For citation:

Spivak M.L. Andrey Bely’s Diary Heritage (1896–1933). Studia Litterarum, 2019, vol. 4, no 4, pp. 138–165. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2019-4-4-138-165

Author: Monika L. Spivak
Information about the author:

Monika L. Spivak, DSc in Philology, Leading Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: March 03, 2019
Published: December 25, 2019
Issue: 2019 Vol. 4, №4
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 138-165

UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)6
Keywords: Andrey Bely, symbolism, anthroposophy, autobiography, diaries, literary diary, intimate diary, notebook, Soviet power


The article examines the work of Andrey Bely as the author of diaries. His original diaries are few in number; most of them are considered lost. At the same time, Bely has many references to why he used the diaries at different times. The purpose of the article is to trace the history and fate of Bely’s diaries, both the missing ones and those that survived. Collected together, the data demonstrates how much of the author’s literary heritage is lost. The article proves that Bely kept diaries most of his life. The first diary (“literary-critical” diary of the early writer), which served him as a notebook, dates back to the 19th–20th centuries. The next diary (from 1912) is associated with the beginning of Bely’s esoteric discipleship; it is a report of the experienced spiritual revelations. After the outbreak of the World War I, Bely began to keep a “journal of philosophical thoughts,” which formed the basis of a series of essays about the crisis of life, thought, culture, and consciousness. It is probable that he continued keeping it in the revolutionary era until 1919. A new outbreak of the diary activity was caused by the death of A. Blok in 1921. It has become recently known that Bely kept diaries during the period of emigration (1921–1923). The diary of the period 1925–1931 (the so-called “Kuchin diary”) — the most significant one in terms of both its volume and content — contains 150 copyright sheets. It was seized in 1931 by the OGPU officers and is considered missing. The diary of 1932 has been preserved, as well as the diary of 1933, which the author ceased keeping a year before his death. The material presented in the article allows to conclude that there were diaries of different types: diaries of “external life” and inner life, intimate and creative diaries. All of them form the basis of Bely’s works including, those that were either stylized as diaries and those that have nothing to do with diaries at first glance.


1 Andrey Bely and Ivanov-Razumnik. Perepiska [Correspondence], ed. by A.V. Lavrov, J. Malmstad. St. Petersburg, Atheneum–Feniks Publ., 1998. 733 p. (In Russ.).

2 Andrey Bely and Emilii Metner. Perepiska 1902–1915 [Correspondence. 1902–1915]. In 2 vols., ed. by A.V. Lavrov, J. Malmstad, T.V. Pavlova. Moscow, NLO Publ., 2017. Vol. 2. 736 p. (In Russ.).

3 Andrey Bely. Vospominaniia o Shteinere [Memories about Steiner]. Andrey Bely. Sobranie sochinenii: Rudol’f Shteiner i Gete v mirovozzrenii sovremennosti. Vospominaniia o Shteinere [Сollection of works: Rudolf Steiner and Goethe in the modern worldview. Memories about Steiner], ed. by I.N. Lagutina. Moscow, Respublika Publ., 2000, pp. 236–535. (In Russ.)

4 Andrey Bely. Dnevniki 1930-kh godov [Diaries of the 1930s], ed. by M.L. Spivak. Literaturnoe nasledstvo [Literary heritage]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2016, vol. 105, pp. 843–1031. (In Russ.)

5 Andrey Bely. Dnevnikovye zapisi [Diary notes], ed. by S.S. Grechishkin, A.V. Lavrov. Literaturnoe nasledstvo [Literary heritage]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1982. Vol. 92: Aleksandr Blok. Novye materialy i issledovaniia [Aleksandr Blok. New materials and studies], part 3, pp. 788–813. (In Russ.)

6 Andrey Bely. Evangelie kak drama. Zakliuchitel’naia chast’ “Krizisa soznaniia” [Gospel as a drama. The final part of the “The Crisis of Consciousness”]. Moscow, Russkii Dvor Publ., 1996. 80 p. (In Russ.)

7 Andrey Bely. Zapiski chudaka [Notes of the Eccentric]. Andrey Bely. Sobranie sochinenii: Kotik Letaev. Kreshchenyi kitaets. Zapiski chudaka [Сollection of works: Kotik Letaev, The Baptized Chinaman. Notes of an eccentric]. Moscow, Respublika Publ., 1997, pp. 280–496. (In Russ.)

8 Andrey Bely. K materialam o Bloke [To the materials about Blok]. Andrey Bely. O Bloke [About Blok], ed. by A.V. Lavrov. Moscow, Avtograf Publ., 1997. 606 p. (In Russ.)

9 Andrey Bely. Material k biografii [Material for biography], ed. by A.V. Lavrov, J. Malmstad. Literaturnoe nasledstvo [Literary heritage]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2016, vol. 105, pp. 29–328. (In Russ.)

10 Andrey Bely. Na perevale. I. Krizis zhizni [On the Pass. I. The crisis of life]. Peterburg, Alkonost Publ., 1918. 116 p. (In Russ.)

11 Andrey Bely. Ocherki 1916 goda dlia gazety “Birzhevye vedomosti” [Essays from the newspaper Birzhevie vedomosti (1916)], ed. by D.O. Torshilov, E.V. Glukhova. Politika i poetika: russkaia literatura v istoriko-kul’turnom kontekste Pervoi mirovoi voiny [Politics and poetics: Russian literature in the historical and cultural context of World War I]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2014, pp. 174–240. (In Russ.)

