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Merezhkovsky, Dmitry Sergeyevich.

Merezhkovsky, Dmitry Sergeyevich (b. Aug. 2 [Aug. 14, New Style], 1865, St. Petersburg, Russia--d. Dec. 9, 1941, Paris, Fr.)

Russian poet, novelist, critic, and thinker who played an important role in the revival of religious-philosophical interests among the Russian intelligentsia.

Merezhkovsky published his first volume of poetry in 1888. His essay O prichinakh upadka i o novykh techeniyakh sovremennoy russkoy literatury (1893; "On the Causes of the Decline and on the New Trends in Contemporary Russian Literature") was a significant landmark of Russian modernism. At the beginning of the 20th century he and his wife, Zinaida Gippius, edited the magazine Novy put (1903-04; "The New Path").

With his trilogy Khristos i Antikhrist(1896-1905; "Christ and Antichrist"), Merezhkovsky revived the historical novel in Russia. Its three parts, set in widely separated epochs and geographical areas, serve as vehicles for the author's historical and theological ideas. Another group of fictional works from Russian history--the play Pavel I (1908) and the novels Aleksandr I (1911-12) and 14 Dekabrya (1918; December the Fourteenth)--also form a trilogy. Merezhkovsky's favorite method was antithesis, which he applied not only in his novels but also in his critical study Tolstoy i Dostoyevsky(1901-02), a work of seminal importance and enduring value. His Gogol i chort(1906; "Gogol and the Devil") is another noteworthy critical work.

Although Merezhkovsky welcomed the February Revolution of 1917, he opposed the Bolshevik seizure of power. Emigrating in 1920, he eventually settled in Paris, where he published two more historical novels under the general title Rozhdenie bogov(1924-25; Birth of the Gods) and biographical studies of Napoleon, Jesus Christ, St. Augustine, St. Paul, St. Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc, Dante, and many others.

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Publication:Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature
Article Type:Brief biography
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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