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Entries / Salons, Circles and Literary Gatherings (Entry)

Salons, Circles and Literary Gatherings (Entry)

Categories / Literature. Book Publishing/Salons, Circles, Creative Associations and Unions

SALONS, CIRCLES AND LITERARY GATHERINGS. During the 18th century regular gatherings of writers were uncommon, but those that there were portrayed different stylistic and philosophic positions. The literary circle of Feofan (Prokopovich) towards the end of the 1720s supported the political direction and concept of the state which Peter the Great had conceived. This circle included such people as A. D. Kantemir and V. N. Tatishchev. In the middle of the 18th century literary salons began to appear, these were organised and led by the host, who in the 18th century, as a rule, was a grandee-patron of the arts (the salon of I. I. Shuvalov from the 1740s; the salon of I. L. Golenishchev-Kutuzov from the 1760s etc.). In this time too a tendency was also developing for gatherings to develop around particular periodicals: the journal Prazdnoe Vremya, v Polzu Upotreblennoe appeared among students of the Gentry Cadet Infantry Corps - one of the centres of literary life of St. Petersburg of the middle of the 18th century; the literary circle of M. M. Kheraskov (D. I. Fonvizin, I. F. Bogdanovich, A. A. Rzhevsky et al. were its members) published the journal Vechera (1772-73); the spiritual-moral journal Talking Citizen (1789) became the organ of the Society of Friends of Philological Sciences founded in 1784 by M. I. Antonovsky in the structure of the Main People's School. The most significant role in the history of the Russian literature of the 18th century was played by two St. Petersburg literary unions - the Circle of Lvov and Derzhavin and Elagin's Circle (in the middle of the 1760s, developing close ties between I. P. Elagin - Fonvizin, V. I. Lukin, B. E. Elchaninov and others) stressing the necessity for developing a more national theatrical repertoire. The Russian Academy became the biggest institution, incorporating the best writers of the 18th century with the purpose of solving literary and linguistic problems, it was preceded by the Russian Gathering of the St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences in 1735 - beginning of the 1740s; V. K. Trediakovsky, V. E. Adodurov, M. V. Lomonosov were among its members. From the beginning of the 19th century, literary gatherings fulfilled the functions which were later passed on to the periodical press and critique literature became the most important factor of the literary process; belonging to a definite literary circle was treated as an attribute of participation in the literary life. St. Petersburg was the centre of literary forces of national-conservative ("archaic") orientation in the bitter literary struggle at the beginning of the 19th century: weekly literary soirees hosted by G. R. Derzhavin, A. S. Shishkov, A. S. Khvostov, I. S. Zakharov et al. developed into the establishment of the Discussions for Lovers of the Russian Word. The cultural significance of Arzamas was important in that it stood against the conservative trends of the Lovers of the Russian Word and developed the genres of parody and mockery as one of the forms of literary opposition. The literary legacy represented by Arzamas was later felt in the Salon of Ponomareva and in the Salon of A. O. Smirnova-Rosset (see Wednesdays of Smirnova-Rosset). The position represented by the Free Society of Lovers of Philology, Sciences and Arts in literary polemics was on the whole neutral; the literary and theatrical circles of A. A. Shakhovskoy and P. A. Katenin (1810s) sympathized with the archaic literary trend. The Free Society of Lovers of Russian Philology and the Green Lamp clearly had political shade in view of the developing Decembrists' movement. The 1810-30s was a time of flourishing of St. Petersburg salons visited by many outstanding writers of the epoch. Salons differed in the number of visitors, the nature of its management (with democratic and autocratic trends as well as politics present), in emotional and psychological atmosphere; as a rule, they did not have a special literary programme, but literature was invariably included in the circle of themes of splendid communication; in one place the best writing would be read, at the poetry salon one could find the most cultured company etc.; an aristocratic lady was often the central figure of a salon of this period. The most important salons were: the salon of A. N. Olenin (from the middle of the 1800s), the salon of Odoevsky, the salon of Karamzina, the salon of E. M. Khitrovo and the salon of the daughter of E. M. Khitrovo D. F. Ficquelmont (from the end of the 1820s), the salon of M. Y. Vielgorsky (see the Vielgorsky Family) and the salon of his son-in-law V. A. Sollogub (from the middle of the 1830s), the salon of E. P. Rostopchina (1836-45) etc. Weekly literary soirees hosted by writers stood close to the salons (meetings hosted by V. A. Zhukovsky, A. A. Delwig, P. A. Pletnev et al.), but they had a more closed and specifically literary character; literary readings hosted by N. V. Kukolnik became literary and musical meetings-junkets by the end of the 1830s having brought the theme of Gipsy revelry and freedom to literary and musical meetings. The book shops of V. A. Plavilshchikov, I. T. Lisenkov, I. V. Slenin, Glazunov, A. F. Smirdin et al. played the role of a type of literary clubs in the first half of the 19th century. Meetings hosted by N. I. Grech (from the middle of the 1820s), A. F. Voeykov (1830s), A. A. Kraevsky (1840s) were involved in editorial and publishing activity which were appropriate to the interests of the appropriate publication and were distinquished by their mixed character and non-aristocraticism of the staff, they mostly solved business tasks preparing the approaching changes of principles of literary unions. The social function of literature was a subject for discussion in the Circle of V. G. Belinsky whose ideas considerably influenced many outstanding Russian writers. By the second half of the 19th century, professionalism and commercialization of the work of writers, growing importance of literary journals, a significant progress in the sphere of publishing business appreciably transformed the image of literary life. Editorial boards of the journals Sovremennik, Otechestvennye Zapiski, later of Vestnik Evropy, Russkoe Bogatstvo etc. and the publishing houses (of A. S. Suvorin, A. F. Marx, M. O. Wolf, M. M. Stasyulevich et al.) gradually became real literary centres. Public literary readings, often for the sake of charity, became popular (especially in the 1860s) after the organization of the first professional union of Russian writers in 1859 - the Literary Fund. Literary soirees lost their earlier significance though they were still widespread; at various times they were hosted by V. M. Garshin, P. P. Gnedich, V. I. Dal, A. V. Druzhinin, N. S. Leskov, N. A. Nekrasov, I. I. Panaev et al. The most famous salons of the middle of the century were the salons of the Maykovs and A. I. Stakenschneider (from the 1850s). Meetings and societies connected with the names of Y. P. Polonsky and K. K. Sluchevsky (see Fridays) became a link connecting the different literary epochs at the end of the 19th - beginning of the 20th centuries. The extraordinary multifaceted literary life of St. Petersburg in the Silver Age was marked by features of overall thoroughness and striking symmetry. Renewal of aestheticism and the development of modernism gave back the previous meaning to literary unions of various types. The union World of Art, meetings on the Tower of V. I. Ivanov (Ivanov's Wednesdays) occupied an important place in the Russian intellectual and artistic space of the epoch. The salon of the Merezhkovskys, the salon of Sologub, Sundays of V. V. Rozanov (1900s), the Religious-Philosophical Meetings (1901-03; they were resumed in 1907 as the Religious-Philosophical Society) etc. were connected with the literary circle of symbolists. Acmeism was the result of St. Petersburg culture and reflected in the activity of Poets Guild. Numerous public readings and debates, in particular futuristic ones, were held in various artistic, educational and other institutions of St. Petersburg (the cabaret Wandering Dog, Rest of Comedians, Tenishevsky College etc.). S. A. Esenin and N. A. Klyuev were in the centre of the group of new peasants (the literary unions Beauty, then Strada (Drudgery), the middle of the 1910s). Literary and sometimes public and political centres were flats and dachas of many writers (of K. I. Chukovsky in Kuokkale, of M. Gorky on Kronverksky Avenue etc.), editorial offices of many journals of various trends Mir Bozhy, later Sovremenny Mir, Zhizn, Mir Iskusstva, Apollon with which the activity of the Society of Zealots of the Artistic Word was connected from the end of the 1900s, Satirikon, Zavety, Letopis, Starye Gody, Russky Bibliofil, 1911-16, Stolitsa i Usadba etc., publishing houses (Knowledge, Sail, 1915-18 etc.). The traditions of Arzamas were originally developed in the facetious secret literary society of A. M. Remizov Obezvelvolpal (1900-1910s). The activity of new creative unions had features of a commune for writers - the House of Writers and especially of the House of Arts; brought together the best artistic powers of the city became a bright page in the cultural history of Petrograd in the hardship and social chaos of the post-revolutionary years. Various literary circles