing on portions of their identity to their progeny. 22 This organicism also bespoke the spiritual unity of all things, bridging the self and nature.

Between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence” (21, 22) to any cultural assumptions. Novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton remarked this kind of discomfort in the nineteenth century when he wrote: “We live in an age of visible transition. To me such epochs appear . . ” British soldier and memoirist Frederick Roberts echoed the sentiment somewhat later: “It is an awful moment [of transition] .

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