The Russian Prospero: The Creative Universe of Viacheslav Ivanov by Robert BirdThe Russian Prospero: The Creative Universe of Viacheslav Ivanov by Robert Bird

The Russian Prospero: The Creative Universe of Viacheslav Ivanov

byRobert Bird

Hardcover | November 29, 2006

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Viacheslav Ivanov (1866–1949), the central intellectual force in Russian modernism, achieved through his work an original synthesis of Christianity, Platonism, and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. His powerful intellect exerted an immeasurable influence in modernist Russia and the early Soviet Union, and after emigrating to Italy in 1924 he played an important role in intellectual debates in Western Europe between the wars. In recent years, Ivanov's manifold contributions have been recognized in all major aspects of Russian culture, including poetry, literary theory, philosophy, and theology.

In The Russian Prospero, Robert Bird uncovers the foundations of Ivanov's poetic and theoretical universe, traces its evolution, and explores its connections to cultural and intellectual currents in international modernism. Blending a close reading of Ivanov's work with a thoughtful analysis of his place within twentieth-century thought, Bird finds that Ivanov's ecstatic creative psychology leads directly to a consideration of history as a continuum of human interpretive activity, and to a conception of art as a historical force. He emphasizes and dramatizes Ivanov's quest to harness the power of art and apply it to concrete life-situations. It is the dilemma of Prospero, who must liberate his attendant spirit Ariel in order to restore full sovereignty over his own creative self and to regain ethical agency. The productive tension that resulted from Ivanov's struggle was a remarkable force in Russian modernism and remains a powerful spur for our own reflections on modernity.  
Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

“[Bird’s] clear explanations of Ivanov’s ideas and his informed, insightful, astute readings of the poetic works make this book required reading for anyone interested in modern poetry, intellectual history, cultural studies, and philosophy of early 20th century Russian and European thought. . . . Essential.”—Choice

“[Bird] makes a welcome contribution to our understanding of Russian modernism in its broader European context . . . . In this undertaking he has not only succeeded admirably, but will undoubtedly inspire others to follow him.”—Pamela Davidson, The Russian Review

“The most comprehensive overall treatment of Ivanov’s work to date.”—David N. Wells, The Slavic and East European Journal
Robert Bird is assistant professor of Russian literature at the University of Chicago.  He is the author of Andrei Rublev and the translator of Viacheslav Ivanov's Selected Essays, which won the AATSEEL Translation Prize in 2002. 
Title:The Russian Prospero: The Creative Universe of Viacheslav IvanovFormat:HardcoverDimensions:324 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:November 29, 2006Publisher:University Of Wisconsin PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0299218309

ISBN - 13:9780299218300


Editorial Reviews

"Robert Bird's The Russian Prospero will be read and reread by anyone interested in the Russian ‘Silver Age’ and its legacy. This study of Viacheslav Ivanov and his world is the most ambitious and accomplished to appear in any language. Combining lucid explanatory commentary with ingenious interpretation, Bird expertly guides the reader through all genres of Ivanov's multifaceted writings. Breadth of context and depth of research make the book accessible to the general reader and essential for the specialist."—Michael Wachtel, Princeton University