Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 2

Comparative Religion at the University of Manchester, 1904-1979 [1]
by Eric J. Sharpe
Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Sydney, Australia
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library 63 (1):144-170 (1980)



Exhibiting Spiritual Progress

The nineteenth-century study of comparative religion, whatever it may be now, was unashamedly Christo-centric and closely allied with the imperative of Christian missions to know the enemy. The presence of non-Christian religions was, of course, essential to give the event its international status. As Barrows himself recognized, "A World's Parliament of Religions in which only a few were interested would be a misnomer."38 Asian religions were also essential as a contrast: "[S]uperiority cannot be shown without comparison."39 Their presence was deemed necessary to display the relative excellence of Christianity. The difference in the quality of the exhibits would demonstrate the progress of Christianity.

The evolutionary lesson of the fair, the place of each nation in an international hierarchy, was most definitely also to be drawn from the Parliament. Ninety-seven nations participated in the Columbian Exposition, including "aborigines from the arctic circle and the Pacific" and other such materially undeveloped countries as Venezuela and the French Congo. The organizers had decided to arrange the exhibits throughout the fair in categories rather than by nation so that the relative merit of entries from different nations placed side by side would be apparent. It was considered one of the valuable lessons of the fair, Johnson records, that each nation could see its position ill the hierarchy thus displayed.40 At the World's Parliament of Religions "each country was, in the same spirit, invited to exhibit their [sic] religions."41 Or as Barrows himself expressed it, employing the frequently used metaphor of reflections of the light of truth, the Parliament aimed "to study all the exhibits in the spectrum."42 The result was that the "products displayed by the United States, Great Britain and Germany were immensely superior."43 Spiritual superiority was established through the dubious authority of democratic competition and scientific comparison. Note that the claim to immense superiority is restricted to the three Protestant nations of the West, explicitly connecting material advancement with the Protestant Christian vision of spiritual progress.

Exhibiting the Exotic

The Parliament was a microcosm of the fair. Its exotic delegates provided the Midway Plaisance component, the object lesson in evolution, the color, entertainment, light relief, the picturesque, and like the Midway, the Parliament drew large crowds. Attendance apparently exceeded expectations as a second hall had to be opened to accommodate repeat sessions. The Hall of Columbus alone held four thousand people and was regularly packed. Newspapers reported, however, that there was little discrimination in the audience's response to Asian speakers, and much waving of handkerchiefs and throwing hats into the air -- more the behavior of a music hall than of an academic conference. Indian delegate Vivekananda's opening words, "Brothers and sisters of America," brought on four minutes of applause and cheering. Vivekananda and the other photogenic and articulate South Asian delegate, Anagarika Dharmapala, the Buddhist delegate from Ceylon, were lionized in the press, but the coverage gave much more space to their appearance and theatrics than to the content of their papers. The Parliament was part of the fair and the Asian delegates were a spectacular attraction. Neglect of more informative if less outgoing speakers on Hinduism such as Manilal D'Vivedi44 suggests that these expressions of brotherhood were what the audience wanted to hear rather than information on Oriental thought. The other question that arises is just how much of any unamplified speech would be heard in an auditorium of that size. Front-row seats were reserved for registered participants. For many of the general public in attendance the visual spectacle must have been the principal satisfaction, and in spite of actually having been present at the Parliament and witnessing the pageantry and the sincerity of the delivery, their knowledge of the content of the speeches would have depended on the press reports and the published record: the voices of the Asian delegates, edited and interpreted by their Christian hosts.

Just how important was the carnival aspect of the Asian presence and how calculated was it? W. F. Warren, president of Boston University, wrote in response to the idea of the Parliament, apparently confirming a suggestion made to him in Barrows's letter, that "even a museum of idols and objects used in ceremonial worship would attract beyond any other museum. Models and illustrations of the great temples of the world and of the world's history would be in a high degree instructive. Add to these things the living word of living teachers, and the whole world may well pause to listen."45 Is it mere coincidence that Barrows subsequently invited these "living teachers" of exotic religions? Or that the official record was profusely illustrated with photographs of ritual objects, great temples, and Oriental practitioners? Of the nonportrait illustrations only twelve are Christian, and these are the great monuments: St. Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St. Peter's in Rome, and the cathedrals of St. Petersburg, Worcester, Milan. Non-Christian religions are also represented by major buildings, among which is the Pearl Mosque in Delhi, Mandalay Pagoda, and the Temple of Heaven in Peking. There are rather more photographs of "heathen" curiosities such as those labeled "The Burning Ghat at Calcutta," "A Group of Fakirs," "A Chinese Idol," "Hindus at Devotion," and of assorted poorly dressed Oriental devotees. The abiding impression from thumbing through the volume is one of contrast between the cathedrals soaring toward heaven and the earthbound and materially backward heathen. The illustrated history echoed the message of the Midway, the object lesson in the transition from the primitive to the sublime.

The Congress as Parliament

The imbalance of the relationship between the American Protestant hosts and the non-Christian guests was simultaneously concealed and strengthened by the conception of the event as a "parliament." This is a powerful metaphor, carrying as it does the fundamental political relationships of majority government and the minority right to be represented and heard and to contribute to the legislative process, which is ultimately under the control of the majority. The hierarchical relationship of religions, which was the lesson of the sideshow aspect of the event, was reinforced by the lesson of this reference to democratic structures. Christianity, which had an overwhelming majority of delegates, was clearly cast in the role of universal religion, a message also projected by the presence of Christian delegates from such far-flung outreaches as Africa, Japan, and India. Buddhism, alone or as part of the larger Oriental, non-Christian contingent, and in spite of its actual vast Asian following, was here cast as a minority party. The function of its delegates was principally to be present, validating the democratic principle of representation -- this was the World's Parliament after all -- and to illustrate the democratic respect for the right of minority groups to be heard.46

The equality implied by calling the event a "parliament" upset orthodox sections of the Christian community and forced Barrows to clarify the intentions behind his expansive rhetoric of brotherhood. The Anglican archbishop of Canterbury led the objection. He wrote refusing to participate on the grounds that he did not understand how the Christian religion, "which is the one religion," could be regarded as a member of a parliament of religions "without assuming the equality of the other intended members and the parity of their position and claims."47 In response Barrows explained that the term was certainly not intended to imply that the various religions were equal in doctrine or truth. Calling the event a "parliament" in no way compromised the Christian claim to superiority and unique revelation. It was only intended to guarantee the parliamentary privilege of equal right to speak and to present opinions. "There was no suggestion on the part of the Christian speakers that Christianity was to be thought of on the same level with other religions."48

In the most commonly reproduced photographs of the Parliament the Asian delegates appear as a handful of colorfully attired representatives contrasting with the sober, dark-suited Christians.49 Their prominent position at the center front of the stage makes the most of their presence, bestowing an impression of religious diversity. Barrows describes the "most picturesque and pleasing spectacle" of the gathering on stage and delights in the "colour and movement" of the Oriental delegates with their "many coloured raiment" and especially the "most gorgeous group," the Chinese and Japanese, "arrayed in costly silk vestments of all the colours of the rainbow."50 Consciously or not, the contrast among the Parliamentary delegates paralleled the planned contrast between the serious side of the fair, the White City, and the entertainment and amusement appeal of the Midway Plaisance.

The Invitation and the Limits of Tolerance

The Parliament, in the expansive terms of the call for papers, was to be a gathering of "the leading representatives of the great historic religions of the world, to show to man in the most impressive way, what and how many important truths the various religions hold and teach in common." It aimed to "promote and deepen the spirit of human brotherhood among religious men of diverse faiths, through friendly converse and mutual good understanding, while not seeking to foster the temper of indifferentism, and not striving to achieve any formal and outward unity."51 Letters of response to the idea suggest that this vision was considered disturbingly liberal by considerable segments of the society, those whom even Barrows disparagingly described as "good bigots who imagine that God will not cease working until he has made all men Presbyterians."52 But even the liberal view uncompromisingly placed Christianity at the pinnacle of evolutionary development that all other religions were destined to reach. In Barrows's words, "[I]t is not true that all religions are equally good; but neither is it true that all religions except one are no good at aIL" The invitation, for all its professions of mutual respect, was to come and be measured: "Christianity ... will assign to each its place in that work of evangelical preparation which the elder doctors discern in heathenism itself and which is not yet completed."53

Hierarchies of Race and the Light

Embedded here are the interrelated assumptions that there is but one God whose plan unfolds in the progress of the world, and his revelation is universal, but unequally bequeathed. "God hath not left himself without witness" was a constant refrain, elaborated on by metaphors of Light -- "the white light of Heaven," "the Light of Truth" -- all implying that other religions are but a dim reflection of the Christian Light of the World. Christianity was "the sun among candles." Christians who "have the full light of the Cross should bear brotherly hearts towards all those who grope in a dimmer illumination."54 The "twilight" state of others was variously explained. In Bonney's opening address we find that "God necessarily reveals himself differently to a child than to a man, to a philosopher than to one who cannot read." God gave two revelations, one in nature, which historically has been the preoccupation of the "Oriental" religions, and the higher revelation, the Christian revelation of the word.55 A scientifically expressed variation on the theme was overtly racist: the revelation was given equally to all but was "broken into many coloured fragments by the prisms of men." Non-Christian races were unable to perceive the truth or to hold on to its brilliance. The white light shone upon them was defracted into the many hues of partial truths, "gropings after God."56 One of the most frequently stated objects of the Parliament of Religions was to "change this many-coloured radiance back to the white light of heavenly truth."57

Acts 10:35 -- "God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is acceptable to Him" -- was also quoted with great enthusiasm as an example of Christian magnanimity and tolerance. It seems to have been forgotten that it was a reply to Peter's question of whether the Gentiles could receive the Holy Spirit and offers only that men of all races may be converted. It has nothing to say about Christian tolerance for other religions to exist. The liberal inspiration of the Parliament notwithstanding, it was a Christian event both in the proselytizing aspirations of people such as Barrows and in the unquestioned assumptions upon which it was based.

While Barrows quite understandably presented the Parliament as welcoming and attractive to non-Christian delegates in the official invitation intended for international distribution, in publications intended to circulate among Christians -- and in sermons before his congregation -- he was less guarded and spoke more specifically of the function of the Parliament in converting the world to Christianity. News of one such sermon reached Japan with serious consequences for the Japanese delegation. 58 Conservative Japanese already opposed to the idea of Buddhist participation at the Parliament were confirmed in their suspicions that the event was a Christian trap and that non-Christian religions, far from getting a fair hearing, would be used.59 Supporters of the delegation countered that such suspicions showed lack of confidence in Buddhism. They did concede that the circumstances of the Parliament, a Christian event held in a Christian country and controlled by a Christian chairman, were less than ideal, but that, properly managed, the benefits for Buddhism in Japan could be profound and that the risks were well worth taking.60

Barrows's sermon focused Buddhist rhetoric on the need to combat Christian imperialism. From the Japanese delegates' point of view, because Barrows had declared war, it was now possible to plead for support in terms of attack. The Parliament was an opportunity to "make the truth known and assail the evil teaching." Employing the rhetoric of Social Darwinism, they argued that Japan must send a delegation for the sake of Buddhism and for the sake of Japan. "The survival of the fittest is the general trend of society," they argued, and Japanese Buddhists had an obligation to the civilization of the future. Evolution of religion depended on competition between species, and among the world religions -- which they identified as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam -- Buddhism alone is a sufficiently different "species," the one world religion "entirely different from Christianity in nature, organization, doctrine and means of propagation." Therefore, they argued, "the racial contest is between yellow and white; the contest of religions is between Buddhism and Christianity,"61 After years of conflict and rivalry with Christians in Japan, Japanese Buddhists were not predisposed to take Barrows's protestations of brotherhood at face value.

Tolerance: Assimilation or Plurality?

The Theravada Buddhist delegate, Dharmapala, also expressed his suspicions of the Christian motive in inviting non-Christian delegates, admitting that he meditated for a year before deciding to attend. His opening address challenged the Parliament to match the tolerance of religious plurality, the tolerance demonstrated by the great Buddhist king Asoka "twenty-four centuries ago," recognizing and supporting the right of different religions to coexist. Experience of missionary attitudes in Asia warned delegates that this ideal of tolerance was unlikely to be what the organizers had in mind. Even liberal missionaries who showed respect for certain non-Christian religions held instead an ideal of assimilation in "fulfilment." Dharmapala offered only conditional approval: "[I]f you are serious, if you are unselfish, if you are altruistic," the Parliament would be a success, and Barrows would shine forth as the American Asoka.62

The problem was a fundamental one: acceptance of the possibility of different religions coexisting in mutual respect, rather than mere rhetorical generosity. The difference in Christian and Asian views, of assimilation versus plurality, became clear at the closing ceremony in the audience reaction to two speakers, both of whom spoke on the theme of tolerance and religious unity. The first was the Reverend George T. Candlin, an English missionary to China, who showed his own admiration and sympathy for China by dressing in Chinese clothes and, according to the Japanese delegate Shaku Soen, "speaking with such enthusiasm that foam flew from the corners of his mouth."63 Candlin was given an enthusiastic ovation. He encapsulated the liberal Christian project of considering non-Christian religions as partial revelations of the Christian truth, their followers children of a lesser light. Chicago's achievement, as he saw it, was that it had opened the way for a new period of missionary enterprise in Asia. Christianity, which was not achieving expected results in Asia, would henceforth succeed more rapidly by adopting a less confrontational approach, by overcoming the "conventional idea" that

Christianity is true and all other religions false; that Christianity is light, and other religions dark; that Christianity is of God, while other religions are of the devil, or else with a little more moderation that Christianity is by revelation from heaven while other religions are manufactures of men. You know better, and with clear light and strong assurance you can testify that there may be friendship instead of antagonism between religion and religion; that so surely as God is our common Father our hearts alike have yearned for him, and our souls in devoutest moods have caught whispers of grace dropped from his throne.64

Candlin was followed by the Indian Hindu speaker, Vivekananda, who also called for tolerance and brotherhood, but in terms of acceptance and coexistence rather than conversion. The lesson of the Parliament was, he claimed, that holiness and purity were not the exclusive possession of anyone faith. "Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity .... But if anyone here hopes that this unity would come by the triumph of anyone of these religions and the destruction of the others, to him I say, 'Brother, yours is an impossible hope: Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid .... The Christian is not to become a Hindu or Buddhist, nor a Hindu or Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the others yet preserve its individuality."65

As Barrows observed, Vivekananda was one of the most popular speakers at the Parliament, "but very little approval was shown to some of his sentiments expressed in his closing address."66 It was apparently acceptable that we all have one Father, that all religions are reflections of the one light (shining on different surfaces, fractured by the prisms of different minds), provided that the implications of this were not taken so seriously as to appear to validate the differences. All were ultimately to be subsumed in the One, and the Lord was ultimately to be called Jesus. The Christians in the audience showed by their disapproval that they understood only too clearly the implication of Vivekananda's quotation of Visnu's claim that whosoever makes offerings or prayers to any God makes them to him. For Candlin the tolerance of differences was a temporary stage on the road to ultimate conversion to Christianity as the universal religion. For him the Parliament heralded "a new era of missionary enterprise and missionary hope."67 For Vivekananda, plurality was a permanent and desirable condition.


Although the Christian intention of the Parliament is evident enough in the official records, when Barrows wrote about the event in 1897, outside the protocol of the official publication intended for international distribution, he summed up his vision of the Parliament's purpose even more directly: "Christianity should be choked down no man's throat, but ... all men should be invited to receive it for their own good, intelligently invited to an intelligent reception."68

The organizers of the Parliament were motivated by a dream of universal Christian supremacy that was to be achieved by bringing lesser beliefs to their fulfillment. In their view Christianity was already the perfect religion, and the point of the conference was to provide an opportunity for Eastern leaders to realize this. That their Asian colleagues might just as sincerely view the Parliament as an opportunity for the West to recognize the superiority of their religion was not conceivable.

