“How few remained…”

The coffin was carried to the courtyard, through the arcs of the gates, and out to the embankment of the river Priazhka. A crowd was waiting outside. Since it was summer, many had already left the desolate city for the countryside, yet most cultural figures still in Petrograd were present. In the crowd, one could notice: Evgeny Ivanov, Andrey Bely, Alexander Benois, Konstantin Somov, the entire troupe of the Bol’shoy Theater, Mikhail Kuzmin, Olga Forsh, Akim Volynsky, Viktor Shklovsky, and Marietta Shaganian. Some took note of the absence of Gorky, who had gone to Moscow. By some estimations, about one thousand people had come to bid farewell to Blok; others provide more modest figures. For some (usually of the younger generation) these figures were evidence of the surviving vitality of Petersburg literary life; others (mostly of the older generation) note the emptiness of the funeral, remarking on the diminished ranks of the pre–revolutionary intelligentsia: “By the gateway out in the street a crowd was waiting … All that remained of literary Petersburg,” wrote the writer Evgeniy Zamiatin, “And only there did it become evident: how few remained.”

[See also: Voices of Blok’s Contemporaries]

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