Andrei Bely

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Andrei Bely, 1912
Leon Bakst : Andrei Bely, portrait

Andrei Bely ( Russian Андре́й Бе́лый , scientific transliteration Andrej Belyj ; actually Бори́с Никола́евич Буга́ев / Boris Nikolajewitsch Bugajew ; * 14 October July / 26 October  1880 greg. In Moscow ; † 8 January 1934 ) was a Russian poet in Moscow ; †  January 8, 1934 and theorists of symbolism . Vladimir Nabokov considered his novel Petersburg to be one of the greatest novels of the 20th century.


From 1899 to 1903, the son of the eminent mathematician and temporary Moscow university dean Nikolai Vasilyevich Bugayev studied at the natural science department of the physical-mathematical faculty of Moscow University. After graduation he took up studies at the historical-philological faculty, which he dropped out after a year to devote himself entirely to literature.

The worldview of the young Bely was influenced by Wladimir Solowjow , Arthur Schopenhauer , Buddhism and Friedrich Nietzsche, among others . From 1903 until his death in 1921, Bely was friends with the poet Alexander Blok . From 1904 Bely worked on the theoretical justification of symbolism. In the same year the volume of poems Gold in Azure was published . During this time he dealt with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant . He came into closer contact with Margarita Kirillowna Morosowa , whom he greatly admired and who in November 1905 founded the Moscow Philosophical-Religious Society Vladimir Solovyov together with Sergei Nikolayevich Bulgakow , Prince Evgeni Trubezkoi , Nikolai Alexandrowitsch Berdyayev , Pavel Alexandrovich Florensky and others .

In 1909 he married the graphic artist Assja Turgenieff , a great niece of the poet Ivan Turgenew , whom he had met in Paris. From 1912 to 1916 Bely dealt intensively with the anthroposophy of Rudolf Steiner , whose personal pupil he became. From 1914 he worked with his wife on building the first Goetheanum in Dornach , Switzerland. In 1916 he returned to Russia because of a draft , Assja stayed in Switzerland. After a discussion in Berlin in 1921, the couple separated.

In 1921 Bely emigrated to Berlin and frequented Passauer Strasse , at that time one of the centers of exiled Russian culture in Berlin. During this time he turned away from Steiner at times and criticized the “amalgamation of false esotericism and club dairy” in the Anthroposophical Society .

His later second wife, Klawdija Nikolajewna Wassiljewa , also a supporter of anthroposophy, persuaded him to return to Moscow in 1923, where he lived until his death in January 1934.

Literature Prize

A literature prize named after him has been awarded in Russia since 1978.

Works (in German translation)

  • Übers. L. Wiebeck: The silver dove . Novel. 1912
  • Translator N. Strasser: Petersburg . Novel. 1919
  • Übers. H. Bidder: On the watershed . The coming day, Stuttgart 1923
  • In the sign of the dawn . Translated from the Russian by Swetlana Geier . Zbinden, Basel 1974 ISBN 3-85989-350-5
  • Transforming life. Memories of Rudolf Steiner . Translated from the Russian by Swetlana Geier. Zbinden, Basel 1975; 3rd A. 1990, ISBN 3-85989-418-8
  • Translated by Siegrun Bielfeldt: "I, a symbolist". An autobiography . Insel, Frankfurt am Main 1987
  • In the realm of shadows. Berlin 1921–1923 . Insel, Frankfurt 1987
  • Secret records. Memories of life around Rudolf Steiner (1911–1915) . Verlag am Goetheanum, Dornach 1992; exp. Edition 2002 ISBN 3-7235-1161-9
  • Übers. Gabriele Leupold: Kotik Letajew . Novel. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1993
  • Symbolism as an understanding of the world in: Fritz Mierau , Sieglinde Mierau (eds.): “… No different than about the soul of the other” - the correspondence. Andrej Bely and Pawel Florensky . Tertium, Ostfildern 1994, pp. 85-109
  • Übers. Thomas Menzel: The second symphony, the dramatic. The Argonauts . Tertium, Ostfildern 1995
  • Glossolalia. Poem about the sound. Trilingual: German, English, Russian. Pforte, Dornach 2003, ISBN 3-85636-148-0



  • Evelies Schmidt: Egypt and Egyptian mythology. Pictures of the transition in Andrej Belyj's work . Slavic contributions, 195.Sagner, Munich 1986.
  • Taja Gut (Ed.): Andrej Belyj - Symbolism and Anthroposophy. One way . Rudolf Steiner Verlag, Dornach 1997 ISBN 3-7274-5324-9 .
  • Andrea Zink: Andrej Belyj's reception of the philosophy of Kant, Nietzsche and the Neo-Kantians . Slavic contributions, 368. Sagner, Munich 1998 ISBN 3-87690-714-4 .
  • Marina Tsvetaeva : Encounters with Maximilian Woloschin , Andrej Belyj and Rudolf Steiner , ed. Taja Gut. Pforte, Dornach 2000 ISBN 3-85636-135-9 .
  • Monika Mayr: Andrej Belyj: Kotik Letaev , in: Ut pictura descriptio? Poetics and practice of artistic description with Flaubert , Proust , Belyi, Simon . Gunter Narr, Tübingen 2001 ISBN 3-8233-5863-4 pp. 293-401.
  • Thomas Urban : Philosophy and Foxtrot: Andrej Bely , in: ders., Russian writers in Berlin in the twenties , Nicolai, Berlin 2003 ISBN 3-89479-097-0 pp. 78–99.
  • Björn Seidel-Dreffke: The Russian literature at the end of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century and the theosophy of EP Blavatskajas. Exemplary studies (A. Belyj, Maksimilian Aleksandrovich Vološin, Vera Ivanovna Kryžanovskaja, Wladimir Sergejewitsch Solowjow ) . Haag and Herchen, Frankfurt 2004 ISBN 3-89846-308-7 .
  • Lorenz Jäger : A paper, a little father and a little boy , article on the 100th anniversary of the first volume of the novel "Petersburg". FAZ , April 21, 2012, Z1
  • Vera Lourié : Letters to you. Memories of Russian Berlin. Edited by Doris Liebermann , Frankfurt 2014.
  • Thomas R. Beyer: Andrej Belyjs Russia in Berlin, in Karl Schlögel Ed .: Russian emigration in Germany 1918 to 1941. Life in the European civil war. Oldenbourg Akademie, Munich 1995 ISBN 3050028017 pp. 311–322.

Web links

Commons : Andrei Bely  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Adrian Wanner: Miniature Worlds - Russian prose poems from Turgenev to Charms; Chapter: Short biographies and notes (bilingual anthology) . Pano Verlag, Zurich 2004, ISBN 3-907576-73-X , p. 210 f .
  2. Andrej Belyj: Secret records: memories of life in Rudolf Steiner's circle (1911-1915) . Geering , Dornach 2002, ISBN 3-7235-1161-9 .
  3. Fred Oberhauser, Nicole Henneberg: Literary Guide Berlin. 1998 ISBN 3-458-33877-2 p. 414 f.
  4. von Leupold as part of the "Junge weltlesebühne", Berlin, for readings from 11/12. Class content offered in schools as well as in libraries , 2019
  5. ↑ Dates of life: 1877–1932.