Barrows entertained his Oriental visitors in the week before the Parliament by taking them to one of his Sunday services at the First Presbyterian Church of Chicago. Barrows reported that the Buddhist delegation, after witnessing two ceremonies of entry into Christianity, a baptism and the reception of three Chinese converts, "reverently listened to a sermon on 'Christ the Wonderful.'" "It appeared," to Barrows at least, "as if the Parliament had already opened beneath the splendor of the Cross."69 The opening ceremony of the Parliament began with the singing of Psalm 100, a hymn rejoicing in having dragged the heathen into court.

Before Jehovah's awful throne,
Ye nations bow with sacred joy,
Know that the Lord is God Alone,
He can create, and He destroy.70

Although this scarcely seems an appropriate choice of anthem for an event meant to encourage religious tolerance and reassure non-Christian delegates of open-minded reception, the reception and hospitality the Asian delegates received were more tolerant than they had expected.71 They had considerable experience with Christian attitudes, were forewarned of the possibility of Christian aggression, and came prepared to deal with it. Nevertheless, the attempt to make Japanese Buddhism acceptable and relevant in this North American Protestant Christian arena imposed certain determinants on its representation and consequently on Western knowledge of Japanese Buddhism.

-- Presenting Japanese Buddhism to the West: Orientalism, Occidentalism, and the Columbian Exposition, by Judith Snodgrass

That 'what Manchester thinks today the rest of the world thinks tomorrow' is a familiar enough saying to anyone who has spent time in the city. In the history of the Faculty of Theology over the past seventy-five years this extravagant claim might in some cases be difficult to support; not, however, in respect of Comparative Religion. In that field Manchester long occupied a position unique among British universities, not only in making a provision for the subject to be taught, but, more seriously, in making it an essential element in the training of aspiring Christian ministers. Before 1904, Comparative Religion had been incorporated into the curricula of only one or two theological colleges (for instance Mansfield and Manchester Colleges in Oxford) and had never previously been accepted by any British university. The setting up of the Manchester Chair was therefore a radical departure. But before we can begin to appreciate how radical it was, we must take a moment to inquire into the character and status of Comparative Religion in 1904, and the relationship in which it stood at that time to some of the wider issues and goals of Christian theology, since it was introduced not as an Arts subject (as had happened a few years earlier in Berlin) but as an arm of Christian theology. This is particularly necessary in the present case in view of changes in the climate of Academic opinion which have taken place since 1904. [2]

It is often said today that 'Comparative Religion' as a term has outlived its usefulness and ought to be replaced by other forms of words, such as 'Religious Studies' or 'the History of Religions'. And certainly, Manchester's is one of the few departments of Comparative Religion which have retained this form of words. There is all the more reason, then, to recall its original meaning.

'Comparative Religion' is of course a shortened form of 'the comparative study of religion', the aim of which was once described by L. H. Jordan as being '. . . to investigate and expound, through the competent comparison of data collected from the most diverse sources, the meaning and value of the several faiths of mankind'. /[3] The enterprise might equally be called 'the science of religion', as in Friedrich Max Muller's 1873 book Introduction to the Science of Religion (which might well be called the foundation document of the discipline), or its German equivalent Religionswissenschaft. It is important to remember that in these labels the word 'religion' stands in the singular, and not in the plural. It is equally important to note that the original intention of those who practised this new 'science' was not simply to study religion outside the borders of Christianity and its antecedents (a common assumption which, once made, has proved well nigh impossible to eradicate), but to study all the religions of the world, irrespective of time and place, as diverse and evolving manifestations of the religion of the world. The presuppositions of Comparative Religion were, as I have attempted to show in detail elsewhere, in large measure (though not exclusively) those of the Darwinian-Spencerian theory of evolution as applied to a particular area of human experience -- an intellectual position which from the first aroused the suspicions of conservative Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike. What this meant in practice was that Comparative Religion was welcomed by Liberal Protestants (and by a small number of Catholic Modernists), that is, by those for whom divine revelation was not restricted in principle to the deliverances of one single tradition.

What was at issue in the emergence of Comparative Religion was not whether it was a fit and proper thing to study the religions of the world other than Christianity. Many conservative Christians were prepared to do that, not least for missionary purposes. To take only one non-Mancunian example, in 1887 we find the noted Boden Professor of Sanskrit in the University of Oxford, Sir Monier Monier-Williams, telling an Exeter Hall audience to study 'non-Christian bibles', but to keep their heads in so doing. These bibles, he said, are

. . all developments in the wrong direction. They all begin with some flashes of true light, and end in utter darkness. Pile them, if you will, on the left side of your study table, but place your own Holy Bible on the right side -- all by itself -- all alone -- and with a wide gap between. [4]

The liberal mind saw things differently. To the liberal Christian, the new science of Comparative Religion enabled the student to view religion, not in the bare categories of 'true' and 'false', but on an ascending scale of human response to God's revelation of himself. All religion, therefore, is in a sense 'true' -- or at least relatively true, depending on the position it occupies on a scale of developing awareness and refinement. The highest point of this development might lie outside the commonly accepted sphere of religion altogether, in agnosticism or in science; but the liberal Christian was convinced on the one hand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was the point toward which the development was moving, and on the other that the highest point could only be rightly appreciated by those who had taken the trouble to study the world of the religions in all their infinite variety. In the words of James Hope Moulton:

Our new science [Comparative Religion) enables us to write a new chapter of the Praeparatio Evangelica. We have learnt from physical science the general formula of evolution as describing what we know of the Creator's method in the material world. Research is yearly modifying what science understands by the formula; but that does not concern us, as the central principle does not change. We have seen this principle of evolution applied successively to other departments of knowledge and to human institutions. . . . Is it not reasonable to expect that if evolution is a good enough method for God to employ everywhere else, it will be good enough for Him in the crown of all His work? Not by objective, external, authoritative voices, compelling an unintelligent assent, will He speak to those whom He created in His own image. . . All things have reached their present condition by evolutionary process; but God has been as vitally present throughout that process as He was in the framing of the evolutionary Law. [5]

The same apologetical principle was stated in 1909 by J. N. Farquhar (who came to Manchester in 1923) in these words: Each religion

. . . contains a partial revelation of God's will, but each is incomplete; and He comes to fulfil them all. In each case Christianity seeks not to destroy but to take all that is right and raise it to perfection. Christianity is the full, final truth, towards which every religion has been straining. [6]

Statements such as these would be unlikely to win much support in our present climate of opinion. But they certainly provided the department of Comparative Religion with its initial ideology. It is important that we remember this, and also that we recognize that by this means, Christian theology and wide and (within certain limits) dispassionate study of non-Christian texts and monuments could be, and were, brought together under the same conceptual canopy.

Leaving further background matters aside, in 1904 Manchester 'alone among the modern Universities of England' had attained to a maturity and a completeness of equipment worthy of a great industrial centre. [7] The John Rylands Library had been inaugurated in October 1899, with an inaugural address delivered by A. M. Fairbairn [8] of Mansfield College, Oxford (a man, incidentally, who as well as being a friend of Max Muller and A. S. Peake, was an early advocate of Comparative Religion in England). Its collections already contained a vast range of printed and manuscript material relative to the religions of the world. [9] Its celebrated Bulletin (which commenced publication in April 1903) was destined to serve as a forum for a great deal of Comparative Religion material, and many notable Manchester publications in the field were first given to the public as library lectures. The Council of the Library included, as 'Co-optative Governors', James Hope Moulton and Arthur Samuel Peake, and it is to their contribution, particularly to that of Moulton, that we must now turn.

Not having had access to the records, I have not been able to trace the negotiations which preceded the establishment of the Chair of Comparative Religion, but it is clear that the presence in Manchester of Moulton and Peake was of importance. [10] Neither was of course a comparative religionist in the professional sense: Moulton came to Manchester from Cambridge in 1902 as a tutor at Didsbury College (Wesleyan Methodist) and was appointed six years later Greenwood Professor of Hellenistic Greek and Indo-European Philology in the University; Peake had come from Mansfield College, Oxford ten years earlier, in 1892, to a similar position at Hartley College (Primitive Methodist) and became in 1904 the University's first Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis. Both were New Testament scholars primarily, though Moulton was more the philologist and Peake more the exegete. There were good reasons why both men should have been well aware of the importance of comparative work outside the boundaries of their discipline.

These were the years of the Religionsgeschichtliche Schule -- that body of scholars, mainly in Germany, who sought to elucidate the meaning of the Bible, and particularly the New Testament, by assiduous study of the religious conditions of the Hellenistic world. Advances in scholarship were making this enterprise more and more feasible for every year that passed. First one area, then another, came to the forefront of critical study. At the turn of the century the foci of attention were Mesopotamia in Old Testament studies, and Egypt (thanks to the emergence of papyrology) in New Testament studies. Yet another stimulus to background studies had come through the discipline of comparative Indo-European philology. It was not too difficult for scholars trained in the Greek and Latin classics to broaden their philological competence in the direction of Sanskrit, Avestan and other Indo-European languages; there were important reasons why at least some biblical scholars should wish to do so. For two centuries, down to the time of Alexander the Great in the 330s BC, Judaea had been part of the Persian Empire, and it was beginning to be suggested that in some areas at least, notably that of the apocalyptic literature, the Old Testament (and hence indirectly the New) might have been influenced from Iranian sources. No one, though, could be quite sure without subjecting the Old Iranian material to a thorough analysis. This Moulton had set himself to do long before coming to Manchester.

Iranian studies were, however, already represented in Manchester in the distinguished person of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Salford, Louis Charles Casartelli (1852-1925) [11] a Mancunian by birth who had become an Orientalist while studying under de Harlez (translator of the Avesta) at Louvain. In 1884 Casartelli had presented for his Louvain doctorate a dissertation in French entitled La Philosophie Religieuse du Mazdeisme sous les Sassanides. This was later translated into English by the son of the Parsi High Priest in Bombay, Firoz Jamaspji Dastur Jamasp Asa, and published in Bombay in 1889 as The Philosophy of the Mazdayasnian Religion under the Sassanids. In the meantime he had also published Dinkard: Traite de Medecine Mazdeene traduit du Pehlevi (1886), and he subsequently contributed a number of articles to James Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics. In 1961 R. C. Zaehner called Casartelli's dissertation 'unique in its time', and compared it favourably with Soderblom's later work in the same area. [12]

Moulton had begun his Avestan studies in his Cambridge days under 'that prince of Christian orientalists', [13] Professor E. B. Cowell, while an Assistant at the Leys School. Already in the late 1880s and early 1890s he was giving lectures to various Cambridge audiences on aspects of Zoroastrianism; and during his Manchester period he developed into Britain's most outstanding scholar in this fairly novel area, while gaining international recognition for his work on the language of the New Testament. While still in Cambridge, Moulton had struck up a firm friendship with the celebrated anthropologist James George Frazer, and in 1904 we find him writing to A. S. Peake: 'I was, of course, a comparative philologist at Cambridge, a classic mostly for teaching purposes, a NT student from the grammar side. . . , and a Zendist as a philologue originally, finally a disciple of Frazer from the growing taste for comparative religion. . . ' [14]

The link with Frazer is worth a special mention, not least since it was through the successive editions of The Golden Bough that the Western world was familiarized with the methods of Comparative Religion on its anthropological side. When the Manchester chair of Comparative Religion was established, Frazer was in fact approached with a view to becoming its first incumbent. Frazer clearly felt the attractions of Manchester, but in the end declined the invitation. On 10 April 1904 he wrote to Moulton:

As to Manchester, . . . I was asked whether I should be willing to accept the chair of Comparative Religion if it were offered to me, and I said I might do so on certain conditions. But I am in two minds about it. I have begun to doubt whether, with my views on religion in general and Christianity in particular, it would be right for me to accept a teaching post in a Theological Faculty instituted by Christians for Christians, in particular for men training for the Christian ministry. . . . I have grave doubts whether I can do so. The case would be quite different if the chair were established independently of any Theological Faculty. . . . [15]

Today we can but speculate as to the course which Comparative Religion in Manchester might have taken if Frazer's scruples had been overcome.

Moulton was in every way an outstanding scholar. Jordan once wrote of him: 'His equipment is so ample, his temper so imperturbable, and his judgment so evenly poised, that many today accept his leadership absolutely without question.' [16] Of his work for Comparative Religion, special mention must be made of his researches into the religion of ancient Iran and particularly his books Early Religious Poetry of Persia (1911), his Hibbert Lectures Early Zoroastrianism (1913), and The Treasure of the Magi (published posthumously, 1917). He also wrote the articles 'Fravashi', 'Iranians' and 'Magi' for the Hastings' Encyclopaedia. The present writer is in no way qualified to pronounce on the scholarly quality of these books but they exercised a profound influence in their day. It is, incidentally, interesting to note that it was also as a result of reading an early Moulton article that Nathan Soderblom of Uppsala, another outstanding comparative religionist and theologian, was first turned in the direction of Iranian studies. [17]

But Moulton was also a Christian theologian and apologist, who characteristically looked upon the Iranian religious experience as a praeparatio evangelica, though always to be considered with sympathy and with the most scrupulous accuracy of scholarship. In 1913 he published, as the 43rd Fernley Lecture, Religions and Religion, subtitled 'a study of the science of religion, pure and applied', in which his methodological position is stated with great clarity. This book has a great deal to say about Comparative Religion, but always under the aspect of Christian apologetics, and virtually summarizes all the liberal theological concerns of the pre-war period -- which may fairly be supposed to have dominated the early years of the Manchester Faculty. Written in the first place for Wesleyan missionaries by one who '. . . is convinced that in his own faith he holds the key to the world's spiritual history, and in that conviction can afford to look with sympathy and understanding upon all the struggles of man towards God . . .' [18] it is less specialized than his Iranian work; but the theological emphasis is the same, that of the 'fulfilment school' of Liberal Protestantism. [19]

Thanks to his Zoroastrian studies, Moulton had become known to the Parsi community in India, and in 1916 he accepted an invitation from J. N. Farquhar, then Literature Secretary of the YMCA in India and subsequently Professor of Comparative Religion in Manchester, to undertake a lecture and study tour in India, partly among the Parsis. On his return journey, in April 1917, Moulton's ship was torpedoed in the Mediterranean. He was rescued, but died of exposure in a lifeboat. The Librarian of the John Rylands Library, Dr Henry Guppy, recorded that Moulton 'fell a victim to the pitiless barbarity of the Germans'. [20] More moderately, but in a similar tone, A. S. Peake wrote that '. . . none of us can miss the tragic irony in his death that he who loved peace and laboured for it, who had desired friendship with Germany and whose work was appreciated by none more highly than by German scholars, should have been sent to his premature death by a German submarine'. [21]

Returning now to 1904, attempts to secure the services of Frazer having finally failed, the new chair in Comparative Religion was offered to, and accepted by, a far different man, the Orientalist Thomas William Rhys Davids (1843-1922). [22] The son of a Congregational minister, Rhys Davids had studied Sanskrit at Breslau before joining the Ceylon Civil Service in 1866. There he learned Pali, the sacred language of Theravada Buddhism, and in 1877, after leaving Ceylon, he began his publishing career with Ancient Coins and Measures of Ceylon. In 1878 there came his popular handbook Buddhism, which by 1937 had seen twenty-three editions; subsequent years saw a stream of books, articles and (particularly) translations from the Pali flow from his pen. In 1881 he was instrumental in founding the Pali Text Society. In 1903 there appeared his Buddhist India, and in 1908 Early Buddhism. In 1915, when he was over seventy years old, he resigned from the Manchester chair to be able to devote the whole of his remaining years to a Pali Dictionary, of which the first two volumes were published in 1921 and 1922, the third appearing after his death, in 1925.

