This itinerary reconstructs Alexander Blok’s funeral through the memoirs, diaries, and reminiscences of his contemporaries. The goals of this project are, first, to place the funeral of Russia’s most important pre–revolutionary poet in the context of early Soviet history; and second, to analyze the summer of 1921 as a pivotal cultural and historical moment, that many contemporaries saw as an uncrossable threshold between their former and future lives. Examining the way that the death and funeral of Alexander Blok was both narrated and performed reveals a transformation in attitudes toward the present, as well as a certain hardening of lines in narratives about the past. As the country made the transition from the inherently unstable circumstances of the Revolution and the Civil War and moved towards a particular ideologically driven program of social and political reconstruction, those who buried Alexander Blok made sense of the experience through the prism of Blok’s death. They did this through the meanings that they attached to Blok’s death in their narratives, and through their direct, or indirect, participation in the poet’s funeral.

Path 1

The Death and Funeral of Alexander Blok

Follow the chronological account of Alexander Blok’s death.

Path 2

The Death of Alexander Blok in the Imagination of his Contemporaries

Navigate the background and context of Alexander Blok’s death and funeral, as well as the many meanings associated with it in the reminiscences of his contemporaries.

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Mouse over map tabs to view the two pathways.
Click the tabs to begin exploring each path.