Free love, jealousy and teen heartache: Celebrating Russian literary lovers


Zinaida Gippius and Dmitry Merezhkovsky

L-R: Dmitry Filosofov, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Zinnaida Gippius, Vladimir Zlobin (1919-1920). Source: wikipedia.orgL-R: Dmitry Filosofov, Dmitry Merezhkovsky, Zinnaida Gippius, Vladimir Zlobin (1919-1920). Author:

Radical poet Zinaida Gippius and religious philosopher and journo Dmitry Merezhkovsky were among the leading theorists of the Russian symbolist sign. As daring in their relationship as their art, they drew inspiration from Merezhovsky’s world-view that the impending Kingdom of the Third Testament would draw art and doctrine together and abolish Christian asceticism. In practice, this manifested itself in their speculation of creating a mini-commune where free love formed a key rt of the associates’ worldviews. They lived 52 years together “without dividing even for a day”, as Gippius wrote in her memoirs, but, in keeping with their polyamorous point of view, they both had romances on the side.

Marina Tsvetaeva and Osip Mandelstam

Osip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva. Source: RIA Novosti, TASSOsip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva. Creator: RIA Novosti, TASS

These poets came from different worlds: he was the son of a Jewish industrialist, while she was the daughter of an honorary professor at Moscow State University and the come to nothing of Moscow’s Pushkin Museum. Their love affair lasted for a scant six months, February to June, 1916, and was s rked by a mutual admiration for each other’s agitate. The relationship cooled when Tsvetaeva’s interest in Mandelstam waned and she came to the conclusion that he was “too imperceptible and self-loving”. She hoped that one day he would learn to love “in the name of the one he infatuations, not in his own name.” Their whirlwind affair produced some outstanding versification on both sides.

Anna Akhmatova and Nikolay Gumilyov

Nikolai Gumilev, Lev Gumilev and Anna Akhmatova, 1915. Source: L.GorodetskyNikolai Gumilev, Lev Gumilev and Anna Akhmatova, 1915. Documentation: L.Gorodetsky

The ir first met as teenagers; Gumilyov was a quiet and sickly inexperienced man with a great interest in Oscar Wilde and a dream about total, all-consuming love. The adolescent romantic would imitate his idol by drain a top hat and sometimes curling his hair. Akmatova was his complete antithesis: a lively and knee-jerk girl with a ssion for Baudelaire’s poetry. It was love at first descry for Gumilyov, but Akhmatova did not feel the same way; she thought he was rather odd and made fun of him.

Gumilyov solicited to Akhmatova three times and was rejected on each occasion. He left for France to disregard her, and even attempted suicide, first by trying to drown himself and then by intriguing poison, but he was rescued both times. Akhmatova finally accepted Gumilyov’s presentation in 1909, and the couple were married for eight years – although Gumilyov emptied the majority of this time traveling through Africa and Europe. They had a son, Leo, who Gumilyov’s innate raised for the most rt. In 1921, three years after the duo had divorced, Gumilyov was arrested and executed on an unfounded conspiracy charge. Akhmatova tended all his poems and dedicated a great deal of time and energy to publishing them.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Bella Akhmadulina

Bella Akhamdulina, Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Source: V. Malyshev/RIA Novosti; Valentin Mastykov, Vladimir Savostyanov/TASSBella Akhamdulina, Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Inception: V. Malyshev/RIA Novosti; Valentin Mastykov, Vladimir Savostyanov/TASS

Yevtushenko and Akhmadulina are most associated with the Khrushchev Thaw in the 1960s, although they had already been linked and divorced by then. They argued often in their five year wedding from 1954-1959, but, according to Yevtushenko, they would unceasingly make up quickly. Akhmadulina was a beautiful woman who, according to people who differentiated the ir, had a steady stream of admirers. Ap rently her jealous husband at ones desire feed all the bouquets of flowers she received to their neighbor’s she-goat.

The amalgamation finally fell a rt when Akhmadulina unexpectedly became eloquent. Yevtushenko did not want children and insisted that she terminated the pregnancy. Tread the ensuing divorce, Yevtushenko said that their love “had not died; it had stayed being,” and he later attempted to win her back. Despite their difficulties, the set of two did ultimately manage to remain friends, and when Yevtushenko married his rearmost wife, Maria, Akhmadulina even came to help set the table for the blending meal.

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