In 1894 Rhys Davids married Caroline Augusta Foley, who, as Mrs Rhys Davids, became as celebrated a scholar in the area of Buddhism as was her husband. She too lectured at Manchester. As well as numerous articles, many of them collected in the three volumes of Wayfarer's Words (1941), and translations, she produced for the Home University Library a short handbook, Buddhism (n.d.) which has still not outlived its usefulness.

The Rhys Davids family partnership did not make of Comparative Religion at Manchester what a Frazer (or for that matter a Moulton) might have made of it; but together they rendered an enormously valuable service to Buddhist studies in the West. G. R. Welbon, in his book The Buddhist Nirvana and its Western Interpreters (1968), had devoted a chapter to The Rhys Davidses; and although he is concerned with only one subject, their interpretation of Nirvana, he does give us a more general evaluation in which one cannot altogether avoid the impression that Mrs Rhys Davids comes out rather better than her husband. His general conclusion seems to be that while Rhys Davids provided Pali scholarship with many of its tools, Mrs Rhys Davids used them more skilfully. He writes:

The present generation of Buddhist scholars -- those in India and Japan as well as Europe and the United States -- has learned much from Mrs Rhys Davids. We no longer 'read our Buddhist scriptures like Fundamentalists'. Neat attempts to package the teachings of earliest Buddhism within the confines of a few terse pages are no longer considered possible. To the extent, then, that she focused attention on the history and change in the Pali Canon, to the extent that she has made sophisticated textual criticism -- higher and lower -- an indispensable aspect of Buddhist studies, she has indeed won her battle with the 'little books on Buddhism'. [23]

This is not to say, however, that we should belittle Rhys Davids' own efforts. Beginning in the 1880s, Buddhism had been patronized by the Theosophists, particularly in Ceylon. Amid their eccentricities, the Theosophists had no notion that critical questions even needed to be asked, much less how they were to be answered. It is to Rhys Davids' lasting credit that through the medium of the Pali Text Society, he provided subsequent generations of scholars with the linguistic and textual tools with which to work, and helped rescue Buddhist studies from the extravagances of the Olcotts, the Sinnetts and the Leadbeaters.

Following Rhys Davids' retirement in 1915, and bearing in mind the pressures of the war years, it was not found possible to fill the chair immediately. When the war was over a Reader was appointed to carry on the work. The Reader in question was W. J. Perry, who held his post until 1923; but before we can speak of Perry's contribution, a slight digression will be necessary.

From 1909 until 1919, the Chair of Anatomy at Manchester was held by a most unusual man, an expatriate Australian, Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937). [24] Of his brilliance in his own specialist area there can be no doubt. His impact on the teaching of anatomy at Manchester has been described as 'swift and revolutionary', [25] and even Glyn Daniel (who otherwise is scathing in his criticism of Elliot Smith) has recorded that 'at Manchester.. . he proved himself as a great anatomist, teacher and administrator.' [26] Before coming to Manchester he had been Professor of Anatomy at the Government Medical School in Egypt. While there he had become fascinated by the phenomenon of mummification and by other aspects of ancient Egyptian civilization. Gradually he had developed a comprehensive theory that all human culture worthy of the name had originated in Egypt, whence it had spread, by a process of diffusion, throughout the world, even as far afield as India, China, Japan and the Americas. [27] This theory (commonly characterized as 'hyper-diffusionist') -- which explicitly contradicted the Darwinian-Spencerian hypothesis of unilinear evolution -- he was keen to expound at every opportunity. He lectured frequently at the John Rylands Library. Many of his researches were first presented in the pages of the Rylands Bulletin, before becoming his well-known books (in their day) The Ancient Egyptians and the Origins of Civilization (1911), Migrations of Early Culture (1915), The Evolution of the Dragon (1919) and many more. On a somewhat different level, Elliot Smith was one of the anthropologists involved in the Piltdown controversy and at least one recent investigator was disposed to believe Smith to have been the ultimate practical joker: 'Somehow the whole affair reeks of Smith', wrote Ronald Millar before the final revelations came to light. [28]

Between Elliot Smith and W. J. Perry there existed such a degree of fellow-feeling that it is genuinely difficult to tell where the work of one ends and that of the other begins. As early as 1915 Perry had contributed to the Manchester meeting of the British Association, a paper on 'The Geographical Distribution of Megalithic Monuments and Ancient Mines', and in a footnote to one of Elliot Smith's Rylands Lectures, the anatomist records: 'Although I am wholly responsible for the form of this address, a great deal of the information made use of was collected by Mr Perry, and most of the rest emerged in the course of repeated conversations with him.' [29]

Perhaps Elliot Smith was the master, Perry the disciple -- at least in the eyes of the world. But certainly Perry did much, if not most, of the primary research and inevitably Comparative Religion at Manchester during Perry's incumbency was strongly coloured by 'diffusionism'.
Perry produced three books, The Children of the Sun (1923), The Origins of Magic and Religion (1923) and The Growth of Civilization (1924). Their thesis was similarly pan-Egyptian:

All the known evidence goes to show that the other early communities of the Ancient East derived their culture, directly or indirectly, from Egypt of the pre-dynastic or early dynastic age. It is impossible to produce any solid body of evidence to show that any other community had influenced the culture of Egypt in those times to any appreciable degree. [30]

So it was the Egyptians who had elaborated ideas on life after death; the Egyptians were responsible for the megaliths of Western Europe and the 'pyramids' of pre-Columbian America; all over the world the Egyptians, driven by their insatiable quest for gold, had left deposits of their culture. To this rule religion was no exception. Today diffusionism of this kind is treated with scorn by anthropologists and archaeologists alike. One of its harshest critics, Glyn Daniel, has characterized it as 'this pan-Egyptian diffusionist delusion'. [31] Its chief merit appears to have been (like the proto-astronaut theories of von Daniken half a century later) its massive simplicity. But it was part of the Manchester scene in the desperate years following the First World War: and it left a deeper mark than many would now be happy to acknowledge. In 1924 Perry followed Elliot Smith to London. His seminars (by now under the label of 'cultural anthropology'), as well as teaching many 'orthodox' anthropologists, provided at least some of the initial ideology out of which the British branch of the 'myth and ritual school' was subsequently to emerge, even though the focus of attention had in the meantime shifted from Egypt to Mesopotamia. Bearing this in mind, it was not unfitting that what now appears to have been the final flourish of the school in Britain should have been a series of lectures on Myth, Ritual and Kingship, delivered in Manchester in 1955 and 1956 under the joint auspices of the Departments of Near Eastern Studies and Comparative Religion. I shall return to these lectures later.

On Perry's departure for London, the question arose of once more filling the chair in Comparative Religion which had to all intents and purposes been vacant since Rhys Davids' retirement. Thanks to the good offices of A. S. Peake, it was filled in 1923 by a Scottish ex-missionary, John Nicol Farquhar (1861-1929), who had been working in India since 1891, first under the auspices of the London Missionary Society and subsequently as a YMCA Secretary, though for some years he had been dividing his time between India and Oxford. [32] Farquhar was undoubtedly the outstanding British missionary Orientalist of his generation. His books included Gita and Gospel (1903), A Primer of Hinduism (1911), The Crown of Hinduism (1913), Modern Religious Movements in India (1914) and An Introduction to the Religious Literature of India (1920), while as an editor he had been responsible for steering through the press a vast range of standard works on all aspects of Indian religion and culture. [33] He was also a close personal friend of both Peake (whom he had known as a student at Oxford) and Moulton (who he had invited to India, along with T. R. Glover, as a lecturer during the war).

Farquhar's retirement from active work in India had been brought about partly by failing health; and during his six years in Manchester, from 1923 to 1929, he was to publish relatively little. But to the Bulletin he contributed three articles, two on the ancient tradition linking the Apostle Thomas to India, [34] and the third -- a piece of pioneering research -- entitled The Fighting Ascetics of India', in which he looked historically at the phenomenon of 'militant Hinduism' and at the existence of orders of initiated fighting sannyasins. [35] This work, which is not without certain political implications, deserves to be far better known than it is. Otherwise, Farquhar devoted his diminishing energies mainly to his teaching, which was by no means limited to the Indian material. He was a Christian of warm Liberal Protestant convictions and during his time the work of the department, while retaining its emphasis on sound historical and textual scholarship, returned to the position as part of the Faculty of Theology which had originally been envisaged for it.

A useful indication of the strength of Manchester scholarship in the wider field of the study of religion is provided by the twelve volumes of James Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (1908-21, Index Volume 1926). To this outstanding enterprise, Manchester scholars made a notable contribution. Not all of these were, of course, comparative religionists, but the total effect was very impressive. The Encyclopaedia contains articles by Moulton, Peake, the Rhys Davidses (some sixty between them), Casartelli and Farquhar; while a total survey shows it to include over two hundred and thirty articles by twenty-six scholars having some link with the University of Manchester.

During the 1930s the field of Comparative Religion was beginning to enter upon a very difficult period. The generally optimistic evolutionism which had been such an important characteristic of its earliest years had suffered a body-blow at the time of the First World War. Advances on the scholarly front were such as to make the works of grand synthesis (such as Frazer's The Golden Bough) less and less practicable for every year that passed. Instead, an increasing number of scholars were retreating into the sheltered world of limited monographs. Theologically, the old-style apologetics was crumbling under the onslaught of the Barthians and their 'Neo-Orthodox' relatives, and it was no longer clear that the study of the religions of the world would have a great deal to contribute to the final result, either for or against Christianity. In a sense, Comparative Religion remained a popular subject but its scholarly standards were in decline. New departures in parallel fields such as philosophy, phenomenology, psychology, anthropology and sociology were beginning to play havoc with some well-established conclusions and methods. [36] Academic subjects and syllabuses, however, sometimes have a curious self-perpetuating quality and are not easily altered. Between 1930 and 1950 none but the most sanguine would want to claim that the subject was moving with the times. It was not. The chair was occupied successively by the Revd John Murphy (1930-41), the Revd Laurence Edward Browne (1941-6) and the Revd Frederick Harold Smith (1943-51).

Concerning these three incumbents I must be brief, though I should not wish conciseness to be interpreted as implying any lack of acknowledgement of their work on behalf of either the University or the discipline of Comparative Religion. John Murphy was a theoretical anthropologist in the generally Frazerian tradition, who had spent most of his career as a working Congregational minister, and who published three books, Primitive Man: his Essential Quest (1927), Lamps of Anthropology (1943) and The Origins and History of Religions (1949). Browne, like Farquhar, had been a missionary in India, having served for a period on the staff of the Henry Martyn School of Islamic Studies in Lahore. His publications dated back to 1913 and a Hulsean Prize Essay entitled The Parables of the Gospels in the Light of Modern Criticism. Subsequently he had published much solid and valuable work in the area of the encounter of Christianity and Islam, including The Great Moslem Wall -- the Problem of Missions to Moslems (1931), The Eclipse of Christianity in Asia (1933, reprinted as recently as in 1967), The Prospects of Islam (1944), and a series of Hulsean Lectures entitled The Quickening Word: a Theological Answer to the Challenge of Islam (1955). Browne's period was the only time during which Islamic studies played any real part in the department's work; but he was in Manchester for only five years, crossing the Pennines in 1946 to become Professor of Theology in Leeds. However, he returned to Manchester in connection with the Faculty of Theology's fiftieth anniversary in 1954 to deliver a lecture entitled 'The Value of the Comparative Study of Religion'. [37]
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This lecture is a theological, rather than a methodological, statement, emphasizing as it does that the 'scientific' study of religions must not be allowed to obscure the claims of the various religions to be the repositories of absolute truth in the realm of the spirit. He raises the question of academic objectivity, only to dismiss it in a phrase, 'In the comparative study of religions,' he writes, 'one must begin with the openness of mind which is prepared to find truth in any quarter. But there is no compulsion to find truth everywhere, or to shut one's eyes to falsehood and error'. [38] And, after passing in review some conflicting religious doctrines, he concludes that in his travels, he has seen a great deal of the world of religions in action, and has reached certain conclusions:

I have seen the beauty of holiness, the love of truth, and self-sacrificing devotion. There is only one religion to which these beauties are indissolubly linked. The other religions, by their failures, by their seekings, and by their near misses, seem to point to that one. That religion shows the way that God indwells the human soul and imparts his character. Yes, I am still a Christian. It is the best religion that I have met so far. [39]

Moulton and Farquhar would surely have concurred. Concerning Smith I can record only that he published four books, Outline of Hinduism (1934), The Elements of Comparative Theology (1937), The Comparative Study of Religions (1948) and The Buddhist Way of Life (1951).

It is perhaps unsafe to generalize on a period for which I have found information sparse, but it does seem clear that during the 1930s and 1940s Comparative Religion continued to maintain its position at Manchester largely as a scholarly arm of Christian apologetics.
Of the three professors since Farquhar, Browne was evidently the most accomplished scholar, while Murphy followed a line similar to that of E. O. James, and Smith was -- or appears to have been -- a straightforward expositor without being in any way original. But for my inevitable lack of perspective on this time of transition I can do little save to refer regretfully to 'the tyranny of distance'.

For twenty years, from 1951 to his untimely death in 1971, the chair of Comparative Religion was occupied by Samuel George Frederick Brandon. During this time the whole subject passed through a period of extraordinary change. From being a secluded and insignificant backwater of academic life, it became a focus of popular concern, not least among students. I shall return to this question shortly.

A Mirfield-trained Anglican priest who had served throughout the Second World War as an army chaplain, Brandon was appointed to the Manchester chair not on the strength of his previous experience as a university teacher (he had none) but as a pupil of E. O. James and as the writer of two books which appeared more or less simultaneously in 1951, Time and Mankind and The Fall of Jerusalem and the Christian church. [40] In the first of these he had launched the theory that man's sense of religion was bound up from the first with his consciousness of the time-process; in the second he had explored the significance of the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in AD 70 for the subsequent history of Christianity in the Roman Empire. To the end of his career he had these two strings to his scholarly bow, and in both areas his work was stimulating but at the same time controversial. In writing about time he was hampered by his relative indifference to questions of philosophy and psychology from taking his investigations very far beyond the historical facts as he had learned them. In the area of Christian origins he was to become a highly controversial figure, accused by some of a wilful misreading of historical evidence and by others of advocating violent revolution in the name of the Jesus Christ whom most still revered as 'the heaven-born prince of peace'. The publication of his two later books Jesus and the Zealots (1967), and The Trial of Jesus of Nazareth (1969), coming as they did at a highly volatile time in Western religious history, in fact brought Brandon international recognition bordering on an unwelcome notoriety; but they did not fall strictly within the orbit of what he, or the Faculty, understood by Comparative Religion, and must on this occasion be regretfully left on one side. [41]

Brandon's comparative religion began by being conventional in its approach, following a well-worn path through Palaeolithic religion, by way of the Mesopotamian and Egyptian material (he was well read in the Egyptian sources, though scarcely a professional Egyptologist), to Judaism and early Christianity, with some side glances at India and the Far East. Substantially the same approach is to be found in all his major writings in this area. Time and Mankind, as I have said, appeared in 1951. It was followed by his Oxford Wilde Lectures Man and his Destiny in the Great Religions (1962), Creation Legends of the Ancient Near East (1963), The judgment of the Dead (1967), History, Time and Deity (virtually a re-written version of Time and Mankind) (1965) and Religion in Ancient History (1969).

