VI. Solovyov's Syzygy: An Explanation of Solovyov's Philosophy of Creation and its Relation to Nineteenth-Century Russian Poetry

Denisenko, Gennady, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia
Connolly, Julian, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Virginia

The dissertation analyzes Vl. Solovyov's syzygy as a rational form of the emotional sensation of beauty. Solovyov redefines this Greek neologism as the "close unity" of all that exists with eternal goodness and truth. According to Solovyov, a preexistent all-unity (vseedinstvo) undergoes division and multiplication, creating a myriad of other centers of being, some of which become the human "I". To rejoin with all-unity, the human "I" must envision other "I"s, other points of view, through which it replicates all-unity's original act. Through syzygy, man perceives beauty in nature as a "sensual realization" of the ultimate truth and goodness of timeless and immeasurable allunity. Solovyov saw beauty both as an attribute of the ontological, universal theurgic process, and as an important element of his aesthetic program of the spiritualization of matter. Beauty has its own content as creative imaginative force, and indeed can "save the world" (Dostoevsky) through a transformed theurgic artist who continues the work that beauty has already begun in nature. This transformation continues in the sphere of art when artists participate in all-unity's theurgic (syzygetic) process. This study examines the parameters of syzygy as a requirement of the artist's mental and emotional state of creation. Following all-unity's pattern, Solovyov's syzygetic artist submits his "I" to fragmentation. In this syzygetic trance artists restore vi the syzygetic relation with all-unity by creating images, and this "anticipates" the "spiritualization" of the physical world. The author examines some literary texts where varying degrees of syzygy are involved, allowing artists to communicate to readers the sensation of beauty in spatial forms. In particular, the author compares a specific Russian spatial image there (tam) to Solovyov's own poetic spatial imagery, in which Solovyov tested his philosophical model and demonstrated the syzygetic transfiguration of the textual environment. vii To my wife and best friend Melinda Lacy Denisenko   –    –    ,     viii Note on Transliteration And Translation The system of transliteration of Russian words used in this dissertation is generally the Library of Congress system but with some alteration to facilitate reading the text. Proper names ending in –ii have been shortened to –y (for example, Dostoevsky). Diacritical marks have been omitted. To encourage correct pronunciation Solov'ev is spelled Solovyov. Some names are used in their traditional American spelling (for example, Tolstoy). Unless otherwise specified, all translations from Russian are my own.1 FOREWORD Original writers of the modern time are not such because they give us something new, but because they are able to speak about things in such a way as if it has never been said before. Goethe Vladimir Sergeevich Solovyov (1853-1900) is one of the seminal Russian thinkers of the nineteenth century. He played a significant role in the development of Russian philosophy and Symbolist poetry at the end of the 19th century. Solovyov also had an effect on Russian religious philosophy, kindling the Russian spiritual renaissance in the beginning of the 20th century, although this spiritual revival ended tragically in 1917. As a new millennium brings back old centuries' problems, the world is rediscovering Solovyov. He died on the threshold of the twentieth century whose troubles he had foretold with an uncanny degree of accuracy. Vladimir Solovyov is mostly known for his famous vseedinstvo, 1 a unique metaphysical conception of the world in its theurgic process that Solovyov put forward as an alternative combination of both evolutionary materialism 2 and creationism (Bychkov, 8,12).

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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