ńollected works of Daniel and Alla Andreevs in
The Rose of the World's casket
|Book 9. To metahistory of the Petersburg empire.|
We won't find the more substantial answer in the 18th century, than Lomonosov's formula announcing that "the Russian land will give rise to own Platos and having fast reason Newtons". That is the Russian people won't be poorer than others, nominating to a proscenium the individuals endowed with brilliance. And only.
All this explains the difference of concept of art genius from concept of heraldship. We see
thus the gifted artists who weren't applying for ingenious perfection of their creations, but announcing
by them about such heights and depths of otherworldly spheres to which even many geniuses were not
in forces to reach up. On the other hand, many artists who are firmly convinced in their genius, are only
carriers of talent. One imperceptible, but incontestable sign gives them away: they feel the creative
process not as manifestation of any superpersonal principal, but their, only their own prerogative,
even their merit, just as the athlete feels force of the muscles belonging only to him and executing only
his dictates. Such applicants for genius happen to be boastful and inclined to glorification themself.
At the beginning of the XX century, for example, it was continually possible to meet in the Russian poetry
grandiloquent declarations of own genius.
I am the refinement of sluggish Russian speech,|
Next to me other poets are primeval... –
It is typical, that foreigners of any nationality <…> catch emotional sounding and recognize the presence of world scales not at Pushkin, but at Lermontov.
<… > it seems to me, Dostoevsky a little bit exaggerated in his well-known speech at the opening of the monument to Pushkin in Moscow the international party of Pushkin creativity
Since his earliest years there were persistent feeling his own selectness, some exclusive debt prevailing over his destiny and his soul; the phenomenally early development
of his storming, scorching hot imagination and his powerful, cold mind; the over-nationality of his psychic structure with the primordially Russian spontaneity of feelings; penetrating through human soul severe and sharp-sighted look; the deep religiousness of his nature, switching even doubt from the plan of philosophical statements in the plan of theomachistic revolt,– a heritage of ancient embodiments of this monad in titan humanity; the highest degree of artistic giftedness with the severe strictness to himself, forcing him to select for publication only the masterpieces from masterpieces... All this, being combined in Lermontov, strengthens our confidence that a thunder-storm near Pyatigorsk, muffled Martynov's shot, stormed in this hour not only in Enrof. It was that the mission of the one who had to create over time something surpassing by its sizes and value the conjectures of our mind,– something really titanic,– broke not completed, overtaken by the general Enemy.
I still know in our culture three great contemplators of “both chasms”, a chasm of the world above and a chasm of demonic layers: John the Terrible, Lermontov and Dostoevsky. The fourth should be called Alexander Blok, if not smaller, compared with these three, scale of his personality.
Metahistorical contemplation and reflection about polarity of Lermontov's soul can help at least not slightly to open a veil over secret of the mission which hasn't been made by him but to guess its direction.
Such contemplation will lead to the following conclusion: two opposite tendencies differ without special effort in Lermontov's personality and creativity. The first: the theomachistic line, being designated already in his children's verses and seeming to superficial observers a modification of fashionable byronism. If byronism is opposition of the free, proud personality to human society fettered by chains of conventions and mediocrity, byronism, of course, is also available here. But it is a surface; deep, subsoil layers of these manifestations in careers of both poets are very various. Byron's revolt is, first of all, revolt against society. Characters of Lucifer, Cain, Manfred are only literary receptions, art masks. The carrier of ingenious poetic bestowal, Byron as a human being possessed modest scale; he had no embodiment in titan humanity in the past. The dream of a crown of Greece would seem pity and small children's game to the true titan, and demonic poses in which Byron liked to become, would raise at him only a smile if he didn't see in them the valid suggestions of demonic forces. And such suggestions were, and were very persistent moreover. Burning aspiration to glory and to power, a constant masquerade of life, the meanness of Italian adventures – all this indicates by no means not the titanic nature
of this person, but only his vulnerability from a demonic involtation. And as the general giftedness of his nature was huge, and the background on which he acted – the society of that time,– was absolutely dim, this masquerade could mislead not only countess Guicholi, but also the real titan what was Goethe,– Byron was amystical. His creativity was, in effect, no other than English option of that cultural phenomenon which on the continent was issued in ideological revolution of Encyclopaedists: revolutions of skeptical consciousness against as Spengler would tell, "great forms of an antiquity". At Lermontov – his revolt against society is not primary, but to derivatives: this revolt isn't so consecutive, persistent and deep at all as at Byron, it doesn't take away the poet neither in voluntary exile, nor to the centers of liberation movements. But the lermontovsky Demon – not literary reception, not means to shock the aristocracy or the bourgeoisie, and attempt artly to express certain the deepest, from time immemorial the borne experience of soul gained by it in preexistence from meetings with so terrible and powerful hierarchy that a trace of these meetings appeared from layers of deep memory of the poet on a consciousness surface all his life. Contrary to Byron, Lermontov – the mystic in essence.