In all these books the overriding theme is 'change and decay', the inexorable passage of time, death, judgment and the future life. With the centrality of this theme in the history of religion no one would want to quarrel. The contrast between mortal man and the immortals who hold man's destiny in their hand is always there, in however many forms. And yet, though always thought-provoking, there was something slightly disappointing about Brandon's work in this area, perhaps because he always stopped too soon. Everything in religion that had happened since the European Middle Ages he tended to see as being decadent and artificial, and he was therefore unable to give very much serious attention to the religious world around him. Insisting that religions can only be understood with reference to their earliest beginnings, he failed to recognize the principles of change and continuity in religious traditions. Consequently, when the sudden upsurge of interest in Comparative Religion of which we have spoken took place in the early 1960s, Brandon (along with many others), whilst welcoming it, was somewhat at a loss to know either why it had happened or what was to be done to deal with it.

But this is to anticipate. In the 1950s the transition from Comparative Religion as a largely historical science to Comparative Religion as a matter of present-day behavioural observation had hardly even begun to take place on the university level, while internationally one notable focus of historical interest was in 'the sacral kingship'. Here we must return briefly to the 'diffusionism' of Elliot Smith and Perry. From Perry, a line of inquiry had spread into the larger area of Ancient Near Eastern studies, centred on the relationship between myth and ritual, and on the role of the kingship in maintaining the 'myth and ritual' pattern. Best known in its Scandinavian form, in the work of such scholars as the Norwegian Sigmund Mowinckel and the Swedes Ivan Engnell and Geo Widengren, the British representatives of the 'myth and ritual school' had for twenty years been pursuing an independent line, partly for reasons connected with the diffusionist theory. [42]

The most notable early British publications in this field had been A. M. Hocart's two books Kingship (1927) and Kings and Councillors (1936) and E. O. James' Christian Myth and Ritual (1933). Also in 1933 Professor M. A. Canney of Manchester (Semitic Languages and Literatures) had published a paper in which he had argued that in the Ancient Near East generally kings were thought of as divine, and that even in Israel the king was 'virtually an incarnation of the deity'. [43] H. H. Rowley has, in fact, said that 'In 1933 Manchester was as deeply involved in the ideas of the so-called "school" as any of its members, either then or later, whether in this country or Scandinavia'. [44]

The two books (or rather symposia) by which the British wing of the 'myth and ritual school' was chiefly identified were both edited by S. H. Hooke. Myth and Ritual appeared in 1933, The Labyrinth in 1935. Twenty years later it was time for a return to Manchester. In 1955 and 1956 I was one of those who attended the Cissie R. Blundell Memorial Lectures on Myth, Ritual and Kingship (published in 1958, also edited by Hooke). Seven of the nine lectures were delivered by British scholars, though only two (H. H. Rowley on 'Ritual and the Hebrew Prophets' and S. G. F. Brandon on 'The Myth and Ritual Position Critically Considered') were by Manchester men. Though it would be tempting to examine Brandon's criticism in some detail, I shall not do so, except to note that he scented Christian apologetics of a 'priestly' kind in some of the work of the school, which he evidently did not greatly appreciate. [45] For my part, I should be disposed to ask in addition whether there might not also have been a certain element of politics involved in the work of the school as a whole -- politics of the right rather than the left -- though this is a question on which I do not propose to elaborate.

It is at all events noteworthy that in the late 1950s we should find Manchester's Professor of Comparative Religion expressing his suspicion of Christian apologetics. Brandon, though he was still in Anglican orders, most emphatically did not see the chair as Farquhar or Browne would have seen it. His position was that of the impartial historical investigator. Others might question his impartiality but certainly he was never as much as tempted to turn any of the evidence he uncovered in a Christian direction. His bias -- if bias he had -- was in the opposite direction, though he maintained the most cordial professional relations with his theological colleagues, and on his death the memorial oration was delivered by Professor F. F. Bruce, whose evangelical credentials were and are impeccable.

To return now to the developments of the 1960s, before about 1960 (though I do not have any statistics) classes in Comparative Religion were still made up almost entirely of theological students, depressingly few of whom had any real interest in the subject. By 1966 the size of classes had increased dramatically. New student generations were pursuing their individual religious quests along unconventional lines, in which the study of the exotic wisdom that Comparative Religion seemed to offer often played a part. In this new climate of opinion, the old notion of Comparative Religion as an arm of Christian apologetics was forgotten. Ancient religions were to be studied for the sake of the timeless wisdom they enshrined; but, more importantly, 'the wisdom of the East' was now a living option to many young people who were growing progressively alienated from the roots of their own tradition.

Brandon did his best to cope with this new development but characteristically chose to do so by attempting to provide scholarly information in a more readily assimilable form. He planned, and wrote a great deal of, A Dictionary of Comparative Religion (1970), but this was not an outstanding success, being uneven in quality and too short for its purpose. He wrote regularly for History Today and Horizon, and on the most popular of popular levels he was deeply involved in the planning and writing of that extraordinary weekly encyclopaedia Man, Myth and Magic, which without his advice would certainly have been even more eccentric than it finally turned out to be. And in the last years of his active career, having reached the conviction that the study of iconography is of the utmost importance to the student of Comparative Religion, he had launched a new course in religious iconography as part of the department's offerings -- an elegant byproduct of which was his last book, Man and God in Art and Ritual (1974). This appeared in New York, was for some reason rapidly remaindered, and is now something of a collector's item. The admirable motivation for this work he expressed in the words:

For if the first charge upon a scholar is to further knowledge in his own particular field, his second duty is to disseminate that knowledge... The task of presenting his subject in an interesting and non-technical manner to this wider public [of 'intelligent layfolk'] is... the duty of the scholar... [46]

In 1970 Brandon was elected Secretary-General of the International Association for the History of Religions, a mark of the esteem in which he was by this time held as an 'elder statesman' in Comparative Religion. He hoped that the Association's 1975 Congress would come to Manchester and had begun to work to that end. But it was not to be. In 1971 he died, wholly unexpectedly, as the result of an infection contracted in Egypt. The 1975 Congress had to be moved to the University of Lancaster, while a planned Festschrift, Man and his Salvation (ed. Sharpe and Hinnells, 1973) became a memorial volume.

On Brandon's death the chair in Comparative Religion passed (in 1973) to Trevor O. Ling, a specialist in Buddhism who at that time held a personal chair at the University of Leeds. He had previously published four books, The Significance of Satan (1961), Buddhism and the Mythology of Evil (1962), Buddha, Marx and God (1966) and A History of Religion East and West (1968), and in 1973 he added to these (as part of a series which had been planned by Brandon) The Buddha -- dedicated, incidentally, to Indira Gandhi. In his Leeds inaugural lecture, Ling had shown the extent to which he had already broken away from the notion of studies of religion carried out by remote control, so to speak, on the basis of translated texts studied from a safe distance. Writing on 'Max Weber in India', he suggested that his achievements notwithstanding, Weber could hardly have written as he did, had he actually studied the social conditions of India at first hand. [47] This criticism extended by implication to many comparative religionists, quite apart from their frequent, and in Ling's opinion unwarranted, preoccupation with matters of Christian apologetics. In the introduction to his 1968 text-book, he had firmly excluded Christian theology from the Comparative Religion picture and had put forward arguments for re-defining the discipline as 'the philosophy and sociology of religion' (this at a time when the tendency internationally was to refer to it as 'the history and phenomenology of religion'), while indicating his personal preference for sociological method. [48] Subsequently Ling's work was to move more and more in a sociological direction methodologically and in the direction of Bengal geographically. In a one-man department, this might have been a serious narrowing of the frontiers of research; as it was, this infusion of sociological expertise added a dimension to Comparative Religion which was badly needed as a corrective.

By this time, however, the Manchester department was no longer dependent on the abilities and interests of a single professor, and I must take a moment to refer to the work of some of its other staff members.

The first full-time lecturer to become a member of the department had been appointed in 1953 in the person of D. Howard Smith. He had been for many years a missionary in China and lectured with evident delight on the curiously-named subject of 'Chinese Cults and Philosophies' as well as on Hinduism and Buddhism. During this time at Manchester, Smith did not publish extensively but after his retirement in 1966 he wrote in rapid succession two notable books, Chinese Religions (1968) and Confucius (1973). Both of them were extremely well received by reviewers and immediately became standard works in their area. He was also responsible for all the Chinese material in Brandon's Dictionary.

By 1966 the one lectureship had been extended to two. An unsuccessful attempt was made to appoint a Sinologist to carry on Smith's work after his retirement. In the event, however, the posts were filled by the present writer, a former student of Brandon's who had spent the period from 1958 to 1965 in the University of Uppsala, Sweden, working under Professors Geo Widengren, Carl-Martin Edsman and Bengt Sundkler, and had written a doctoral dissertation, Not to Destroy but to Fulfil (published in 1965) on the work in India of J. N. Farquhar; and the Revd D. N. de L. Young, who had become a specialist on Buddhism during his time as a missionary in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Neither was to remain at Manchester for very long. In 1970 both left, the former moving to Lancaster, and subsequently Sydney, while Young returned to the Church; less than a decade later he is now Bishop of Ripon.

If I may be allowed for a moment to indulge in some personal reminiscences, my chief memories of the 1966-70 period at Manchester are of hectic activity in a field which had suddenly become extraordinarily popular. The Department now seemed to belong in spirit rather more to the Faculty of Arts than to the Faculty of Theology, partly since numbers of Christian ordinands were declining and there had been a great influx of students from the Arts Faculty. Professor Brandon's name was in process of becoming a household word due not least to coverage in the popular press (and particularly in Time and Newsweek) of his book Jesus and the Zealots. Visitors to the Department included the eccentric American Bishop James Pike, apparently bent on worshipping at the Brandon shrine.
These were the days when the Dictionary of Comparative Religion and Man, Myth and Magic were being produced, and I for one was kept busy meeting one deadline after another. Apart from these aeuvres de vulgarisation, I succeeded during those four years in producing only one moderately scholarly paper, 'Nathan Soderblom and the Study of Religion', in Religious Studies (1969). But it was as a result of having to teach the history of Comparative Religion to students that I began to write a book which later appeared as Comparative Religion: a History (1975), and of which this present paper is in a manner of speaking a by-product. Also in these years members of the departments of Comparative Religion (or their equivalents) at Manchester, Lancaster, Leeds and Newcastle began to meet together with a view to more extensive cooperation. It was as a more or less direct result of these meetings that a new journal, Religion (1971 ff.), saw the light of day. Another indirect consequence was the setting up in 1969 of the Shap Working Party on World Religions in Education, which was destined to be highly influential in the area of religious education in schools.

At the first Shap Conference (held at the Shap Wells Hotel in Cumbria, hence the enigmatic title), organized by the Department of Adult Education at Newcastle, questions of method were brought to the fore. A conference volume, Comparative Religion in Education (ed. J. R. Hinnells, 1970) included my survey article, 'The Comparative Study of Religion in Historical Perspective'. The following year's conference also resulted in a textbook, Hinduism (ed. Hinnells and Sharpe, 1972), but by that time I had moved to Lancaster. By that time, too, the 'Brandon period' had come to an abrupt and tragic end.

Of John R. Hinnells, who joined the Manchester department from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1970, I write only with the greatest diffidence, since for more than ten years he has been a close personal friend. Beginning as a theological student at King's College, London, he became fascinated by one of the same problems which had exercised the mind of Moulton half a century earlier, namely, the extent of Iranian influence upon the New Testament. This led him in time not only into a study of Zoroastrianism but also into a consideration of Mithraism (particularly with a view to its archaeology) and into the field of Parsi studies. As well as being an energetic writer in all these areas, with an output which has been all the more remarkable when it is remembered that his health has not always been of the best, he has found time to engage himself in a wide range of organizational and editorial activities. For two years he was on secondment to the Open University and played a large part in the planning of the course 'Man's Religious Quest': his three-unit textbook Spanning East and West (1978), on Zoroastrians and Parsis, is especially noteworthy since as well as writing the text, his own camera provided most of the ample and excellent illustrations. Otherwise, apart from his popular Hamlyn book on Persian Mythology (1973) and his four Bombay lectures on Parsis and the British (1978), his publications have mainly been in article form. As an entrepreneur of Comparative Religion generally, and as an organizer of two congresses of Mithraic studies (an enterprise which sadly came to an abrupt end with the 'Islamic Revolution' in Iran), he has made -- and is still making -- a notable contribution to the field.

Other lectureships in the Department have been held by Lance S. Cousins (since 1970), Alan Unterman (1972-3) and Jeanne Openshaw (1976-7). I trust that I may be forgiven for mentioning in this connection only that the first and second are a practising Buddhist and a Jewish Rabbi respectively -- ample testimony to the wider multi-religious and multi-cultural implications of Comparative Religion in the 1970s.

During the past seventy-five years, the work done under the auspices of the Department of Comparative Religion at Manchester has mirrored, with remarkable accuracy, the progress of the study on a larger international map. Beginning from a position firmly within the orbit of what the liberal Christian world understood by 'apologetics' and from a whole-hearted endorsement of historical method, textual studies and ultimate value judgements, we have seen Comparative Religion move from its early status as an arm of theological study in the direction of behavioural science on the one hand, and acknowledged religious pluralism on the other. Manchester has always been strongest in its subject specialists (few of whom have not made a solid contribution to their chosen fields), weakest in the area of methodology. Oddly, Manchester has never produced (with the possible exception of the eccentric period of Elliot Smith and Perry) either deep methodological reflection or genuine innovation. Its methods, though assiduously applied, have for the most part come from elsewhere. Not that methodological innovation is necessarily to be applauded for its own sake; but just as the vitality of a religious tradition is often seen most clearly in the heresies it produces, so the vitality of a scholarly discipline may perhaps be measured by its creative eccentricities. Of these, Comparative Religion at Manchester may have had too few.

There are signs that the wave of popular enthusiasm for Comparative Religion which began in the 1960s may already be on the wane; its effects, however, are likely to remain with us for the foreseeable future. Never again will it be possible, even for a Faculty of Theology, to act as though alternative 'religious' maps of the universe did not exist, or to deal with these maps simply as 'non-Christian religions'. We all, whether we welcome the thought or not, live in a religiously pluralistic world, which it is the first duty of the scholar to attempt to understand -- in the process using the methods and results achieved by colleagues in every accessible field. The achievement of Comparative Religion at Manchester lies in the extent to which it has always attempted to do this, to the best of its ability. It has never been an easy task but on the whole it has been carried out with conscientiousness and wisdom. Perhaps when the centenary comes round in 2004 the well-worn title 'Comparative Religion' will finally have been relinquished in favour of some other form of words. The field, however, will continue to exist, as part of that intellectual enterprise in which the attempt is made to approach, with sympathy and understanding, homo religiosus. As for the past seventy-five years, without the Department's work that task would have been immeasurably harder and the life of the Faculty of Theology much poorer.



1. A paper contributed in connection with the 75th Anniversary of the University's Faculty of Theology. This survey has been prepared and written in Australia and many of the sources have been inaccessible to me. I thank those who have responded to queries on matters of fact and who have supplied me with information. Most of the material has, however, had perforce to come from my own library and my own memory. I apologize for any shortcomings, while I acknowledge with deep gratitude all that Manchester has taught me.

2. For the general background to the subject, see Sharpe, Comparative Religion: A History (1975), and particularly chapter 6, 'The Quest for Academic Recognition'.