in the beginning of the 1920s are connected with the work of these organisations: Serapion's Brothers, the Sounding Shell (headed by N. S. Gumilev, later by K. I. Chukovsky; K. K. Vaginov, N. N. Berberova, N. K. Chukovsky et al. were among its members), the third Poets' Guild (G. V. Adamovich, G. V. Ivanov, I. V. Odoevtseva et al.), Inhabitants of the Island (Vaginov, S. A. Kolbasyev, V. A. Rozhdestvensky et al.) etc. Sittings of OPOYZ and of the Free Philosophical Association (1919-24), which many writers joined, were also held in the House of Arts. The publishing house World Literature in many respects succeeded by Academia became one of the largest cultural centres of Petrograd. The public and political situation of the 1920s - beginning of the 1930s did not prohibit the existence of a diverse range of literary groups. The Petrograd-Leningrad departments of the All-Russian Union of Poets (headed in 1920-21 by A. A. Blok, Gumilev, in 1924-29 by I. I. Sadofyev, N. S. Tikhonov) and of the All-Russian Union of Writers comprised of so called writers-fellow travellers A. N. Tolstoy, V. Y. Shishkov, O. D. Forsh, M. L. Slonimsky, Rozhdestvensky et al. which cultivated the avant-garde poetics of absurdity at the Society for Realistic Art (OBERIU); the Society of Peasant Writers (A. P. Chapygin, Klyuev, among members) with their own printing organ - the journal Perelom (1930-32) etc. existed along with numerous unions of proletarian writers (Petrograd-Leningrad departments for Proletarian Culture), the All-Russian Association of Proletarian Writers, Russian Association of Proletarian Writers, Literary Union of the Red Army and Fleet; the literary groups Friendship, New Generation etc.). The literary-artistic circle of S. Y. Marshak from the middle of the 1920s (E. L. Schwarz, B. S. Zhitkov, L. Panteleev, V. V. Lebedev, E. I. Charushin, V. M. Konashevich) which served as an excellent basis for childrens' literature. A kind of a colony of writers united by regular meetings hosted by Tolstoy and Shishkov, was formed in the 1930s in Detskoe Selo (Pushkin). The different forms of literary life in Leningrad gradually gave way to the monopoly of the Leningrad Writers Organisation for the regulation of the literarature after the establishment of the Union of Writers in 1932-34; the V. V. Mayakovsky Memorial House for Writers became the main literary centre of the city for many years. Pallid from repression, war, the political campaign of 1946 which kept only one literary journal in the city, Leningrad literature continued to live in the conditions of severe party control. From the 1950s, new literary unions (including literary societies) started, they appeared in the structures of publishing houses, editorial boards of journals and newspapers, Houses of Culture, various educational institutions (the Literary Society in the structure of the publishing house Soviet Writer, societies at the journals Zvezda) and Neva, at the Mining Institute, the literary club Daring at the Palace of Pioneers, the literary and translator's studio of Е. G. Etkind at the House of a Writer etc.). Many future outstanding Leningrad writers A. G. Bitov, V. V. Golyavkin, G. Y. Gorbovsky, G. A. Goryshin, V. V. Konetsky, V. B. Krivulin, V. G. Popov et al. were trained in these institutes under the supervision of experienced authors. Numerous unions represented Leningrad literature free from censor of the 1950-80s: so called Akhmatova's orphans (the literary circle of the end of the 1950s - beginning of the 1960s, included poets of a kindred spirit to A. A. Akhmatova - I. A. Brodsky, E. B. Rein et al.), the literary circle Small Sadovaya (1960s, L. L. Aronson was among its members; later many participants became visitors of the cafe Saigon), the group VERPA, from the middle of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1970s, A. L. Khvostenko was among its members, Citizens etc. Club-81 officially registered at the end of the Brezhnev's Stagnation and was closely connected to the literary underground. The beginning of the 1990s was marked by politically determined break-up of the Leningrad branch of the Union of Writers into two independent organizations, and then, by what was seen as symbolic, a fire in the House of Writers in 1993. Only by the end of the 1990s, St. Petersburg literary life overcame the state of numbness and confusion. In 1997, the Centre of Soviet Literature and Books appeared which to a certain extent took over the functions of the House of Writers; the editorial board of the journal Zvezda (the Star), museums of Akhmatova, Blok, F. M. Dostoevsky, the new-born Cellar of a Wandering Dog, the gallery Borey-Art, the Journalist House, the publishing house Detgiz-Lyceum etc. were literary centres of St. Petersburg in 2002 to a certain extent.

