A Fallen Idol Is Still a God: Lermontov and the Quandaries by Elizabeth Allen

By Elizabeth Allen

A Fallen Idol continues to be a God elucidates the old strong point and value of the seminal nineteenth-century Russian poet, playwright, and novelist Mikhail Iurevich Lermontov (1814-1841). It does so through demonstrating that Lermontov’s works illustrate the of dwelling in an epoch of transition. Lermontov’s specific epoch was once that of post-Romanticism, a time whilst the twilight of Romanticism used to be dimming however the sunrise of Realism had but to seem. via shut and comparative readings, the publication explores the singular metaphysical, mental, moral, and aesthetic ambiguities and ambivalences that mark Lermontov’s works, and tellingly replicate the transition out of Romanticism and the character of post-Romanticism. total, the publication unearths that, even though restrained to his transitional epoch, Lermontov didn't succumb to it; as a substitute, he probed its personality and evoked its historic import. And the e-book concludes that Lermontov’s works have resonance for our transitional period within the early twenty-first century besides.

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Hobsbawm remarks, “nobody seriously doubts the existence of Romanticism or our capacity to recognize it” (305). But it is not too much to say that what has made Romanticism so elusive is precisely this: among its dominant characteristics was none other than its embrace of variousness and contradiction in the quest to transcend ordinary life and conventional limitations imposed on human nature, mind and spirit, intellect and imagination. “Whatever its content,” Hobsbawm sums up Romanticism, “it is quite evident what it was against: the middle” (306).

A Whole without dependence or defect Made for itself; and happy in itself, Perfect Contentment, Unity entire. ], ll. 23 Nature—particularly in its most awesome or sublime forms, to which Tieck’s Christian and so many other Romanticists were drawn—provided a model of organic integrity and facilitated individual transcendence and integration into the universe. But the all-encompassing Romantic self, with its moral complexities, completed by love and enlarged by nature, could not depend on reason, natural science, or even on love to satisfy its hunger for transcendence, wholeness, and integrity.

It differs from both traditional irony and Romantic irony (as defined above), by questioning the validity of views in polar opposition to one another, rather than by accepting one, or both. Post-Romantic irony, John Fetzer suggests, reflects “a kind of existential despair, an ontological frustration due to a seemingly ‘no-win, no-way-out’ situation” in which individuals “find themselves adrift in a rudderless ship . . floundering in an endless expanse of impossibilities” (22). While evoking the directionless quality of post-Romantic irony, Fetzer goes too far in attributing to it a kind of modernist or postmodernist nihilism.

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