 3. Jordan, Comparative Religion: its Adjuncts and Allies (1915), p. 519.
4. Monier-Williams, The Holy Bible and the Sacred Books of the East (1887),  pp. 13 f.
5. Moulton, Religions and Religion (1913), pp. 50 f.
6. Farquhar, The College St. Matthew (1909), pp. 106 f.
7. James Hope Moulton, by his Brother (1919), p. 59.
8. On Fairbairn, see Sharpe, Not to Destroy but to Fulfil (1965), pp. 126 ff.
9. A. R. A. Hobson, Great Libraries (1970), pp. 268 ff.; Frank Taylor, 'The Oriental Manuscript Collections in the John Rylands Library' (rept. from Bulletin, liv (1971-2),1-30). Special mention must be made of the work of Moulton's close friend, J. Rendel Harris, who came to Manchester from Birmingham in 1918 as Curator of Manuscripts and in that position made a notable contribution to Comparative Religion.
10. James Hope Moulton, by his Brother (1919); J. T. Wilkinson (ed.), Arthur  Samuel Peake, 1865-1929 (1958).
11. Obituary in The Tablet, 24 January 1925. For information about Casartelli,  I am indebted to Mr John Allen, Secretary to the Diocese of Salford, Wardley  Hall, Worsley.
12. Zaehner, The Dawn and Twilight of Zoroastrianism (1961), p. 343.
13. Moulton, Religions and Religion (1913), p. viii.
14. James Hope Moulton, by his Brother, p. 75. On Frazer, see Sharpe, Comparative  Religion: A History, pp. 87 ff.
15. James Hope Moulton, pp. 164 f.
16. Jordan, op. cit p. 386.
17. See Sundkler, Nathan Soderblom (1968), pp. 25 f. Cf. Sharpe, 'Nathan Soderblom and the Study of Religion', in Religious Studies (1969), pp. 266 f.
18. Moulton, Religions and Religion, p. X.
19. On the 'fulfilment school', see Sharpe, Not to Destroy but to Fulfil, passim.
20. Bulletin, iv (1917-18), 1.
21. Ibid. p. 23. Cf. Sharpe, I. N. Farquhar: a Memoir (1962), p. 74.
22. Dictionary of National Biography 1922-1930 (1937), pp. 239 f.
23.  Welbon, op. cit p. 246.
24. On Elliot Smith, see Dawson, Sir Grafton Elliot Smith (1938), Elkin and  Mackintosh (eds.), Grafton Elliot Smith: the Man and his Work (1974).
25.  Millar, The Piltdown Men (1974), p. 106.
26. Daniel, The idea of Prehistory (1964), p. 93.
27. Bulletin, iii (1916-17), 60: '. . . there is amply sufficient information to justify  the conclusion that many of the fundamental concepts of Indian, Chinese,  Japanese and American civilisation were planted in their respective countries  by the great cultural wave which set out from the African coast not long before  the sixth century BC.'
28. Millar, op. cit. p. 231.
29. Bulletin, iii (1916-17), 75.
30. Perry, The Origin of Magic and Religion (1923), p. 26.
31. Daniel, op. cit. p. 96.
32. On Farquhar, see Sharpe, I. N. Farquhar: a Memoir (1962), and Not to Destroy but to Fulfil (1965). On 25 October 1923 he wrote to J. R. Mott, 'Manchester has many interests: [William] Temple is there; Dr Peake is a friend of my old Oxford days; Dr Rendel Harris is at the Rylands Library; and there are many others'. Perhaps, too, there were memories of Moulton.
33. For a complete list, see Sharpe, Not to Destroy, p. 380.
34. ‘The Apostle Thomas in North India', in Bulletin, X (1926); 'The Apostle  Thomas in South India', in ibid. xi (19273.
35. ‘The Fighting Ascetics of India', in ibid. ix (1925), 431 ff.
36. Sharpe, Comparative Religion: a History (1975), pp. 172-250.
37. Bulletin, xxxvii (1954-5), 42 ff. He also sent greetings to the Faculty for its 75th Anniversary although the infirmity of old age prevented him from attending  the celebrations.
38. Ibid. p. 45.
39. Ibid. p. 53.
40. See the essays by Snape and James in Sharpe and Hinnells (eds.), Man and  his Salvation: Studies in memory of S. C. F. Brandon (1973), pp. 1-16; and obituary notices by Simon in Numen, xix (1972), 84-9; and Sharpe in History of Religions,  xii (1972), 71-4.
41. But see Brandon, 'Jesus and the Zealots: Aftermath', in Bulletin, liv (1971-21,  47 ff.
42. Hooke, 'Myth and Ritual: Past and Present', in idem (ed.), Myth, Ritual and  Kingship (1958), pp. 1-21.
43. Quoted by Rowley, 'Ritual and the Hebrew Prophets', in Hooke, op. cit.  p. 237.
44. Ibid. pp. 237 f.
45.  Brandon, in Hooke (ed.), op. cit. p. 264.
46. Brandon, Religion in Ancient History (1969), p. vii.
47.  Ling, 'Max Weber in India', in The University of Leeds Review, 1611 (1973),  pp. 42 ff.
48. Idem, A History of Religion East and West (1968), p. xxi.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:23 am

'Tibet In Darkness'
by Acharya Rajneesh (Osho)
Friends of Tibet (INDIA)




Acharya Rajneesh

"If there were something civilised in man, every nation would have stood against the invasion of Tibet by China. It is the invasion of matter against consciousness. It is invasion of materialism against spiritual heights"

-- Acharya Rajneesh

Unfortunately, Tibet has fallen into a darkness. Its monasteries have been closed, its seekers of truth have been forced to work in labour camps. The only country in the world which was working -- a one-pointed genius, all its intelligence in the search of one's own interior and its treasures has been stopped by the communist invasion of Tibet.

And it is such an ugly world that nobody has objected to it. On the contrary, because China is big and powerful, even countries which are more powerful than China can ever be, like America, have accepted that Tibet belongs to China. That is sheer nonsense -- just because China is powerful and everybody wants China to be on its side. Neither have the Soviets denied the claim of China aside -- even India has not objected. It was such a beautiful experiment, and Tibet had no weapons to fight, they had no army to fight; they had never thought about it. Their whole thing was an introvert pilgrimage.

Nowhere has such concentrated effort been made to discover man's being. Every family in Tibet used to give their eldest son to some monastery where he was to meditate and grow closer to awakening. It was a joy to every family that at least one of them was wholeheartedly, twenty-four hours a day, working on the inner being. They were also working but they could not give all their time; they had to create food and clothes and shelter, and in Tibet it is a difficult matter. The climate is not very helpful; to live in Tibet is a tremendous trouble. But still every family used to give their first-born child to the monastery.

There were hundreds of monasteries… and these monasteries should not be compared with any Catholic monasteries. These monasteries have no comparison in the whole world. These monasteries were concerned only with one thing -- to make you aware of yourself.

Thousands of devices have been created down the centuries so that your lotus can blossom and you can find your ultimate treasure, the diamond. These are just symbolic words, but the destruction of Tibet should be known in history, particularly man becomes a little more aware and humanity a little more humane… This is the greatest calamity of the twentieth century that Tibet has fallen into the hands of materialists who don't believe that you have anything inside you. They believe that you are only matter and your consciousness is only a by-product of matter. And all this is simply without any experience of the inner -- just logical, rational philosophising.

Not a single communist in the world has meditated, but it is strange -- they all deny the inner. Nobody thinks about how the outer can exist if there is no inner. They exist together, they are inseparable. And the outer is only a protection for the inner, because the inner is very delicate and soft. But the outer is accepted and the inner is denied. And even if sometimes it is accepted, the world is dominated by such dirty politicians that they use even the inner experiences for ugly ends.

Just the other day, I came to know that America is now training its soldiers in meditation so that they can fight without any nervous breakdown, without going mad, without feeling any fear so they can lie down in their ditches silently, calm and cool and collected. No meditator may have ever thought that meditation can also be used for fighting wars, but in the hands of politicians everything becomes ugly -- even meditation. Now the army camps in America are teaching meditation so that their soldiers can be more calm and quiet while killing people. But I want to warn America: you are playing with fire. You don't understand exactly what meditation will do. Your soldiers will become so calm and quiet that they will throw away their weapons and they will simply refuse to kill. A meditator cannot kill; a meditator cannot be destructive. So they are going to be surprised one day that their soldiers are no longer interested in fighting. War, violence, murder, massacre of millions of people -- this is not possible if a man knows something of meditation. Then he knows the other whom he is killing. He is his brother. They all belong to the same oceanic existence.

If humanity were a little more aware, Tibet should be made free because it is the only country which has devoted almost two thousand years to doing nothing but going deeper into meditation. And it can teach the whole world something which is immensely needed.

But communist China is trying to destroy everything that has been created in two thousand years. All their devices, all their whole spiritual climate is being polluted, poisoned. But they are simple people; they cannot defend themselves. They don't have anything to defend themselves with -- no tanks, no bombs, no airplanes, no army. An innocent race which lived without any war for two thousand years… It disturbs everybody -- even to reach there is a difficult task. They live on the very roof of the world. The highest mountains, eternal snow, is their home. Leave them alone! China will not lose anything, but the whole world will be benefited by their experience.

Tibet should be left as an experimental lab for man's inner search. But not a single nation in the world has raised its voice against this ugly attack on Tibet. And China has not only attacked it, they have amalgamated it into their map. Now, on the modern Chinese map, Tibet is their territory.

And we think the world is civilised, where innocent people who are not doing any harm to anybody are simply destroyed. And with them, something of great importance to all humanity is also destroyed. If there were something civilised in man, every nation would have stood against the invasion of Tibet by China. It is the invasion of matter against consciousness. It is invasion of materialism against spiritual heights.

"Osho is an enlightened master who is working with all possibilities to help humanity overcome a difficult phase in developing consciousness."

-- HH the XIV Dalai Lama
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:55 am

Bernard de Give
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/15/19



Rinpoche Enters Dialogue

After escaping from Tibet in 1959, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche arrived tattered and penniless in India with a small party of lay students and monks. A young tulku still in robes, he had his first encounters with Christians in Kalimpong in 1960. A missionary organization gave Tibetan refugees cartons of milk powder and Spam along with a Bible and missionary literature translated into Tibetan. Rinpoche later humorously observed that the literature reported that “Tibetan Buddhists practice by themselves and try to attain enlightenment in their own way, while the Christians, on the other hand, go out and produce milk powder and Spam and try to save others.”21

A few years later, when Rinpoche attended Oxford University as a Spalding Visiting Fellow in Comparative Religion, he was assigned a Belgian Jesuit priest as a tutor. Father DeGives [then Jesuit, now Trappist Fr. Bernard De Give], who had spent seven years in Sri Lanka, guided Rinpoche‘s study in Bible and Western religion for two and one-half years. Rinpoche especially enjoyed studying Christian contemplative practices, but was surprised to discover that “when people receive blessing, or when they receive the presence of Christ – or Jehovah, for that matter – no preparation has been made, at all. There is no shinjang [taming of the mind], there is no mindfulness, there is no awareness. The only possibility of shinjang at all is that people are terrozied: they believe that if they don’t do things properly, they will be punished.”22

Through Father DeGives’s connections, Rinpoche was regularly invited to interreligious conferences in Britain, where he presented in broken English the fundamentals of his tradition. Though he encountered a pervasive Christian chauvinism, he enjoyed his contacts with the many priests, rabbis, imams, and pundits he met in those years. He was especially attracted to the Franciscans he met at an old monastery in Midlands. He fondly remembered the abbot, whom he called “extremely saintly, reminding me of one of my Tibetan teachers, but speaking in a broad Irish accent. He was a wonderful person, with neat but dirty robes, with a real monastic flavor about him.”23

During his Oxford days, Rinpoche was also attracted to the Eastern Orthodox tradition, “because its followers understand the notion of meditation, and they understand that meditation is not just doing nothing but also involves radiating one’s openness. The contemplative traditions within both Judaism and Christianity, particularly the Jewish Hasidic tradition – and also the Orthodox Christian Prayer of the heart, which I’ve studied a little bit – seem to be the ground for Eastern and Western philosophy to join together. It is not so much a question of dogma, but it is a question of heart; that is where the common ground lies. One of these days I am going to take my students to Mount Athos to see how the Orthodox monks conduct themselves.”24 His dialogues with Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, the London patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, left a lasting impression on him.

Adaptations of Nonsectarian Perspectives

In 1968 Rinpoche returned to Asia to do an extended retreat in Bhutan, at a Guru Rinpoche cave called Tagtsang. In Calcutta, he auspiciously met Thomas Mertin, and they joyously shared gin and tonics over lunch, then roared off in a Jeep to shop the markets for Divali (festival of lights) treats. “Rinpoche bought a firecracker from a small, very black, bright-eyed crouching little boy,” wrote Merton in his journal entry that evening. Rinpoche later commented, “Father Merton himself was an open, unguarded and deep person. During these few days, we spent much time together and grew to like one another immensely.”25 The two men shared their poetry, their dreams for dialogue, their spiritual aspirations, and even plans for collaborative publishing projects. Most significantly, they shared their mutual concerns about the increasing materialism that affected monastic life, and the “progressive” monks who give up contemplation to become more productive and academic.26 Recalling this conversation, Rinpoche simply said that they had discussed “spiritual materialism.”27… In his conversations with Merton, Rinpoche reflected how spiritual materialism could be reversed in a Western setting as well….

Rinpoche and Merton each lamented the decline of genuine spirituality in the West, because of the prevalence of greed and materialism and the loss of authentic contemplative practices and lineages. Merton was going through struggles of his own, including the administrative and authoritarian demands of his home monastery, pressure from his publishers, and his yearning for more retreat and instruction in meditation from Asian masters. As Rinpoche reflected on Merton’s impending conference in Bangkok,

The Christian Conference of Asia began as the East Asia Christian Conference, which was constituted by a decision of churches, national councils of churches and Christian councils, whose representatives met at Prapat, Indonesia, in 1957. It was inaugurated at an assembly in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1959, under the theme Witnessing Together. In the light of changing circumstances, the 1973 assembly, meeting in Singapore, agreed to change the name to Christian Conference of Asia (CCA). The purpose statement of the CCA says that CCA exists as an organ and a forum of continuing cooperation among the churches and national Christian bodies in Asia, within the framework of the wider ecumenical movement, believing that the purpose of God for the church in Asia is life together in a common obedience of witness to the mission of God in the world. In order to be a member of the CCA, churches must "confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures and therefore seek to fulfill their common calling to the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit". National councils or similar bodies joining the CCA must also approve this basis. The CCA strives for the unity of the church in Asia, joint action in mission, Asian contribution to Christian thought and worship, sharing and fellowship among the churches in Asia and beyond, effective Christian response to the challenges of the changing societies of Asia, relationships with people of other faiths in Asia, human dignity and care for the creation.

Since the founding event, the churches and councils that form the CCA have journeyed through ten more assemblies....

Bangkok / 1968 / In Christ All Things Hold Together

-- East Asia Christian Conference [later Christian Conference of Asia], by World Council of Churches

Bangkok Conference. Lecture Titled "Marxism and Monastic Perspectives" (Merton's Last Lecture) delivered December 10, 1968

-- by The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University

"The moment of takeoff was We left the ground―I with Christian mantras and a great sense of destiny, of being at last on my true way after years of waiting and wondering..." With these words, dated October 15. 1968, the late Father Thomas Merton recorded the beginning of his fateful journey to the Orient. His travels led him from Bangkok, through India to Ceylon, and back again to Bangkok for his scheduled talk at a conference of Asian monastic orders. There he unequivocally reaffirmed his Christian vocation. His last journal entry was made on December 8, 1968, two days before his untimely, accidental death.

