To Cross that Sacred Edge

Richard Taruskin

in On Russian Music

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780520249790
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942806 | DOI:
To Cross that Sacred Edge

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Lady Nina Petrovskaya, born 1884, Moscow, was one of those rare but inevitable figures of literary consciousness who never wrote anything and without whom literary efflorescence would be partial, and who, at her height, enthralled almost all of the literary Moscow. It was not an unrequited passion, to judge by the number of Russian poets, great and small, whose lives became entangled with hers. Petrovskya's extra marital affair with Andrey Bely, initially invigorating Bely's “mysterial love,” finally boiled down to the level of human desire. It finally ended in what Bely called the “tragedy of sex,” and from which he took refuge in several phases of self-exile. To avenge Bely's insolence, Petrovskaya forged a liaison with one of his most potent rivals and the founder of Russian Symbolism, Valery Bryusov. This chapter appraises this love triangle, an affair not short of the usual elements.

Keywords: Nina Petrovskaya; Andrey Bely; tragedy of sex; Valery Bryusov; love triangle; literary Moscow

Chapter.  4298 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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