Acmeist Ecphrasis between Tradition and Modernity

  • Maria Rubins


Emotional withdrawal reminiscent of Voloshin is emblematic of poetry by the Acmeist leader, Nikolai Gumilev (1886–1921). Gumilev’s life was brief, but remarkably intense and dramatic. Driven by a spirit of adventure and discovery, he made several trips to Africa, fueling an exotic quality in his texts, shared with his favorite French Parnassian, Leconte de Lisle.When the First World War broke out, he enlisted as a volunteer in the Imperial Army, and toward the end of the war spent some time in London and Paris. A true monarchist, Gumilev was arrested in August 1921 and executed shortly thereafter for alleged counterrevolutionary conspiracy.2 But Gumilev was dedicated to the Acmeist credo separating art and reality, and he generally eschewed political themes in his verse, drawing instead on an amalgam of cultural sources, including Russian, French, Italian, Persian, Chinese, and Greek. Spanning continents and ages, a range of traditions and styles impart a truly transcultural and cosmopolitan aspect to his poetry.


Tang Dynasty Chinese Verse White Stone Stark Opposition Lyric Persona 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Maria Rubins 2000

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  • Maria Rubins

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