-- The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton, by

he later commented that Father Merton “was in Calcutta attending some kind of collective religious conference, and he was appalled at the cheapness of the spiritual values that various of the conference participants were advocation.”31…

Conference on Prayer for Conference of Religious of India, Feast of Christ the King, 1968, (Calcutta).

-- Merton Center Manuscripts, by

There's a book that contains the papers given at a 1968 Spiritual Summit Conference in Calcutta, including papers by Merton: The world religions speak on the relevance of religion in the modern world. Finley P Dunne, 1970. Spiritual Summit Conference (1st: 1968: Calcutta)

-- Thomas Merton in Calcutta, by Google Answers

it is clear that the content of their conversations set the tone for Merton’s Indian pilgrimage.33 Years later, at Naropa Unviersity, Rinpoche created a series of dialogues in Merton’s memory that sought to revitalize contemplative practice and life in North America and Europe

-- Heart to Heart: Interreligious Dialogue, by Judith Simmer-Brown, from “Recalling Chogyam Trungpa,” Compiled and edited by Fabrice Midal

At Oxford Rinpoche was befriended by the Jesuits, who thought that his tremendous enthusiasm for learning about the Christian religion made him a good candidate for conversion. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, but Rinpoche enjoyed their company and felt that here at least he had found Westerners who had some understanding of a wisdom tradition, even though it was not his own.

-- -- Dragon Thunder: My Life with Chogyam Trungpa, by Diana J. Mukpo, Carolyn Rose Gimian

Dom Bernard of Give
Key facts
Birth name Michel de Give
Birth May 8 , 1913
Liege Belgium Flag of Belgium
Nationality Belgian
country of residence Belgium
Trappist monk
Core business
Divine Office, Writer
Other activities
Intermonastic dialogue
Oriental languages, philosophy and theology

Dom de Give was very involved in the dialogue with the Tibetan monks

Michel de Give, in religion Father Bernard de Give, born in Liège (Belgium) on May 8, 1913, is a Cistercian - Trappist monk from the Scourmont abbey, very involved in the intermonastic dialogue.

Education and Training

At the end of his secondary studies at the College Saint-Servais de Liège of Give enters the Society of Jesus (September 23, 1931).

FASCISM in Spain was bought and paid for by numerous elements who would profit by the destruction of the democratic Republican Loyalist government. There were generals who wanted glory and others who wanted the easy graft money some of their predecessors had made. There was the established Church, and more especially the powerful Society of Jesus, which had suffered loss of property when King Alfonso was thrown out. There was the aristocracy, and there were other elements as there are in all fascist regimes, but more important than all these forces combined was the force of Money.

-- Facts and Fascism, by George Seldes, assisted by Helen Seldes

Simultaneously with the calling of the Congress of Vienna in 1814, Pope Pius VIIth restored the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order) which had been abolished by Pope Clement XIVth, July 21, 1773, on the grounds that it was immoral, dangerous and was a menace to the very life of the papacy. Clement was promptly poisoned for his act.

With the restoration of this order, the execution of the Secret Treaty of Verona was placed in their keeping.

The Congress of Vienna was a black conspiracy against Popular Governments at which the high contracting parties announced at its close that they had formed a Holy alliance. This was a cloak under which they masked to deceive the people. The particular business of the Congress of Verona, it developed, was the RATIFICATION of Article Six of the Congress of Vienna, which was in short, a promise to prevent or destroy Popular Governments wherever found, and to re-establish monarchy where it had been set aside.

-- The Suppressed Truth About the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln, by Burke McCarty

[Jorge Mario] Bergoglio, who at the time was “Provincial” for the Society of Jesus, had ordered the two “Leftist” Jesuit priests and opponents of military rule “to leave their pastoral work” (i.e. they were fired) following divisions within the Society of Jesus regarding the role of the Catholic Church and its relations to the military Junta.

While the two priests Francisco Jalics y Orlando Yorio, kidnapped by the death squads in May 1976 were released five months later, after having been tortured, six other people associated with their parish kidnapped as part of the same operation were “disappeared” (desaparecidos). These included four teachers associated with the parish and two of their husbands.

Upon his release, Priest Orlando Yorio “accused Bergoglio of effectively handing them over [including six other people] to the death squads.

-- “Washington’s Pope”? Who is Pope Francis?: Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio and Argentina's "Dirty War", by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

He obtained his BA in Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy SJ at Eegenhoven-Louvain (1936-1939) and his BA in Philosophy and Letters in Classical Philology at the Catholic University of Louvain (1940). He graduated in Theology at the Faculty of Theology SJ Leuven (1945). At university, he also studied Sanskrit and Eastern religions under the direction of Étienne Lamotte. He was ordained a priest in Leuven on July 27, 1944.

Missionary in India

Michel de Give leaves for India on January 26, 1947. For six years he is a professor at the Pontifical Seminary of Kandy (Ceylon) where he teaches History of Ancient Philosophy, Ecclesiology and Classical Languages ​​(Greek and Latin) from 1947 to 1952. In early 1953, he was, for a year and a half, a professor of classical languages at juniorate Jesuit of Ranchi, then Sitagarha (near Hazaribag in Jharkhand), then again a professor of philosophy at Shembaganur near from Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu) and Poona (Maharashtra).

Back to Belgium

Returned to his homeland in May 1955, he resumed classical language courses at the Juvénat de La Pairelle in Wépion (University Faculties of Namur). He publishes textbooks of Greek exercises (1956-1957) and a Latin grammar (1960) which is in its sixteenth edition. That year, he taught again Philosophy (ancient and medieval history) at the SJ Faculty of Eegenhoven-Louvain [Jesuit Theological College at Eegenhoven-Louvain (Belgium(] (1960-1968), then at the University Faculty of Namur until 1972.

The University of Namur or Université de Namur,[1] in Namur (Belgium), is a Jesuit, Catholic private university in the French Community of Belgium. Both teaching and research are carried out in six Faculties or university level schools in the fields of:

• Philosophy and Lettres
• Law
• Economic, Social, and Management Sciences
• Computer Sciences
• Sciences
• Medicine

-- Universite de Namur, by Wikipedia

During the academic year 1963-1964 he attended Oxford University under Professor RC Zaehner. At Oxford University he also meets Chögyam Trungpa. From 1968 to 1972, he was secretary of the journal Les Études classiques.

Cistercian monk

Michel de Give joined the Trappists [OCSO] of Scourmont Abbey on June 2, 1972, where he made his solemn profession on January 12, 1975.

Since 1977 he has been a founding member of the Monastic Interfaith Dialogue Commission. He took part in the interreligious meetings of Praglia Abbey in 1977 and 1979.

For ten years he spends the summer months studying the Tibetan language at the Tibetan center of Kagyu-Ling, Castle of Plaige, in Saone-et-Loire. He helps to organize the Christian-Buddhist Symposiums at the Karma Ling [Karme Ling] Institute, formerly the Chartreuse of Saint Hugon, in Arvillard (Savoie).

Located in the hamlet of Saint-Higon, the Chartreuse de Saint-Hugon was led by the Pères Chartreux until 1792. The sale and manufacture of iron and steel used to be a principal source of income for this former monastery, which is now the seat of the Institut Karma Ling.

The history of this site begins in 1173, on the banks of the River Bens. This Carthusian monastery is famous for its forges and blast furnaces, with iron ore being particularly abundant in the region. The ore was smelted in ovens before being deposited, over several years, on a spacious esplanade called a 'regraine'. Once cast, the iron ore was now pure iron or steel. Trip hammers manufactured wide iron strips, circles and hardware (camping stoves, pots and spades). Until the French Revolution, the monks managed this steel industry, which was a rich source of profits for the monastery. In 1792, the monks were persecuted, the Chartreuse pillaged and abandoned and their possessions sold as national treasures.

Since 1979, the Institut Karma Ling, one of the biggest Buddhist centres in Europe, has occupied the former Chartreuse de Saint-Hugon.

-- La Chartreuse de Saint-Hugon, by Savoie Mont Blanc

He visits a number of Tibetan centers in most Western European countries. He made several extended stays in the Tibetan monasteries of India (especially Dharamsala and Himāchal Pradesh) and Nepal (Kopan, Pokhara). In July 1994, he began a trip to Tibet.

He published his doctoral dissertation on the reports of India and the West of Origins to the reign of Aśoka at Les Indes Savantes, Paris, 2005.

On the occasion of its centenary, May 8, 2013, the abbey of Scourmont published a collection of his poems entitled Quand l'âme chante ... in the Scourmontois Cahiers Collection , 6, Forges, 2013.

Main works

• Latin Grammar, Brussels, De Boeck, 2011 (15th ed.)
• The Imitation of Jesus Christ translated and paraphrased in verse by Pierre Corneille , preface by Fr. Bernard de Give, OCSO, notes by Fr. Ducaud-Bourget, Paris, Albin Michel, 1998, Coll. Living Spiritualities, 161.
• Chronicon Alnense. Chronicle of Alder Dom Norbert Herset, ed. criticism, trad. and notes by Bernard de Give, Thuin, GH Conreur, 1977-1978, coll. Cathula.
• Register of things that happened at the abbey of Aulne, trad. of the Latin text by B. de Give, Thuin, GH Conreur, 1980
The reports of India and the West of Origins to the reign of Asoka, Paris, Les Indes Savantes, 2005
• A trappist meets the monks of Tibet, preface by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, The Savant Indes, 2009
• A Trappist Meeting Monks from Tibet, Preface by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Gracewing Publishing, 2010

• When the soul sings ... , collection of poems, preface by Jean Leclercq ( UCLouvain , Cahiers Scourmontois, 2013
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Jul 17, 2019 1:36 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/16/19



This article is about continuity of spiritual presence in Islam. For other uses, see Baraka (disambiguation).

In Islam, Barakah or Baraka (Arabic: بركة‎ "blessing") is a kind of continuity of spiritual presence and revelation that begins with God and flows through that and those closest to God.[1][2]

Baraka can be found within physical objects, places, and people, as chosen by God. This force begins by flowing directly from God into creation that is worthy of baraka.[1] These creations endowed with baraka can then transmit the flow of baraka to the other creations of God through physical proximity or through the adherence to the spiritual practices of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. God is the sole source of baraka and has the power to grant and withhold baraka.

Islamic mysticism

Baraka is a prominent concept in Islamic mysticism, particularly Sufism. It pervades Sufi texts, beliefs, practices, and spirituality. Sufism emphasizes the importance of esoteric knowledge and the spiritual union with God through the heart. Baraka symbolizes this connection between the divine and the worldly through God's direct and intentional blessing of those that are most reflective of Him and his teachings.

Baraka is not a state, it is a flow of blessings and grace. It flows from God to those that are closest to God, such as saints and prophets. Those that have received baraka are thought to have the abilities to perform miracles (karamat), such as thought-reading, healing the sick, flying, and reviving the dead.[3] However, according to Abd al-Karīm ibn Hawāzin Qushayri, a prominent Sufi mystic, the use of these miracles and the actual possession of these abilities are not indicative of a saint's status, however, the performance of these miracles by prophets is important to establish credentials.[3]

Sources, transmission, and traditional importance


The Qur'an, hadith, saints, prophets, Muhammad and his descendants are all powerful sources of baraka.[1]

Transmission through saints

Saints as the source of baraka, can transmit baraka to ordinary men simply through their presence. As this hadith explains, "By means of the righteous Muslim, God repulses affliction from one hundred neighbors".[4][page needed] In this way, the saints provide a means for ordinary men to connect with the blessings of God through baraka. The physical closeness to a saint's shrine is said to emit baraka, which is why many followers of Islam choose to visit shrines. The ritualistic act of visiting tombs and other holy places, such as shrines, to receive baraka is known as ziyara.[5]

Transmission through khirqa

Sufis pass esoteric knowledge and baraka from the master sheikh to the aspirant through the passing of the khirqa. The khirqa is the initiatory cloak of the Sufi chain of spirituality. This cloak initiates an aspirant into the silsilah, which is the chain of sheikhs that goes back to Muhammad. This chain serves as the channel through which baraka flows from the source of spiritual revelation to the being of the initiate.[4][page needed] There are two kinds of this kind of transmission (tanakkul) of baraka through the khirqa: khirqa-yi irada and khirqa-yi tabarruk. Khirqa-yi irada is characterized by the passing of baraka to the aspirant from the singular sheikh to which he has sworn. Khirqa-yi tabarruk, also known as the "frock of blessing", is characterized by the passing of baraka to the worthy aspirant from any sheikh that he has encountered.[6]

The silsilah chain created from the passing of the khirqa that confirms authenticity of many hadiths is known as the isnad. It was not until the late eleventh and twelfth centuries that the Sufi tradition began accepting this form of isnad as a means to transmit mystical knowledge and blessings.[7]

Transmission through Sunnah

By following the practices and teachings of Muhammad, one can achieve baraka through the emulation of Sunnah. Because Muhammad is the source of Muhammadan baraka, by living in constant remembrance of the names of God and in accordance to Muhammad's Sunnah. Those that live the inner Sunnah within the heart, are those that reflect the Light of Muhammad (al-nur al-muhammadi) and the Muhammadan baraka.[7][page needed] Those that live according to the Sunnah, live in constant remembrance of God, and live authentically from the heart are those to whom God opens the channel through which baraka can flow. By living in accordance to Muhammad, one can become worthy of God's direct blessing of baraka. If granted baraka, the saintly person is able to feel God's force from within and is nourished by the hadith while being guided by the baraka.[2]

Controversy of seeking baraka

Seeking baraka has been a source of controversy throughout the Islamic world. Through the act of ziyara, saints and the shrines of saints are seen as a means to access the baraka sent from God. Because of this, many within Islam see ziyara as a form of idolatry in the way devotees may look towards the saints instead of towards God, Himself, for baraka.[8][page needed] Although ziyara has been a source of great controversy, it remains one of the most typical ritual practices of Islamic spirituality.[8]

See also

• Basirah
• Spiritual gift
• Glossary of Islam


1. "Home - Brill Reference". Retrieved 2016-12-30.
2. Nasr, Seyyed Hossein (1972). Sufi Essays. Albany: State University of New York Press. ISBN 0873952332.
3. Ernst, Carl W. (1997). The Shambhala Guide to Sufism (1st ed.). Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala. ISBN 9781570621802.
4. Hoffman, Valerie J. (2009). Sufism, Mystics, and Saints in Modern Egypt. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 157003849X.
5. Karamustafa, Ahmet T. (2007). Sufism: The Formative Period. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. ISBN 0520252691.
6. Schimmel, Annemarie; Ernst, Carl W. (2013). Mystical Dimensions of Islam(Reprint ed.). Jakarta Selatan: Mizan. ISBN 9794337978.
7. Brown, Jonathan A.C. (2009). Hadith: Muhammad's Legacy in the Medieval and Modern World (Reprint ed.). Oxford: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1851686630.
8. Seels, Michael A.; Ernst, Carl W. (1996). Early Islamic Mysticism: Sufi, Qur'an, Mi'raj, Poetic and Theological Writings. New York: Paulist Press. ISBN 0809136198.

Further reading

• C. Coulon, et al. Charisma and Brotherhood in African Islam. Oxford Univ. Press, 1988. ISBN 0-19-822723-X.
• J.W. Meri. Aspects of Baraka (Blessings) and Ritual Devotion among Medieval Muslims and Jews. Medieval Encounters. 5 (1999), pp. 46–69.
• Schimmel, Annemarie (1994). Deciphering the Signs of God: A Phenomenological Approach to Islam. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0791419823.
• L. N. Takim. The Heirs of the Prophet: Charisma And Religious A
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Jul 17, 2019 4:49 am

League of Nations Union
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/16/19



The conflict increased his desire to do everything he could to promote world peace. During and after the war he was a keen supporter of the League of Nations Union, serving on the League's Executive Committee in London.

