From the Forgotten Russian Avant-Garde: An Unknown Acrostic by I.A.Aksenov Dedicated to K.A.Bol’shakov. (On IWL RAS Archival Materials)

Studia Litterarum. 2016;1(1-2):385-395 DOI 10.22455/2500-4247-2016-1-1-2-385-395


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Studia Litterarum

ISSN: 2500-4247 (Print); 2541-8564 (Online)

Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Society/Institution: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences

LCC Subject Category: Language and Literature: Literature (General)

Country of publisher: Russian Federation

Language of fulltext: French, English, Russian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Alessandro Farsetti (Department of Linguistics and Comparative Cultural Studies, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

This is the first publication of a hitherto unknown acrostic by an avant-garde poet, I. A. Aksenov. The poem was found in the archive of the Russian Union of Soviet Writers (VSSP) in the Manuscript Section of the Institute of World Literature (IWL). This poem dated 1918 is a complex example of Russian avant-garde poetry demonstrating subtle mechanisms of meaning-making. The essay places the poem within the context of Aksenov’s work and relates it to his biography (cf. his friendship with a poet, K.A. Bol’shakov, to whom the poem was dedicated and the participation of both in S.G.Kara-Murza’s literary circle “Tuesdays”). It outlines the basic structure of the acrostic, reveals its main linguistic devices and intertextual connections. The analysis shows that the acrostic was thematically connected with two poems Aksenov and Bol’shakov wrote later the same day at Kara-Murza’s house. All the three texts capture the incubus of the Civil war (more precisely, the so called «Red terror» in the Fall of 1918) but also express hope for the return of the normal life, relying on friendship of like-minded people. In addition to this, the essay reveals possible interrelation between poetic techniques of Bol’shakov and Aksenov; this will enable us to better understand the specificity of these two understudied representatives of Russian avant-garde.