Lermontov is a mystic in essence. <…> his internal organs – spiritual sight, hearing and deep memory, and also the gift to contemplate space panoramas and the gift to comprehend human souls – are slightly opened since his birth, and the second reality, a reality, not a fantasy, filters through them into the sphere of his consciousness. <…> he was a person living by all the completeness of life and a huge mind – one of the greatest in our 19th-century country. The God-fighter tendency was shown at him therefore not only in the layer of mystical experience,
and deep memory, but also in the layer especially intellectual, and in the layer of daily effective manifestations, in his life. In this way it is necessary to understand many facts of his external biography: his binges and being a bretteur, his youthful debauchery – not Pushkin's cheerful, but gloomy and heavy, his behavior with those women before whom he represented either Pechorin, or almost Demon, and even, maybe, his military boldness. (To twenty five years Lermontov's all these throwings came to an end, lost for him any interest and became outdated while Byron continued to be a plaything of various forces until the end of his thirty-five-year life.) In the intellectual plan this rebellious tendency took a form of cold and bitter scepticism, a type of mournful, cankerously pessimistic reflections of the reader of human souls. This tendency affected such in “A hero of our time”, in “Sashka”, in “A fairy tale for children”, etc.
But alongside with this tendency, since the first years to the last, the second stream – light, heart-felt, warm belief – runs down in the depth of his verses, murmuring and rising sometimes up to unique marvellous soundings. It was necessary to lose any ability to understanding of spiritual reality insofar as it happened to the Russian criticism of the last century not to comprehend written in black and white, shouting directly in ears certificates on this reality in Lermontov's verses. It is necessary to be petrified with thought not to guess, that the Angel bearing his soul on the earth and singing that song which then “tedious songs of the earth couldn't replace for it”, is not literary reception as Byron had it, but a fact. It would be desirable to know: in what other poetic image it would be necessary to wait from the genius and the herald certificates about daemon, long ago accompanying him, if not in the such? It is necessary to be absolutely deprived of religious hearing not to feel all authenticity and depth of his experiences which have generated the lyrical acathistus “I, God's Mother, nowadays with a prayer...”, not to catch the musical and poetic fact that the stanzas of Lermontov, most perfect in their unprecedented poetic musicality, speak about the second reality which is appearing through the visible by everybody: “The branch of Palestine”, “Mermaid”, amazing stanzas about the East in “Dispute”, “When a yellowing grainfield is choppy...”, “On the air ocean...”, “In high noon's heat in a Dagestan valley...”, “Three palm trees”, nature pictures in “Mtsyri”, in “Demon” and many other things.
Obviously, Lermontov's unrealized mission laid in the direction of the greater, maximum polarization of these two tendencies, over their mortal struggle, over the victory of the establishing element, and over the achievement of the highest wisdom and enlightenment of his creative spirit. But the matter is that Lermontov was not “an artistic genius in general” and not only a herald,– he was a Russian artistic genius and a Russian herald, and as those
he could not be satisfied with the formula “words of a poet are his affairs”. All Michail Yuryevich's life was, as a matter of fact, painful searches to what to apply the tearing him force. The university, of course, proved to be cramped. Bohemian life of professional writers of that time was hopelessly petty. The most loyal imagination can't, I think, to imagine Lermontov become isolated in the family circle, in personal wellbeing. The military epopee of the Caucasus was just on the point of alluring him by its romantic aspect, enriched with the mass of impressions, but it admits of no doubt after “Valerik”, that military activity was realized by him as something, in a root alien to what he had to make in his life. But what else? What vital feat the person of such scope, such circle of ideas could find for himself if his life lasted for forty or fifty years? To imagine Lermontov who has adjoined the revolutionary movement of the 60th and 70th years is as impossible as to fancy Tolstoy, participating in his advanced years in a terrorist organization, or Dostoevsky entered Social Democratic Party. – Poetic solitude in Tarkhany? But whether his reckenhaft forces demanded this? – Monastery, Skete? – Really: the burden of retreat would be achievable by this spiritual athlete, his force could find for itself a point of application on this way. But the Orthodox monasticism is incompatible with art creativity of that type, those forms which it got in our late times, and Lermontov, apparently, wouldn't renounce never from this creativity. Possibly this titan would never resolve the problem set to him – to merge artistic creativity with spiritual making and with the feat of life, to turn from a herald to a prophet. But another matter seems more probable personally to me: if Pyatigorsk catastrophe didn't fling out, the Russian society would afterward appear the viewer of such life journey – unthinkable for us and inimitable for anybody – which would lead aged Lermontov to tops where ethics, religion and art merge in one, where all wanderings and falling of the past are overcome, comprehended and served to enrichment of spirit, and where wisdom, far-sightedness and enlightened greatness are such that all humanity cast eyes upon these lords of mountain tops of culture with awe, love and excitement of joy.
This life and spiritual experience would find the expression in what creations of the art word? Lermontov, as we know, contemplated the trilogy novel the first part of which had to elapse in the years of Pugachev's revolt, the second – during an era of Decembrists, and the third – in the forties. But he would finish this trilogy probably to forty-year age. And further?.. Perhaps, a cycle of “novels of ideas” would spring up? Or the epic mystery like “Faust”? Or a new, unprecedented
genre would spring up?
now he is one of the most brilliant stars in the Synklite of Russia, <…> he invisible passes between us and through us, creates above us and in us, and both the volume and the greatness of this creativity are unfancied in any our forestalling.
Urparp made also much. The expansion of abyss between science and ethics was inspired, certainly, by him to lead science to full isolation from moral, religion and spirituality at all. The special beings playing the role like dark daemons tried over it. They interfered and directed activity even of people having absolutely light will; even Copernicus, Galilei and Descartes weren't free from their influence. Such one stood behind the back
of Leonardo during all his life.
“A human burned down here”MB –
once he took this line of Fet as the epigraph to his verse:
In order that they learned the disastrous fire of life|
by pale glows of art!G81
To p. 430. The inexact quote from A.A. Fet's verse “When you were reading those tormented lines...”.