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Filatov A.V. The Myth of Adam in Nikolay Gumilev’s Poetry. Studia Litterarum, 2018, vol. 3, no 4, pp. 170–183. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2018-3-4-170-183

Information about the author:

Anton V. Filatov, Post-graduate student, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie gori, 1/51, 119991 Moscow, Russia.

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Received: October 30, 2017
Published: December 25, 2018
Issue: 2018 Vol. 3, №4
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 170-183

UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)53
Keywords: Nikolay Gumilev, Adam, myth, autobiographic myth, mythopoetics, adamism, acmeism.


The paper examines the image of Adam and its place in Nikolay Gumilev’s poetry. It argues that the biblical ancestor is not only the model for the “Acmeist” poet who represents contemporary reality in his work but is also a universal mythological prototype for the protagonists of Gumilev’s poetry. In his works, the poet invents his own version of the myth using traditional myths and motifs (Adam, Eve, Paradise, Fall from Heaven, etc.). First, Gumilev rewrites the biblical legend by interpreting the expulsion from paradise as a test rather than a punishment of man by God (see his poem The Dream of Adam). In this interpretation, earthly life becomes similar to the ritual of initiation after which the character returns to paradise together with his wife (see the poem Ballad). Second, the poet projects the events of his own life onto the myth, and as a result the relations between Adam and Eve become more complicated. This is due to the ambivalence of the image of the female character, both close and alien to Adam. Such a transformation reflects the troubled relations between Gumilev and his future wife, A. Gorenko (A. Akhmatova). Her consent to marry him illustrates the interaction of the “the text of life” and “the text of myth”. Despite this, the myth about Adam preserves the duality of Eve’s mythologeme, which is manifested in various female images, connecting either to the heavenly maiden (her variants are Lilith, Blue Star), or to the earthly woman, alienated from the character (poem Near the Fire, Iambic pentameter verses). This leads to the most important changes in the structure of Gumilev’s myth: Eve leaves Adam. Her plot function as a companion leading the male character to the paradise is reduced to the emblem of the topos of Heaven, which Adam seeks alone.


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