Maximillian Akeksandrovich Voloshin (1877 - 1932)

Maximilian Aleksandrovich Voloshin (Kiriyenko-Voloshin) is a remarkable representative of Russian symbolism. He combined various talents, being a poet, a literary and art critic, a translator, an aquarellist artist and at last - an original thinker uniting in his outlook religious and mystical points of view on the one hand and the philosophy of history on the other.

The childhood of Voloshin, born in Kiev, passed in the South of Russia and in Moscow. In 1893 the future poet's mother E.O. Kiriyenko-Voloshina who had been bringing him up alone after his father's early death settled down in the eastern part of the Crimea, in Koktebel, then a small unremarkable village near Feodosia. All Voloshin's further life was connected with Koktebel and Cimmeria (the eastern Crimea) became a special poet's theme interpreted in the best way to reveal the peculiarity of his artistic nature. After finishing high school in Feodosia in 1897 he entered the Law Faculty of Moscow University, but was expelled in 1899 and deported from Moscow for participating in the students' disturbances. Again he had suffered persecution in August 1900 after which the action was withdrawn. Voloshin did not resume classes at the University and in spring 1901 left for Europe for proper studying of the modern Western culture and self-education. Having toured around Germany, Italy and Spain he settled down for long in Paris that became his second spiritual homeland.

After returning to Russia in January 1903 Voloshin entered the symbolist writers' circle and formally staying out of any literary groups, published poems in symbolist editions. With the foundation Moscow magazine «Vesy» he became its closest contributor, a mediator between the magazine and French literary and artistic circles. Being Paris reporter of the Petersburg's newspaper «Rus», he continued cooperating with the Russian modernists' periodicals - Moscow magazines «Zolotoye Runo» and «Pereval» as well as Petersburg magazine «Apollon». In 1910 the first book by Voloshin «Stikhotvoreniya. 1900-1910» saw the light of the day. There he appeared as a poet of symbolist synthesis: with the «old» masters of this current he had in common the love for Western-European predecessors and prototypes, the orientation on French modernists, the inclination to rhetoric pathetic and masterly decoration of a verse; with the «younger» generation of symbolists he shared religious and philosophical views as well as «internal mystery vision»(«tainozritelnye») aspirations and, besides that, a rigorous autobiographical construction, a poetic mythologization of individual fate.

In respond to the World War I events Voloshin published a collection of poems «Anno Mundi Ardentis 1915» representing the European tragedy in mystical and apocalyptical figures. He had come back to Russia almost a year before the February Revolution and settled down in Koktebel, where he lived constantly to the rest of his life. In the poems written during the Revolution and the Civil War Voloshin's poetical voice gained mightiness and expressiveness to the extent that never had been before. His aim was to reflect with sincerity the tortures what his homeland was going through. In his historical-philosophical conception of the Russian Revolution Voloshin was close to those religious philosophers who considered it a catastrophic break-out of the stormy atmosphere having condensed for ages, a spitting of the energetic forces which had been accumulating in social and historical, psychological type of Russian people.

The last poetical collection by Voloshin published in his homeland and in his lifetime, was a small book «Demony Glukhonemye» (1919). It was this poet who suffered the elevated and sorrowful fate of the first classic of post-revolutionary «samizdat» (self-publishing). In the 1920s his poems were widely distributed in copies - to a considerable degree due to Voloshin's house in Koktebel being a crowded informal cultural centre hosting and uniting the poet's friends, representatives of the creative intellectuality, being  «Cimerric Athens» according to a ready definition of a poet and translator G.Shengeli.

After Voloshin's death his archive had been held by the poet's widow M.S.Voloshina in Koktebel house for more than four decades. In the years when neglecting the creative legacy of the master was propagated she did her best to support live and grateful memory of him. M.S.Voloshina determined on donating the materials to Pushkinsky Dom mainly due to the initiative of V.A.Manuylov, one of the first specialists in Voloshin's biography and creative legacy.

The endowment of the archive was held stage-by-stage in 1960-1970 and majorly realized in M.S.Voloshina's lifetime. Besides the poet's creative manuscripts, letters and documents, the archive included a collection of albums and notebooks with his drawings, thousands of letters to Voloshin from different people, the materials of M.V.Sabashnikova-Voloshina, - the poet's first wife - and also of his mother E.O. Kiriyenko-Voloshina and his friend A.M.Petrova, in addition to the documents concerning Voloshin's friends and acquaintances. At the same time a large number of photos from Voloshin's collection and a big amount of his famous Crimean watercolors arrived at the funds of the Literature Museum.

The archive became accessible for research work and publishing. For recent years the materials of Voloshin's fund have been printed in periodicals, anthologies and collections of works; they have laid a foundation for the first scholarly edition «Stikhotvoreniya i Poemy» by Voloshin which was accomplished in 1995 in the series of «Biblioteka Poeta» («Poet's Library»), and also for a serial publication «Maximilian Voloshin. Iz Literaturnogo Nasledia» started by Pushkinsky Dom. Manuscripts from Voloshin fund were widely used in a basic research by V.P.Kupchenko «Trudy i Dni Maximiliana Voloshina» - a detailed chronicle of the poet's life and works.

A.V. Lavrov