Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

Aleksandr Blok’s “Twelve”

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Black night.
White snow.
The wind, the wind!
Impossible to stay on your feet.
The wind, the wind!
Blowing across God’s world!

Among the most famous opening lines in modern Russian literature, the first stanza of Aleksandr Blok’s symbolist masterpiece Twelve proclaimed the coming maelstrom of revolutionary upheaval and civil war that would alter the course of Russian and world history. In the immediate aftermath of its initial publication in 1918 – and continuing throughout the decades that followed — Twelve came to be widely (and rightly) regarded as the quintessential literary expression of Russia’s tumultuous revolution. is pleased to offer visitors a new, English-language version of Blok’s famous poem of revolution. Introduced, translated, and annotated by Dr. Maria Carlson, the poem appears in two formats: 1) a digitized, augmented reproduction of the original 1918 edition (illustrated by Iurii Annenkov) in parallel with its corresponding English text and 2) a .pdf file containing the poem in Russian and English accompanied by extensive annotations. Intended to provide readers with critical historical and contextual information, this downloadable version of Twelve is ideally suited for course adoption.

Dr. Maria Carlson is Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Courtesy Professor of History at the University of Kansas. A leading specialist on the history and culture of Russia’s Silver Age, she is author of No Religion Higher than Truth: A History of the Theosophical Movement in Russia, 1875-1922.