-- The Spalding Trust and the Union for the Study of the Great Religions: H.N. Spalding's Pioneering Vision, by Edward Hulmes

The League of Nations Union (LNU) was an organization formed in October 1918 in the United Kingdom to promote international justice, collective security and a permanent peace between nations based upon the ideals of the League of Nations. The League of Nations was established by the Great Powers as part of the Paris Peace Treaties, the international settlement that followed the First World War. The creation of a general association of nations was the final one of President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points. The LNU became the largest and most influential organisation in the British peace movement.[1][2] By the mid-1920s, it had over a quarter of a million registered subscribers[3] and its membership eventually peaked at around 407,775 in 1931. By the 1940s, after the disappointments of the international crises of the 1930s and the descent into World War II, membership fell to about 100,000.[4]


The LNU was formed on 13 October 1918[2] by the merger of the League of Free Nations Association and the League of Nations Society, two older organisations already working for the establishment of a new and transparent system of international relations, human rights (as then understood) and for world peace through disarmament and universal collective security, rather than traditional approaches such as the balance of power and the creation of power blocs through secret treaties.[5]

Chapters of the LNU were set up in the dominions and in allied nations, including in the capital cities of all of the states of Australia.[6]

Internal structure

The headquarters of the LNU were located variously at Buckingham Gate[7] and Grosvenor Crescent, Belgravia. In the 1940s, it moved to smaller premises in St Martin's Lane, WC2, for reasons of economy.[8]

Its top organ of administration was the General Council, which met twice a year and was responsible for LNU policy under its 1925 Royal Charter of Incorporation. Beneath the General Council sat the Executive Committee, which met every two weeks and co-ordinated all activities, such as the LNU's campaigns and educational programmes; received reports from branches; monitored the output of specialist sub-groups and had responsibility for the LNU's staff.

LNU branches had their own independent management structures.[5]


The LNU played an important role in inter-war politics. According to one source it had been successful in converting the mainstream of British society, including labour, the churches and the principal newspapers, to the cause of the League of Nations.[9] It also carried great influence in traditional political circles and particularly in the Liberal Party. One historian has gone so far as to describe the LNU as "a key Liberal pressure group on foreign policy" and to call Liberal Party members the "true believers" of the LNU.[10] Its first president was Edward Grey the Liberal foreign secretary during the First World War.

After the split in the Liberal Party in 1886, it was the members of the Cecil Bloc who became Unionists — that is, the Lytteltons, the Wyndhams, the Cavendishes. As a result, the Cecil Bloc became increasingly a political force. Gladstone remained socially a member of it, and so did his protege, John Morley, but almost all the other members of the Bloc were Unionists or Conservatives. The chief exceptions were the four leaders of the Liberal Party after Gladstone, who were strong imperialists: Rosebery, Asquith, Edward Grey, and Haldane. These four supported the Boer War, grew increasingly anti-German, supported the World War in 1914, and were close to the Milner Group politically, intellectually, and socially.

-- The Anglo-American Establishment: From Rhodes to Cliveden, by Carroll Quigley

Other leading Liberal lights in the LNU included Geoffrey Mander[8] Liberal MP for Wolverhampton East from 1929 to 1945 and Professor Gilbert Murray, who was this Vice-President of the League of Nations Society from 1916 and Chairman of the LNU after 1923.[11] The recruitment of Conservative politicians to support the LNU and the League of Nations itself was more problematic for the LNU, but they pursued it to demonstrate the cross-party nature of the Union, which was important for the credibility of an organisation active politically in pursuit of international goals.[12] High-profile Conservatives then came into the LNU, notably Lord Robert Cecil and Austen Chamberlain who were both members of the LNU Executive Committee.[13] However, most Conservatives were deeply suspicious of the LNU's support for pacifism and disarmament,[14] an analogous position being the opinions held by Conservatives in the 1980s in respect of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Even Austen Chamberlain remarked that the Executive Committee contained "some of the worst cranks I have ever known".[15] Winston Churchill said of the Union: "What impresses me most about them is their long suffering and inexhaustible gullibility".[16]

Peace Ballot

One example of the significance of the political impact the LNU could have was its organisation of the Peace Ballot of 1935, when voters were asked to decide on questions relating to international disarmament and collective security. The Peace Ballot was not an official referendum, but more than eleven million people participated in it, representing strong support for the aims and objectives of the League of Nations, influencing policy makers and politicians. The results of the Peace Ballot were publicised worldwide. It has been suggested that one outcome was the interpretation of the result by the Axis powers as an indication of Britain's unwillingness to go to war on behalf of other nations[17] although the vote for military action against international aggressors, as a matter of last resort, was almost three-to-one.

Educational programmes

The LNU's other main activities were education and awareness raising. It provided publications, speakers and organised courses.[18] Some of its programmes had a lasting impact on British schools.[19]

Replacement by United Nations Association

It was plain a new international settlement would be needed after the Second World War and in 1948, the United Nations Association (UNA) was founded to promote the work of the United Nations Organisation, which was established in 1945 after the previous year's Dumbarton Oaks Conference. As a result, the LNU arranged for the transfer of its complete organisation and membership to the UNA. However, under the provisions of its Royal Charter, the LNU was able to continue until the mid-1970s in a limited capacity to handle bequests and administer the payment of pensions to former employees.

Papers and records

The papers, records, minute books, pamphlets, reports and leaflets of the LNU are deposited at the British Library of Political and Economic Science at the London School of Economics in Westminster.[5]

See also

• Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson
• Henry Wilson Harris
• Joseph H. Hertz
• Charles Herbert Levermore
• Almeric Paget, 1st Baron Queenborough
• Weetman Pearson, 1st Viscount Cowdray
• Gerald Sharp
• Jessie Street


1. Douglas, R. M. (2004). The Labour Party, Nationalism and Internationalism, 1939-1951: A New World Order. Routledge. p. 27. ISBN 9780203505786.
2. "League of Nations Union Collected Records, 1915-1945". Swarthmore College Peace Collection.
3. Callaghan, John T. (2007). The Labour Party and Foreign Policy: A History. Routledge. p. 69. ISBN 9781134540150.
4. Baratta, Joseph Preston (2004). Politics of World Federation: From world federalism to global governance. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 74. ISBN 9780275980689.
5. "LNU - League of Nations Union Collection". LSE Library Services.
6. Summy, Hilary (2007). From hope ... to hope : story of the Australian League of Nations union, featuring the Victorian Branch, 1921-1945 (PhD thesis). The University of Queensland.
7. Phelps, Edith M. (1919). Selected Articles on a League of Nations. New York: H. W. Wilson & Company. pp. xxvi & xxxvii.
8. Archives of League Of Nations Union, 1918-1971. Archived 2012-07-15 at
9. McKercher, B. J. C., ed. (1990). Anglo-American Relations in the 1920s: The Struggle for Supremacy. University of Alberta. p. 23. ISBN 9781349119196.
10. McDonough, Frank (1998). Neville Chamberlain, Appeasement, and the British Road to War. Manchester University Press. p. 111. ISBN 9780719048326.
11. Morewood, Steven (2004). The British Defence of Egypt, 1935-1940: Conflict and Crisis in the Eastern Mediterranean. Routledge. p. 73. ISBN 9781135776664.
12. West, Francis (1984). Cecil Murray: A Life. Croom Helm. pp. 200–201.
13. Dutton, David (1985). Austen Chamberlain: Gentleman in Politics. New Brunswick: Transaction. p. 307. ISBN 9781412817639.
14. Thompson, J. A. (December 1977). "Lord Cecil and the Pacifists in the League of Nations Union". The Historical Journal. Cambridge University Press. 20 (4): 949–59. JSTOR 2638416.
15. Thompson, Neville (1971). The Anti-Appeasers: Conservative Opposition to Appeasement in the 1930s. Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 37. ISBN 9780198214878.
16. HC Deb 23 November 1932 vol 272 cc73-211
17. Thane, Pat (2001). Cassell's Companion to Twentieth-Century Britain. Cassell. p. 311. ISBN 9780304347940.
18. Cook, Chris (1975). Sources in British Political History, 1900-1950 Volume 1. London: MacMillan. p. 144. ISBN 978-0-333-15036-8.
19. British Library of Political and Economic Science, League of Nations Union, 1918-1971. Archived 2012-07-14 at

Further reading

• Donald S. Birn, The League of Nations Union, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

Postby admin » Wed Jul 17, 2019 8:04 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/17/19



Over the years many refugees were to visit Shotover Cleve. HN was involved in what was called Russian Eurasianism, the purpose of which was to enable aristocrats still in the Soviet Union to escape to the West. Colonel Malevsky-Malevitch was also involved, staying at the house for several months. Another Russian, who returned to the USSR to help in the planned escapes, disappeared. It was never established whether he had been captured or whether he had been planted by the Soviets as an agent. From the intelligence sources now becoming accessible since the collapse of the USSR, it appears that the man was an agent and that the efforts of the would-be helpers in the West were well known to the Soviet authorities. Spalding himself felt a little betrayed by the episode, so much so that his feelings for Shotover Cleve were never quite the same. Despite this, increasing contact with Russian refugees stimulated Spalding's interest in Russian culture and religion. His interest in Eastern Orthodoxy led him to wonder about other religions in the East, of which he then had little knowledge.

There is a long drive to Shotover Cleve, off which the Spaldings built a smaller but still substantial family house for the Narishkins that was at first known as 'Domic'. There was speculation about the choice of the name. The Russian diminutive domik means 'cabin'. The Narishkins were grateful to have been granted asylum in Britain but they had been accustomed to a grander lifestyle in pre-revolutionary St Petersburg. A Narishkin ancestor was the mother of Peter the Great. The muzei-domik Petra I ('the Cabin of Peter the Great', now a museum) stands on the Petrovskaya embankment in the northern part of the Russian city. Built in three days for Peter by his soldier-carpenters in 1703, the two-roomed cabin is a reminder of his simple life-style during the six years he lived there whilst supervising construction work in St Petersburg. The Narishkins may have had this in mind when they called their new dwelling 'Domic'. They had two sons. The elder was called Vadim. He was of the same age as John Spalding. Their daughter, Moira, was a little younger. The second son was Theodore, known in the family as 'B' (for Baby). These children were among the young Spaldings' playmates. With the help of HN and his wife, the Narishkins then moved from the house built for them at Shotover to a house in Old Headington, Oxford. The 'Cabin' was eventually re-named The Orchard. Captain Narishkin used his knowledge of art-almost universal among Russian aristocratic emigres-to make or put together objets d'art for sale in Oxford. He dealt in small pictures and decorative boxes, selling them on to local shops. This brought in a modest income. Profitable deals were few and far between. His wife was an enthusiastic hostess but not a provident housekeeper. Their guests included Prince and Princess Galitzine (who had a shop on Hay Hill, Berkeley Square in London, a venture supported by the Spaldings), the Arapoffs, the harmonica virtuoso Larry Adler, and others, some of whom stayed or visited the Spaldings at Shotover Cleve next door.

-- The Spalding Trust and the Union for the Study of the Great Religions: H.N. Spalding's Pioneering Vision, by Edward Hulmes

Orthographic projection of Greater Russia/Eurasia and near abroad
[Brown] The Soviet Union in 1945
[Red Brown/Maroon] (Soviet territories that were never part of the Russian Empire: Tuvan ASSR, Kaliningrad Oblast and Zakarpattia, Lviv, Stanislav and Ternopil regions in west Ukraine)
[Chinese Red] Additional annexed/occupied territory from the Russian Empire (Grand Duchy of Finland and Congress Poland)
[Bright Red] Maximum extent of the Soviet near abroad, 1955 (Warsaw Pact, Mongolian People's Republic and North Korea)
[Pink/Red] Maximum extent of the Soviet Union's sphere of influence, 1945–1946 (Northern Iran, Xinjiang, Manchuria)

Eurasianism (Russian: евразийство, yevraziystvo) is a political movement in Russia, formerly within the primarily Russian émigré community, that posits that Russian civilisation does not belong in the "European" or "Asian" categories but instead to the geopolitical concept of Eurasia. Originally developing in the 1920s, the movement was supportive of the Bolshevik Revolution but not its stated goals of enacting communism, seeing the Soviet Union as a stepping stone on the path to creating a new national identity that would reflect the unique character of Russia's geopolitical position. The movement saw a minor resurgence after the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of the 20th century, and is mirrored by Turanism in Turkic and Uralic nations.

The greatest extension of the Russian Empire (dark green) and its spheres of influence (light green)

Early 20th century

Eurasianism is a political movement that has its origins in the Russian émigré community in the 1920s. The movement posited that Russian civilization does not belong in the "European" category (somewhat borrowing from Slavophile ideas of Konstantin Leontyev), and that the October Revolution of the Bolsheviks was a necessary reaction to the rapid modernization of Russian society. The Eurasianists believed that the Soviet regime was capable of evolving into a new national, non-European Orthodox Christian government, shedding the initial mask of proletarian internationalism and militant atheism (to which the Eurasianists were strongly opposed).

The Eurasianists criticized the anti-Bolshevik activities of organizations such as ROVS, believing that the émigré community's energies would be better focused on preparing for this hoped for process of evolution. In turn, their opponents among the emigres argued that the Eurasianists were calling for a compromise with and even support of the Soviet regime, while justifying its ruthless policies (such as the persecution of the Russian Orthodox Church) as mere "transitory problems" that were inevitable results of the revolutionary process.

The key leaders of the Eurasianists were Prince Nikolai Trubetzkoy, P.N. Savitsky, P.P. Suvchinskiy, D. S. Mirsky, K. Čcheidze, P. Arapov, and S. Efron. Philosopher Georges Florovsky was initially a supporter, but backed out of the organization claiming it "raises the right questions", but "poses the wrong answers". A significant influence of the doctrine of the Eurasianists can be found in Nikolai Berdyaev's essay "The Sources and Meaning of Russian Communism".

Several organizations similar in spirit to the Eurasianists sprung up in the emigre community at around the same time, such as the pro-Monarchist Mladorossi and the Smenovekhovtsi.

Several members of the Eurasianists were affected by the Soviet provocational TREST operation, which had set up a fake meeting of Eurasianists in Russia that was attended by the Eurasianist leader P.N. Savitsky in 1926 (an earlier series of trips were also made two years earlier by Eurasianist member P. Arapov). The uncovering of the TREST as a Soviet provocation caused a serious morale blow to the Eurasianists and discredited their public image. By 1929, the Eurasianists had ceased publishing their periodical and had faded quickly from the Russian émigré community.

Late 20th century

Eurasian world for eurasianist political movement

The ideology of the movement was partially incorporated into a new movement of the same name after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, when the Eurasia Party was founded by Aleksandr Dugin.


See also: Foundations of Geopolitics

Former Warsaw Pact countries

Neo-Eurasianism (Russian: неоевразийство) is a Russian school of thought, popularized in Russia during the years leading up to and following the collapse of the Soviet Union, that considers Russia to be culturally closer to Asia than to Western Europe.

The school of thought takes its inspiration from the Eurasianists of the 1920s, notably Prince Nikolai Trubetzkoy while P.N. Savitsky. Lev Gumilev is often cited as the founder of the Neo-Eurasianist movement, and he was quoted as saying that "I am the last of the Eurasianists."[1]

At the same time, major differences have been noted between Gumilev's work and those of the original Eurasianists.[1] Gumilev's work is controversial for its scientific methodology (the use of his own conception of ethnogenesis and the notion of "passionarity" of ethnoses). At any rate, Gumilev's work has been a source of inspiration for the Neo-Eurasianist authors, the most prolific of whom is Aleksandr Dugin.

