Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky in the Newspaper “Eurasia”

_ Mikhail Yefimov. State historical-architectural and natural museum-reserve “Park Mon Repos”. Bulletin PSTGU. Vol. 1. 2015.

The years 1928–1929 are crucial in the creative work and personal life of Prince Dmitry Svyatopolk-Mirsky (1890–1939), the literary critic and historian of literature, but up to now they have not been suffi ciently studied by Russian scholars.

In 1928, Mirsky became actively involved in editing the newspaper Eurasia. As a contributor Mirsky belongs to those who precipitated the split of the Eurasian movement into the “left” wing and the “right” (the latter regarded the Eurasia as a pro-Soviet and pro-Bolshevik organ).

In the Eurasia, Mirsky was for the first time commenting on the political and ideological issues extensively. By 1928, Mirskii grew to realise that he should switch from the position of a literary critic to that of a historian and political essayist. There are reasons to believe that during his collaboration with the Eurasia, Mirsky regarded his literary criticism as an old habit that was losing momentum.

More than half of Mirsky’s publications in the Eurasia dealt with literature, art and the cinema. In his critical papers, Mirsky hardly ever mentioned Eurasianism as such and did not use Eurasian concepts. Mirsky’s literary criticism in the Eurasia was consistently focused on the same authors and texts as before; he was to be interested in them later as well.

In the Eurasia, Mirsky formulated some theses that were directly linked to his ideological evolution. Mirsky puts forward a thesis about the rejection of the “aesthetic standard” in favour of the ethical one. However, it would be wrong to extrapolate the utilitarian-ethical approach which Mirsky developed for literary phenomena to all the issues that Mirsky dealt with in his articles in the Eurasia. The aesthetic basis of his publications in the Eurasia can be defi ned as Classicism. Mirsky directly connected the fruitfulness of Classicism as an artistic ideology to the ideology of the state.

However, publications in the Eurasia were his last utterances on the Russian literature that were written in Russian and in which he could allow himself to be contradictory and inconsistent and still to remain one of the most prominent literary critics of the Russian exile.

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