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DOI: 10.26170/ FK19-03-05
Abstract: The article deals with the conceptual content of the categories childhood – youth – old age in the creative activity of Gippius who called herself “a grandmother of Russian decadence”. The aim of the study is to specify the temporal model typical of the author. Inspired (together with Merezhkovskiy) by the idea of “apocalyptic Christianity”, presupposing a linear model of the time stretching from the world creation to its end and transfiguration, Gippius propagated a synthesis of spirit and flesh, earth and heaven, religion and culture, and assured that this synthesis opened the door to eternity. In fiction, the situation is slightly different: not an apocalyptic break up, but a spiral development involving the use of traditions and cultural continuity. Gippius differentiates the notions “childhood” (age) and “childishness” (state of the soul), “old age” and “eldership”. The characters of children in the stories by Gippius are ambivalent: they are innocent souls striving for another world, but they are also vicious children with predominant demonic impulses. The author specially sympathizes with the “noble grey hair” – literary elders preserving the youth of their souls intact and taking care of the young. This was the role Gippius of the period of “The Green Lamp” had chosen for herself. Young characters of Gippius look forward to the future; it is a pure impulse, i.e. a spirit not yet burdened with flesh. Maturity as the most static state of a person falls out of the scope of interest of Gippius. The short stories by Gippius also demonstrate failed attempts to synthesize youth and old age (“Outside of Time”, “The Fiction”). The study of the age states semantics in the creative activity of Gippius shows that artistic understanding of the course of time in her was more traditional and more flexible than in the theoretically declared “apocalyptic Christianity”. The author’s interpretation of her letters as “spiritual children”, “orphans” whom she sends out into the world as word ambassadors (but, as a rule, they cannot find the answer) presents a special turn of the theme. “The Demon of Silence” in the poem “The Wells” dooms the subject to “rhetoric of lack of language” noted by Hansen-Löve in the lyric of “elder” symbolists.

For citation

Barkovskaya, N. V. Childhood – Youth – Old Age in the Creative Activity of Z. N. Gippius / N. V. Barkovskaya . In Philological Class. 2019. №3 (57). P. 35-43. DOI 10.26170/ FK19-03-05.