Future Poet-Symbolist was born in Saint Peterburg into a sophisticated and intellectual family. Some of his relatives were literary men, his father was a law professor in Warsaw, and his maternal grandfather was the rector of Saint Petersburg State University. For a long time Blok lived with aristocratic relatives at the manor Shakhmatovo near Moscow, where he discovered philosophy and the poetry of then-obscure 19th-century poets Fyodor Tyutchev and Afanasy Fet. These influences would affect his early publications, later collected in the book Ante Lucem.
During 1903 he married Lyubov (Lyuba) Dmitrievna Mendeleeva, daughter of the renowned chemist Dmitri Mendeleev (author of the periodic table). To Lyuba he dedicated a cycle of poetry that made him famous, Stikhi o prekrasnoi Dame (Verses About the Beautiful Lady, 1904).
The idealized mystical images presented in his first book have helped Blok to get a major poet of the Russian Symbolism style. Blok's early verses are musical, but in his later poetry he tried to use more daring rhythmic patterns and uneven beats. Poetical inspiration was natural for him, often producing unforgettable, otherworldly images out of the most banal surroundings and trivial events (Fabrika, 1903). Consequently, his mature poems are often based on the conflict between the Platonic theory of ideal beauty and the disappointing reality of foul industrialism (Neznakomka, 1906).
The description of St Petersburg he crafted for his next collection of poems, The City (1904–08), was both impressionistic and eerie. Subsequent collections, Faina and the Mask of Snow, helped augment Blok's reputation. He was often compared to Alexander Pushkin, and is considered perhaps the most important poet of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry.
News source: Russia Beyond The Headlines
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Culture news archive for 15 July' 2011.
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