References: Литературные салоны и кружки: Первая половина XIX в. / Ред. Н. Л. Бродский. Л., 1930; Русская литература конца XIX - начала XX в.: Девяностые годы. М., 1968; Русская литература конца XIX - начала XX в.: 1901-1907. М., 1971; Русская литература конца XIX - начала XX в.: 1908-1917. М., 1972; Литературные памятные места Ленинграда. 3-е изд., испр. и доп. Л., 1976; Шубин В. Ф. Поэты пушкинского Петербурга. Л., 1985; Жерихина Е. И. Зимний сезон в светских и литературных салонах Петербурга пушкинской поры // С.-Петерб. ун-т. 2000. №7. С. 22-24; Аронсон М. И., Рейсер С. А. Литературные кружки и салоны. СПб., 2001; Бунатян Г. Г. Город муз: Лит. памят. места г. Пушкина. СПб., 2001; Бунатян Г. Г., Чарная М. Г. Петербург Серебряного века: Дома, события, люди. СПб., 2002; Савицкий С. А. Андеграунд: История и мифы ленингр. неофиц. лит. М., 2002; Самиздат Ленинграда, 1950-е - 1980-е: Лит. энцикл. М., 2003.

D. N. Cherdakov.

Adamovich Georgy Viktorovich
Adodurov Vasily Evdokimovich
Akhmatova Anna Andreevna
Antonovsky Mikhail Ivanovich
Aronson Leonid Lvovich
Belinsky Vissarion Grigorievich
Berberova Nina Nikolaevna
Bitov Andrey Georgievich
Blok G.P.
Bogdanovich Ippolit Fedorovich
Brodsky Iosif Alexandrovich
Chapygin Alexey Pavlovich
Charushin Evgeny Ivanovich
Chukovsky Korney Ivanovich
Chukovsky Nikolay Korneevich
Dal Vladimir Ivanovich
Delwig Anton Antonovich
Derzhavin Gavriil Romanovich
Dostoevsky Fedor Mikhailovich
Druzhinin Alexander Vasilievich
Elagin Ivan Perfilievich
Elchaninov Bogdan Evgenievich
Esenin Sergey Alexandrovich
Etkind Efim Grigorievich
Feofan Prokopovich (lay name Eleazar Prokopovich)
Ficquelmont Daria Fedorovna, Countess
Fonvizin Denis Ivanovich
Forsh Olga Dmitrievna
Garshin Vsevolod Mikhailovich
Gnedich Peter Petrovich
Golenishchev-Kutuzov Ivan Loginovich
Golyavkin Viktor Vladimirovich
Gorbovsky Gleb Yakovlevich
Gorky Maxim (Alexey Maximovich Peshkov)
Goryshin Gleb Alexandrovich
Grech Nikolay Ivanovich
Gumilev Nikolay Stepanovich
Ivanov Georgy Vladimirovich
Ivanov Vyacheslav Ivanovich
Kantemir Antiokh Dmitrievich
Karamzina Ekaterina Andreevna
Katenin Pavel Alexandrovich
Kheraskov Mikhail Matveevich
Khitrovo Elizaveta Mikhailovna
Khvostenko Alexey Lvovich
Khvostov Alexander Semenovich
Klyuev Nikolay Alexeevich
Konashevich Vladimir Mikhailovich
Konetsky Boris Ivanovich
Kraevsky Andrey Alexandrovich
Krivulin Viktor Borisovich
Kukolnik Nestor Vasilievich
Lebedev Vladimir Vasilievich
Leskov Nikolay Semenovich
Lisenkov Ivan Timofeevich
Lomonosov Mikhail Vasilievich
Lukin Vladimir Ignatievich
Lvov Alexey Fedorovich
Marshak Samuil Yakovlevich
Marx Adolf Fedorovich
Mayakovsky Vladimir Vladimirovich
Nekrasov Nikolay Alexeevich
Odoevsky Vladimir Fedorovich
Odoevtseva Irina Vladimirovna (real name Heinecke Iraida Gustavovna )
Olenin Alexey Nikolaevich
Panaev Ivan Ivanovich
Panteleev L. (real name Eremeev Alexey Ivanovich)
Plavilshchikov Vasily Alexeevich
Pletnev Peter Alexandrovich
Polonsky Yakov Petrovich
Popov Valery Georgievich
Rein Evgeny Borisovich
Remizov Alexey Mikhailovich
Rostopchina Evdokiya Petrovna, Countess
Rozanov Vasily Vasilievich
Rzhevsky Alexsey Andreevich
Sadofiev Ilya Ivanovich
Schwarz Evgeny Lvovich
Shakhovskoy Alexander Alexandrovich
Shishkov Alexander Semenovich
Shishkov V.M.
