2020 №17

Author: Boris M. Gorelik
УДК / UDK: 821.161.1.0
About the author:

: Boris M. Gorelik, PhD in History, Senior Researcher, Institute for African Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, Spiridonovka 30/1, 123001 Moscow, Russia.


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In the past ten years, biographers of Valery Bryusov pointed out that it was necessary to continue research into the life of M.V. Wulffahrt, to whom Bryusov dedicated the fourteenth sonnet of his Fatal Set. Her image permeated Bryusov’s love poems in 1914–1915, the period when he was particularly close with her. The history of their relationship was thoroughly researched by analysing their correspondence preserved in the Russian State Library. However, until now, scholars were unable to extend her biography past the end of her love affair with Bryusov. The task has been accomplished by using sources from other archives in Russia and South Africa, which are being introduced into scholarly discourse for the first time, as well as genealogical databases and interviews with Wulffahrt’s family members. It has been established that Wulffahrt immigrated to South Africa in the 1920s but did not give up the hope of returning to her native country and meeting Bryusov’s widow. The article explains the reason for the ‘anxious obsessiveness’ of Wulffahrt’s attitude towards Bryusov, which has been repeatedly noted by scholars, and sets the emotional background of the relationship between the poet and his last muse. The most important events in Wulffahrt’s life are identified and described, and several aspects of her relationship with Bryusov as well as her presence in his work that were mentioned in the literature on this subject are clarified.

Keywords: Bryusov; Wulffahrt; Russian symbolism; crown of sonnets; The Fatal Set; Silver Age.
For citation:

Gorelik, B.M. “Valery Bryusov’s ʽUnnamed’ Muse. A South African Epilogue.” Literaturnyi fakt, no. 3 (17), 2020, pp. 281–291. (In Russ.)


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