12 Andrey Bely. Pochemu ia stal simvolistom... [Why did I become a symbolist...] Andrey Bely. Simvolizm kak miroponimanie [Symbolism as a mindset], ed. by L.A. Sugai. Moscow, Respublika Publ., 1994, pp. 418–492. (In Russ.) Studia Litterarum /2019 том 4, № 4 164

13 Andrey Bely. Rakurs k dnevniku [View on the diary], ed. by A.V. Lavrov, J. Malmstad. Literaturnoe nasledstvo [Literary heritage]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2016, vol. 105, pp. 329–654. (In Russ.).

14 Andrey Bely. Svidaniia s doktorom [Encounters with the Doctor], ed. by A.V. Lavrov, J. Malmstad. Literaturnoe nasledstvo [Literary heritage]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2016, vol. 105, pp. 758–759. (In Russ.)

15 Belous V.G. Vol’fila [Petrogradskaia Vol’naia Filosofskaia Assotsiatsiia]: 1919–1924 [Petrograd Free Philosophical Association]: 1919–1924]. Moscow, Modest Kolerov i “Tri kvadrata” Publ., 2005. Vol. 2. 800 p. (In Russ.)

16 Voronin S.D. Stat’ia V.D. Bonch-Bruevicha “Arkhiv Andreya Belogo” [Article of V.D. Bonch-Bruevich “Andrey Bely’s Archive”]. Arkheograficheskii ezhegodnik za 1984 god [Archaeographic yearbook for 1984]. Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1986, pp. 273–276 (In Russ.)

17 Glukhova E.V. Ob evoliutsii dnevnikovogo zhanra [About the evolution of the diary genre]. Poetika russkoi literatury kontsa XIX — nachala XX v. Dinamika zhanra. Obshchie problemy [Poetics of Russian literature of the end of 19th — beginning of 20th century. Dynamics of the genre. General problems]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2009, pp. 786–806. (In Russ.)

18 Glukhova E.V., Torshilov D.O. Andrey Bely v Pervuiu mirovuiu voinu [Andrey Bely during the First World War]. Politika i poetika: russkaia literatura v istoriko-kul’turnom kontekste Pervoi mirovoi voiny [Politics and poetics: Russian Literature in the historical and cultural context of the First World War]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2014, pp. 165–173. (In Russ.)

19 Ivanov-Razumnik. Vershiny: Aleksandr Blok, Andrey Bely [The Peaks: Alexander Blok, Andrey Bely]. Petrograd, Kolos Publ., 1923. 246 p. (In Russ.)

20 Iz apxiva H.A. Turgenevoi: Pis’ma Ellisa, A. Belogo i A.A. Turgenevoi [From H.A. Turgeneva’s archive: Letters from Ellis, A. Bely and A.A. Turgeneva], ed. by D. Rizzi. Europa Orientalis, 1995, vol. XIV (2), pp 295–340. (In Russ.)

21 Komelli A. “Mysli iz leni” Andreya Belogo [“Lazy thoughts” by Andrey Bely]. Russian Literature, 2005, Vol. LVIII (I/II), pp. 85–92. (In Russ.)

22 Lavrov A.V. “Romantika pominoveniia”. Andrey Bely o Bloke [“The romance of Remembrance”. Andrey Bely about Blok]. Andrey Bely. O Bloke [About Blok]. Moscow, Avtograf Publ., 1997, pp. 3–21. (In Russ.)

23 Lavrov A.V. Iunosheskie dnevnikovye zametki Andreya Belogo [Andrey Bely’s Youth Diary Notes]. Pamiatniki kul’tury: Novye otkrytiia. Pis’mennost’. Iskusstvo. Arkheologiia: Ezhegodnik 1979 [Cultural Monuments: New Discoveries. Writing. Art. Archaeology: Yearbook 1979]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1980, pp. 116–139. (In Russ.)

24 Literaturnoe nasledstvo [Literary heritage]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2016. Vol. 105: Andrey Bely. Avtobiograficheskie svody: Material k biografii, Rakurs k dnevniku. Registratsionnye zapisi. Dnevniki 1930-kh godov [Autobiographical Records: material Русская литература / М.Л. Спивак for biography. View on the diary. Registration records. Diaries of the 1930s], ed. by A.V. Lavrov, J. Malmstad. 1116 p. (In Russ.)

25 Perepiska Andreya Belogo i Viacheslava Ivanova [Correspondence between Andrey Bely and Vyacheslav Ivanov] (1904–1920), ed. by N.A. Bogomolov, J. Malmstad. Russkaia literatura, 2015, no 2, pp. 29–103. (In Russ.)

26 Smert’ Andreya Belogo [The death of Andrey Bely] (1880–1934). Sb. statei i materialov: dokumenty, nekrologi, pis’ma, dnevniki, posviashcheniia, portrety [Collection of articles and materials: documents, obituaries, letters, diaries, dedications, portraits], ed. by M.L. Spivak, E.V. Nasedkina. Moscow, NLO Publ., 2013. 967 p. (In Russ.)

27 Spivak M.L. Andrey Bely — mistik i sovetskii pisatel’ [Andrey Bely as a mystic and a Soviet writer]. Moscow, RGGU Publ., 2006. 577 p. (In Russ.)

28 Spivak M.L. Pozdnie dnevniki Andreya Belogo: propavshie i utselevshie [Andrey Bely’s late diaries: Missing and survived manuscripts]. Literaturnoe nasledstvo [Literary heritage]. Vol. 105. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2016, vol. 105, pp. 832–842. (In Russ.)

29 Torshilov D.O. Mirovaia voina i tsikl “Krizisov” Andreya Belogo [World War and the “Crises” cycle by Andrey Bely]. Russkaia publitsistika i periodika epokhi Pervoi mirovoi voiny: politika i poetika: issledovaniia i materialy [Russian journalism and periodicals of the First World War: politics and poetics: research and materials]. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2013, pp. 209–223. (In Russ.)