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Ljunggren M. The Dutch Connection: Johanna van der Meulen’s Contribution to Russian Symbolism. Studia Litterarum, 2017, vol. 2, no 3, pp. 190–203. (In Russ.) DOI:10.22455/2500-4247-2017-2-3-190-203

Author: M. Ljunggren
Information about the author:

Magnus Ljunggren, Professor Emeritus of Russian literature at the University of Gothenburg. Gröndalsvägen 177, 117 69 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: March 25, 2017
Published: September 25, 2017
Issue: 2017 Vol. 2, №3
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 190-203

UDK: 821.161.1+821.112.5
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус) + 86.4(4Нид)
Keywords: Ellis, Van der Meulen, symbiosis, mystical doctrine, cosmosophy, gnosticism, catholocism, cultural.


The Symbolist Ėllis’ (Lev Kobylinskij) writings during his Moscow period emphasize the split, the division and dichotomy between material reality and celestial vision. His works written in exile in Locarno-Monti in Switzerland are devoted to resolving these antitheses by building bridges on all levels: between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, between culture and religion, between worldly and otherworldly, ultimately between East and West. From being a poet and critic he became a translator and culturologist: “Dr. Leo Kobilinski-Ellis.” The Dutch medium Johanna van der Meulen — whom he had met in 1911 in Rudolf Steiner’s Theosophical, soon Anthroposophical colony — played a crucial role in this fundamental metamorphosis. With her he lived in a thirty-five-year-long creative symbiosis that proved extremely beneficial to the two of them. Van der Meulen developed a mystical doctrine of her own, “Cosmosophy”, based on a Gnostic world view, strongly influenced by Russian religious philosophy. As she had finished her work in four parts Dr. Kobilinski-Ellis published his summary and interpretation of her teachings, in which he defines the core of Cosmosophy as a synthesis of the “Johannian” element in the meditative wisdom of the Eastern Church and the “Petrine” component in the energetic faith of Catholicism.


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