Blok, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich

Blok, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich əlyĭksän´dər əlyĭksän´drəvĭch blôk [key], 1880–1921, Russian poet, considered the greatest of the Russian symbolists. As the leading disciple of Vladimir Soloviev, he voiced both mysticism and idealistic passion in an early cycle of love poems, Verses about the Lady Beautiful (1904). In 1905 he lost his ethereal vision and turned to themes of despair, degradation, and the attraction of evil. The Unknown Woman (1906) is his best-known poem of this period. Later he found hope in the idealization of Russia, welcoming the Revolution of 1917 in his epic poem The Twelve (1918, tr. 1920). This work celebrates the passion, violence, and exhilaration of the revolution, with which Blok later became disenchanted. The Scythians (1920) is directed against the Western forces fighting the Bolsheviks.

See his selected poems, ed. by A. Pyman (1972); his account of his journey to Italy, ed. by L. E. Vogel (1973); studies by F. D. Reeve (1962) and R. Kemball (1965).

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