By Elizabeth Allen
A Fallen Idol continues to be a God elucidates the historic uniqueness and value of the seminal nineteenth-century Russian poet, playwright, and novelist Mikhail Iurevich Lermontov (1814-1841). It does so through demonstrating that Lermontov’s works illustrate the situation of residing in an epoch of transition. Lermontov’s specific epoch was once that of post-Romanticism, a time while the twilight of Romanticism was once 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 mirror the transition out of Romanticism and the character of post-Romanticism. total, the ebook unearths that, even if restrained to his transitional epoch, Lermontov didn't succumb to it; as an alternative, he probed its personality and evoked its old import. And the ebook concludes that Lermontov’s works have resonance for our transitional period within the early twenty-first century in addition.
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Extra info for A Fallen Idol Is Still a God: Lermontov and the Quandaries of Cultural Transition
Folliott, satirized by Thomas Love Peacock (1786–1866) in his novel Crotchet Castle (1831); the bored and embittered eponymous artist who cannot fulfill his dreams portrayed by Alfred de Musset (1810–57) in his drama André del Sarto (1833)—along with the later treatment of the same character by Robert Browning (1812–89), in Andrea del Sarto (1855), as a “faultless” but soulless craftsman utterly lacking in inspiration; and the weak-willed and miserable failure who serves as the title character in the novel Woyzeck (1835), by Georg Büchner (1813–37).
In each view, cultural integrity disappeared. In all of these versions of transitions out of a cultural period, those transitions—post-periods, as described in Chapter 1—are times when no integrated constellation of ideals, values, and beliefs clearly inspires and claims allegiance among leading artists and thinkers. Instead of authentic originality and unselfconscious enthusiasm there arises only a manneristic or epigonal devotion displayed through inauthentic imitations and self-indulgent excesses.
The visionary, all-integrating, titanic claims of high romanticism” (by which he means roughly the era of the Napoleonic wars) could not survive for long, he explains, for their “possible-impossible expansion of the self to a seamless identification with the universe” had to be “unstable and explosive” (6, 27). In other words, Nemoianu holds, drawing (like Lucas) on a libational metaphor: “The brew does not age well, not because it is too weak, but because it is too strong” (27). It led many of its devotees to a sense of “a drastically endangered existence” (6).