Looking up Vyacheslav Ivanov—who a century ago ran an influential St. Petersburg literary salon in his turreted house, called the Tower—in Solomon Volkov’s gossipy and irresistible St. Petersburg: A Cultural History, I found this:
The Tower was imbued with an intensely intellectual atmosphere. As a woman poet who participated in the meetings recalled,
We quoted the Greeks by heart, took delight in the French Symbolists, considered Scandinavian literature our own, knew philosophy and theology, poetry and history of the whole world. In that sense we were citizens of the universe, bearers of the great cultural museum of humanity. It was Rome at the time of the fall. We did not live, but rather contemplated the most refined that there was in life. We were not afraid of any words. We were cynical and unchaste in spirit, wan and inert in life. In a certain sense we were, of course, the revolution before the revolution—so profoundly, ruthlessly, and fatally did we destroy the old tradition and build bold bridges into the future. But our depth and daring were intertwined with a lingering sense of decay, the spirit of dying, ghostliness, ephemerality. We were the last act of a tragedy.”
Great quote, right? But… “a woman poet”? What the hell, are they interchangeable? The footnote is no help: “Aleksandr Blok v vospominaniiakh sovremennikov (Alexander Blok in the Reminiscences of Contemporaries), vol. 2 (Moscow, 1980), pp. 62-63.” So if anyone has that book or happens to know whose words are being quoted, please be so kind as to inform me. Until then, I sit in darkness.
Update. It turns out she’s Elizaveta Kuzmina-Karavaeva, and I wound up doing a post about her. Thanks, Alexei!