July 01, 2021

A Century Ago

A Century Ago
Alexander Blok's funeral procession, 1921.

On August 7, 1921, Alexander Blok, died in St. Petersburg. Widely considered the greatest poet of the Silver Age of Russian poetry, Blok was a Symbolist and unrepentant critic of the Bolshevik Revolution, which he said had made him lose faith in the wisdom of humanity. So much so that he could not write for the last three years of his life. “All sounds have stopped.,” he told Kornei Chukovsky. “Can’t you hear that there are no longer any sounds?”

His health in decline, he requested to be allowed to leave Russia with his wife Lyubov (daughter of the famed chemist Dmitry Mendeleev), but permission was not delivered until the day of his funeral, August 10, when a huge funeral procession for the writer filled city streets (above).

One of the last pieces Blok wrote was his 1918 poetic excoriation of the Revolution, “The Twelve,” excerpted here.

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