Shuvalov Ivan Ivanovich, Count
Slenin Ivan Vasilievich
Slonimsky Mikhail Leonidovich
Sluchevsky Konstantin Konstantinovich
Smirdin Alexander Filippovich
Smirnova-Rosset Alexandra Osipovna
Sollogub Vladimir Alexandrovich
Stakensсhneider Andrey Ivanovich
Stasyulevich Mikhail Matveevich
Suvorin Alexey Sergeevich
Tatishchev Vasily Nikitich
the Glazunovs
the Maykovs
Tikhonov Nikolay Semenovich
Tolstoy Alexey Nikolaevich
Trediakovsky Vasily Kirillovich
Vaginov (Vagenheim) Konstantin Konstantinovich
Vielgorsky Mikhail Yurievich
Voeykov Alexander Fedorovich
Wolf Mavriky Osipovich
Zakharov I.S.
Zhitkov Boris Stepanovich
Zhukovskaya V.A.

Аронсон М. И., Рейсер С. А. Литературные кружки и салоны. СПб., 2001
Савицкий С. А. Андеграунд: История и мифы ленингр. неофиц. лит. М., 2002
Бунатян Г. Г., Чарная М. Г. Петербург Серебряного века: Дома, события, люди. СПб., 2002
Бунатян Г. Г. Город муз: Лит. памят. места г. Пушкина. СПб., 2001
Жерихина Е. И. Зимний сезон в светских и литературных салонах Петербурга пушкинской поры // С.-Петерб. ун-т, 2000
Шубин В. Ф. Поэты пушкинского Петербурга. Л., 1985
Литературные памятные места Ленинграда. 3-е изд., испр. и доп. Л., 1976
Русская литература конца XIX - начала XX в.: 1908-17. М., 1972
Русская литература конца XIX - начала XX в.: 1901-1907. М., 1971
Литературные салоны и кружки: Первая половина XIX в. / Ред. Н. Л. Бродский. Л., 1930
Русская литература конца XIX - начала XX в.: Девяностые годы. М., 1968

The subject Index
Prazdnoe Vremya v Polzu Upotreblennoe, Leisure Time Spent with Benefit, journal
Circle of Lvov and Derzhavin
Conversations for Lovers of the Russian Word , Literary Society
Arzamas, Literary Circle
Ponomareva Salon
Wednesdays of Smirnova-Rosset
Free Society for the Lovers of Literature, Sciences and Arts, Literary and Social Organization
Green Lamp, Literary and Political Society
Odoevsky's Salon
Salon of Karamzina
Sovremennik (Contemporary), journal
Otechestvennye Zapiski (Notes of the Fatherland), journal
Vestnik Evropy (The Herald of Europe), 1866-1918
Russkoe Bogatstvo (The Russian Wealth), journal, 1876-1918
Literary Fund
Maykov Literary and Artistic Salon
Fridays, Y. P. Polonsky's Fridays, K. K. Sluchevsky's Fridays
World of Art, Association
Ivanov's Wednesdays, Literary and Artistic Meetings
Merezhkovsky Salon
Religious and Philosophical Assemblies
Poets Guild
Stray Dog, Cabaret
Comedians Halt, Cabaret
Tenishev's School
Mir Bozhy (God's World), journal, 1892-1906
Zhizn (Life), journal
Mir Iskusstva (World of Art), journal
Apollon (Apollo), journal
Satirikon, journal
Zavety (Behests), journal, 1912-1914
Letopis (The Chronicle), journal
Starye Gody (The Bygone Years), journal
Stolitsa i Usadba (The Capital and Mansion), journal
Knowledge, publishing house, 1898-1913
Literary Men, House of, Literary Organization
Serapion's Brothers
World of Literature, publishing house, 1918-1924
Academia, publishing house, 1921-1937
Soviet Writer, the Leningrad Department of the Publishing House
Zvezda (The Star), journal
Neva, journal
Saigon Cafe
Citizens, Literary Group
Club 81
Anna Akhmatova Literary and Memorial Museum
Blok's Memorial Flat
Dostoevsky Literary Memorial Museum
Borey-Art, art centre