Winter 1963 • Vol. XXV No. 1 NonfictionJanuary 1, 1963 |

A Geometry of Prose

Petersburg, Andrei Belyi's startling novel, can be read in many ways. It may be read as satire on a complacent, empty-headed autocracy; as a symbolic city-scape haunted by bigotry, stupidity, and the threat of violence; or as an imaginative rendering of the revolutionary currents in the Russia of 1905. It may be read as a great game of language, written to test the limits of expressibility by the play of utmost skill. It may be read as a kind of masque of consciousness behind the mask of mere event. It may be read, as the editor who first rejected it observed, as "a subversive book, very malicious and even sceptical." The Russian Symbolists, among whom Belyi was a leading figure, produced most of their important writing in that period between the turn of the century and the beginning of the first World War when there was a special, odd, and profound feeling about the homogeneity of all intellectual activity. Theirs was a period that was intensely conscious of its own vitality in

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece



Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More

Subscribe

Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.

Donate

With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.