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Ebook The Twelve & Other Poems by Alexander Blok read! Book Title: The Twelve & Other Poems
Date of issue: 1971
ISBN: 0413271900
ISBN 13: 9780413271907
The author of the book: Alexander Blok
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 691 KB
Edition: gnomon

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Translator's Note:
"Aleksandr Blok (1880-1921) wrote this poem in 1918, after the Russian October Revolution, in four January days during the Civil War. In his diary he says he wrote it 'in harmony with the elements...perhaps all political sentiment is so unclean that a single drop of it poisons and renders worthless all the rest; but perhaps, again, it does not destroy the meaning of the poem; and, who knows, perhaps it will in the end prove a ferment, resurrecting The Twelve for another time than ours.' The poem is a unique work, even for Blok himself. The three shorter poems included here will give at least a faint idea (I hope) of the quiet, Symbolist-Romantic flavor of most of Blok's other work." - Anselm Hollo

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Ebook The Twelve & Other Poems read Online! Blok (Russian: Александр Александрович Блок) was born in Saint Petersburg, into a sophisticated and intellectual family. Some of his relatives were men of letters, his father being a law professor in Warsaw, and his maternal grandfather the rector of Saint Petersburg State University. After his parents' separation, Blok lived with aristocratic relatives at the Shakhmatovo manor near Moscow, where he discovered the philosophy of Vladimir Solovyov, and the verse of then-obscure 19th-century poets, Fyodor Tyutchev and Afanasy Fet. These influences would be fused and transformed into the harmonies of his early pieces, later collected in the book Ante Lucem.

He fell in love with Lyubov (Lyuba) Dmitrievna Mendeleeva (daughter of the renowned chemist Dmitri Mendeleev) and married her in 1903. Later, she would involve him in a complicated love-hate relationship with his fellow Symbolist Andrey Bely. To Lyuba he dedicated a cycle of poetry that brought him fame, Stikhi o prekrasnoi Dame (Verses About the Beautiful Lady, 1904). In it, he transformed his humble wife into a vision of the feminine soul and eternal womanhood (The Greek Sophia of Solovyov's teaching). Blok's few relatives currently live in Moscow, Riga, Rome and England.

During the last period of his life, Blok concentrated primarily on political themes, pondering the messianic destiny of his country (Vozmezdie, 1910-21; Rodina, 1907-16; Skify, 1918). Influenced by Solovyov's doctrines, he was full of vague apocalyptic apprehensions and often vacillated between hope and despair. "I feel that a great event was coming, but what it was exactly was not revealed to me," he wrote in his diary during the summer of 1917. Quite unexpectedly for most of his admirers, he accepted the October Revolution as the final resolution of these apocalyptic yearnings.

By 1921 Blok had become disillusioned with the Russian Revolution. He did not write any poetry for three years. Blok complained to Maksim Gorky that he had given up his "faith in the wisdom of humanity". He explained to his friend Korney Chukovsky why he could not write poetry any more: "All sounds have stopped. Can't you hear that there are no longer any sounds?".[2]. Within a few days Blok became sick. His doctors requested him to be sent for medical treatment abroad, but he was not allowed to leave the country. Gorky pleaded for a visa. On 29 May 1921, he wrote to Anatoly Lunacharsky: "Blok is Russia's finest poet. If you forbid him to go abroad, and he dies, you and your comrades will be guilty of his death". Blok received permission only on 10 August, after his death.[2]

Several months earlier, Blok had delivered a celebrated lecture on Pushkin, whom he believed to be an iconic figure capable of uniting White and Red Russia. His death and the execution of his fellow poet Nikolai Gumilev by Cheka in 1921 were seen by many as the end of the entire generation of Russians [2]. Nina Berberova, then a young girl, recalled about the mood at his funeral: "I was suddenly and sharply orphaned... The end is coming. We are lost."

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