Gumilev's contribution to Neo-Eurasianism lies in the conclusions he reaches from applying his theory of ethnogenesis: that the Mongol occupation of 1240–1480 AD (known as the "Mongol yoke") had shielded the emergent Russian ethnos from the aggressive neighbor to the West, allowing it to gain time to achieve maturity. The idea of Eurasianism contrasts with Konstantin Leontyev's Byzantism, which is similar in its rejection of the West, but identifies with the Byzantine Empire rather than with Central Asian tribal culture.

Eurasian Economic Union

Main articles: Eurasian Economic Union and Enlargement of the Eurasian Economic Union

The Eurasian Economic Union

The Eurasian Economic Union was founded in January 2015, consisting of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and observer member Moldova, all of them being previous members of the Soviet Union. Members include states from both Europe and Asia; the union promotes political and economic cooperation among members.

"Greater" Russia

Not to be confused with Great Russia.

Russia growth 1613–1914

The political-cultural concept espoused by some in Russia is sometimes called the Greater Russia and is described as a political aspiration of pan-Russian nationalists and irredentists to retake some or all of the territories of the other republics of the former Soviet Union and territory of the former Russian Empire and amalgamate them into a single Russian state. Alexander Rutskoy, the Vice President of Russia from 1991–1993, asserted irredentist claims to Narva in Estonia, Crimea in Ukraine, and Ust-Kamenogorsk in Kazakhstan, among other territories.[2]

Before war broke out between Russia and Georgia in 2008, Aleksandr Dugin visited South Ossetia and predicted, "Our troops will occupy the Georgian capital Tbilisi, the entire country, and perhaps even Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, which is historically part of Russia, anyway."[3] Former South Ossetian president Eduard Kokoity is a Eurasianist and argues that South Ossetia never left the Russian Empire and should be part of Russia.[4]


See also: Hellenoturkism

The Greek poet, Turkologist and Sinologist, Professor of International Relations and Geopolitics Dimitri Kitsikis, was involved in promotion of Turkish–Greek friendship and eurasianist historiosophy and geopolitical concepts.[5]


See also: Hungarian Turanism

The Hungarian far-right party and movement, Jobbik, espouses a form of Hungarian nationalism that fosters kinship with other "Turanian" peoples, including the Turkic peoples of Asia.[6]


The political activist Silviu Brucan, was involved in shaping eurasianism as a geopolitical concept, with articles focused on Russian politics that were published in a monthly magazine called Sfera Politicii.[7]


See also: Turanism

Distribution of the Turkic peoples in Eurasia.

Since the late 1990s, Eurasianism has gained some following in Turkey among nationalist (ulusalcı (tr)) circles. The most prominent figure who is associated with Dugin is Doğu Perinçek, the leader of the Patriotic Party (Vatan Partisi).[8] Some analysts of modern Turkish politics have suggested that the ultra-nationalist and secular elite that are also affiliated with the members of the Turkish military, who have come under close scrutiny with the Ergenekon coup case, have close ideological and political ties to the Eurasianists.[9]

In literature

In the future time depicted in George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty Four", the Soviet Union has mutated into Eurasia, one of the three superstates dominating the world.

Similarly, Robert Heinlein's story "Solution Unsatisfactory" depicts a future in which the Soviet Union would be transformed into "The Eurasian Union".

See also

• All-Russian nation
• Annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation
• Donetsk
• Eurasian Economic Union
• Eurasian Observatory for Democracy and Elections
• Intermediate Region
• Manifest destiny
• Turkey-Azerbaijan relations
• National Bolshevism
• Neo-Sovietism
• Nostalgia for the Soviet Union
• Novorossiya (confederation)
• Russophilia
• Russian irredentism
• Slavophilia
• Soviet Empire
• Territorial evolution of Russia
• Nikolay Vasilyevich Ustryalov

• Geography portal
• Asia portal
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1. Laruelle, Marlène "Histoire d'une usurpation intellectuelle: Gumilev, 'le dernier des eurasistes'? (analyse des oppositions entre L.N. Gumilev et P.N. Savickij" in Sergei Panarin (ed.) Eurasia: People & Myths, Moscow, Natalis Press, 1993 (Russian lang.)
2. Chapman, Thomas; Roeder, Philip G. (November 2007). "Partition as a Solution to Wars of Nationalism: The Importance of Institutions". American Political Science Review. 101(4): 680. doi:10.1017/s0003055407070438.
3. "Road to War in Georgia: The Chronicle of a Caucasian Tragedy", Spiegel, August 25, 2008.
4. Neo-Eurasianist Aleksandr Dugin on the Russia-Georgia Conflict, CACI Analyst, September 3, 2008.
5. Giorgios K. Filis – Russia and Turkey in the Geopolitics of Eurasia & Theory of Median Space
6. Evelyne Pieiller, "Hungary Looks to the Past for Its Future," Le Monde Diplomatique, English ed. November, 2016.
7. Brucan, Silviu. "Geopolitics and Strategy" (PDF). Sfera Politicii. Retrieved 2 May 2017.
8. Mehmet Ulusoy: "Rusya, Dugin ve‚ Türkiye’nin Avrasyacılık stratejisi" Aydınlık Dec. 5 2004, pp. 10-16
9. [1] Emre Uslu: Turkish military: a source of anti-Americanism in Turkey. Today's Zaman, July 31, 2011.


• The Mission of Russian Emigration, M.V. Nazarov. Moscow: Rodnik, 1994. ISBN 5-86231-172-6
• Russia Abroad: A comprehensive guide to Russian Emigration after 1917 also some Ustrialov's papers in the Library
• The criticism towards the West and the future of Russia-Eurasia
• Laruelle, Marlene, ed. (2015). Eurasianism and the European Far Right: Reshaping the Europe–Russia Relationship. Lexington Books. ISBN 978-1-4985-1068-4.
• Stefan Wiederkehr, Die eurasische Bewegung. Wissenschaft und Politik in der russischen Emigration der Zwischenkriegszeit und im postsowjetischen Russland(Köln u.a., Böhlau 2007) (Beiträge zur Geschichte Osteuropas, 39).

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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 1 of 6

D.S. Mirsky: A Russian-English Life, 1890-1939 [EXCERPT]
by Gerald Stanton Smith, Professor of Russian, Oxford University and Fellow G.S. Smith



Chapter 5: Writing Russian

In Foma Gordeiev, which I consider to be Gorky's masterpiece, there is an unforgettable scene where Foma's father Ignat watches the loss of his ship laden with goods. He knows that his entire fortune will go down with it, but his only feeling is admiration for the beauty of the spectacle. He will have his moment of exultation over his own splendid disaster, for he knows that he has it in him to begin again and build himself up an even greater fortune. (D. S. Mirsky, 1922)


A good number of the front-rank Russian writers and critics active in 1917 emigrated rather than stay on in the Soviet state. 1 There was something of a generational and genre split; on the whole, the older prose writers left, while the younger poets and critics stayed. Among Mirsky's contemporaries who had made a reputation before 1917, Akhmatova, Mandelshtam, and Mayakovsky remained in Russia, for very different reasons. Tsvetaeva left Russia to join her husband in Czechoslovakia in 1922. Pasternak, Viktor Shklovsky, and Count A. N. Tolstoy -- the last-named an aristocrat of fairly similar background to Mirsky -- went back to Russia in 1923 after spending some time in Berlin.

In August 1922, about 120 key intellectuals and administrators were expelled from Russia after Lenin decided that he could not put up with the potential strength of opposition that they represented.2 From among these men (all the prime targets were men, but their families were sent out with them), Mirsky soon came into personal contact with Nikolay Berdyaev, Sergey. Bulgakov, V. N. Ilin, and Lev Karsavin. The reaction of Mirsky's soon-to-be friend Suvchinsky to the expulsion expresses an irreverent view of these men as sanctimonious failures that was common among his and Mirsky's generation:

When the first group arrived (Frank, Berdyaev; [U. A.] Ilin) it felt as if some sort of individual selection of people was going on. All they've done now is simply to transplant from Russia to Berlin -- like a piece of turf from one cemetery to another, or like a piece of dead skin -- a cultural layer that has completely outlived its time, and for what? So that these people should stand at the head of the emigration, of course, so they should speak for it, and by doing so prevent anything being born that is new and alive, and consequently dangerous for the Bolsheviks.3

In 1922-3, after the returns and the expulsions, emigre culture began to crystallize as a consciously separate formation. Mirsky played an active part in it for several years. At the same time as he was writing on Russian literature for the English readership, he was steadily publishing in Russian for his fellow emigres. As with his critical writing in English, at no time did Mirsky promote Russian literature outside Russia at the expense of the literature on the inside. But at the same time, he did not hesitate to point out the difficulties faced by writers under the new regime, and he could still refer to himself late in 1925 as an 'anti-Communist'. 4

During the first two or three years of the post-revolutionary emigration, there was no insuperable barrier to communication between the literary intellectuals in emigration and those who had remained behind in Soviet Russia, and each side kept a keen eye on the other. Books could be published simultaneously inside and outside Russia; for a couple of years, 'Berlin-Petrograd', for example, was a common item on title-pages. It was always much easier, though, for those on the outside to, get hold of what was published on the inside. Maksim Gorky, who was expelled by Lenin in 1921 but remained fundamentally pro-Soviet, at first thought that the journal he edited from Berlin in 1923-5, to which he gave the hopeful title Dialogue, would be admitted into Russia and put on open sale; he was disabused of this idea by 1924.5 The idea of a permanent rupture was generally accepted only about 1925. The most poignant discussion of it is the lament that Vladislav Khodasevich published in the Paris newspaper Days, 'Over There or Over Here?', in which literature on both sides of the divide is said to be seriously infirm.6

Evidently, copies of the London Mercury carrying Mirsky's 'Russian Letters' reached the most famous literary Anglophile left in the country, Korney Chukovsky, and he wrote an appreciation to Mirsky, whose reply, written on 12 May 1922, has survived. Even allowing for the positive emphasis that would have been inevitable under these circumstances, Mirsky's letter shows that from the very beginning of his time outside Russia he believed that the emigre segment of Russian literature was not and could not be sufficient unto itself, much less set out on an independent and autonomous existence. Rather, it was and would remain a subordinate fragment of the literature as -a whole, whose centre remained inside Russia. And Mirsky wanted to take part in the work of the centre, not the periphery:

We on this side are dreading that an unbridgeable abyss will open up between us and you. Your letter is a sign that this is not so. Those who have stayed behind in Russia are for us like saints and martyrs for the faith [podvizhniki], and consequently, if Russian Culture survives, it will be due to you and your heroic efforts. We are no better than rats who have saved themselves from the ship, while you still might be destined to save the ship itself ... [The] Russians here are not up to much economically, and the English are nowhere near as interested in Russian culture as it might seem .... However, something will be done .... We will find the opportunity to move the English along in a literary sense.

In general, books from Russia are our daily bread: I enclose my article about the first two volumes of Blok from the 'Times Literary Supplement'.7 Please give my most sincere greeting to Anna Andreevna [Akhmatova].8

And may God grant you strength and success.

D.S. -Mirsky9

This would seem to be the contact that led to the most surprising item in Mirsky's bibliography, an essay on contemporary English poetry that was published in Soviet Russia in 1923 in the journal The Contemporary West, which was edited by Chukovsky and Evgeny Zamyatin. This was the only piece Mirsky published in Russia between 1911, when his collection of poems came out, and 1932, when he returned from emigration. In his letter to Mirsky, Chukovsky had evidently asked Mirsky to set about the task of publicizing and translating the literature currently being published in Russia. The most immediate result was Mirsky's translation of Zamyatin's story 'The Cave', which soon became a classic of the revolutionary period.10

It was in London, rather than on the Continent, that Mirsky made personal contact with the young Soviet prose whose rise he saluted several times shortly after he began his teaching career, as he undertook to do in his letter to Chukovsky. The novelist Boris Pilnyak (1894-1937), who was rapidly making a name for himself as one of the most significant post-revolutionary literary figures after the publication of The Bare Year in 1922, left Russia for a four-month trip to England on 1 May 1923. Pilnyak had wangled an official visit to. the London trade delegation of the newly recognized state, and off his own bat he attempted to set up a Russian chapter of the PEN Club; the organizers wanted Gorky, but he considered the project too politically sensitive. While Pilnyak was in London, he met Mirsky. Pilnyak reported to Chukovsky from England that in his view Mirsky 'was born a hundred years too late'.11 In May 1924 Mirsky wrote an introduction to a collection by Pilnyak that was called in English Tales of the Wilderness; at this time and also later, he was in general uncomplimentary, arguing that Pilnyak was too undisciplined mentally to be a great writer of prose. It is clear, though, that Mirsky and Pilnyak, however much they might have disagreed with each other, shared a fondness for extended discussion over a bottle, the favoured location being the back room of Mrs Makarova's Russian bookshop near the British Museum.12

Apart from this chance contact with a prominent literary Russian, Mirsky tried to keep up with his schoolmate Viktor Zhirmunsky, who had remained in Petrograd, now renamed Leningrad. In a letter to Suvchinsky of 19 December 1924 Mirsky says that he is in correspondence with Zhirmunsky and has been receiving books from him, but that the copy of 'my English Avvakum' (by which Mirsky means the translation by Harrison and Mirrlees with his preface) has been returned stamped 'Non-admis'. No letters from Mirsky have turned up in Zhirmunsky's archive; it may well be that he destroyed anything he had relating to Mirsky after the latter was arrested. But this, and the much more important letter to Chukovsky, constitute the only evidence that has surfaced so far that Mirsky was in touch with literary people in Russia before he managed to write to Pasternak in 1927.


Throughout the 1920S the principal site of Mirsky's emigre activities was Paris. The first surviving letter written from France back to England is to Sir Bernard Pares, dated 20 August 1924, and addressed from 214 rue de Becon, Courbevoie. This is the house that Mirsky's mother and sisters had settled into when they moved from Athens at a date unknown, and it was to serve as Mirsky's Paris base until it was put up for sale after the death of his mother.

The addresses of Mirsky's letters and the announcements in them of his travel plans show that he would make his way to Paris as soon as possible after the end of the university term, and that he would only return to London at the last minute to start his teaching. From Paris, Mirsky ventured far and wide in France; during his first years he was in Quimper in Brittany, Nantes, Cannes, and Normandy. In January 1926 he spent some time in Pau.13 In August 1927 he stayed with the Bassianos at their villa near the then exclusive Atlantic resort of La Baule-les-Pins, Loire Inferieure. On 23 September 1927, Mirsky wrote to Salomeya Halpern from perhaps the most spectacular hostelry of all those whose stationery he used, the Grand Hotel du Raisin de Bourgogne in the town of Niort. Vera Traill, who was no stranger to the kitchen, and who once published a Russian cookbook with her friend Moura Budberg, said:

When he came [to France] with money in his pocket, he was a terrible glutton, terribly interested in food, and he would make expeditions. He had the gastronomic guide . . . and he was perfectly capable of taking a trip for just one night, let's say to Lyon, just to taste a special chicken dish .... In Paris we went to terribly expensive, spectacular restaurants .... I remember one of them where we had something I wouldn't know how to cook myself-boiled lettuce. It's the same as spinach but made with lettuce. Anyway, he knew where to go, where the thing to eat was this lettuce.

Marina Tsvetaeva saw all this from a different perspective in a letter to Yury Ivask in June 1934, by which time Mirsky's diet had become rather more austere:

What's my favourite food, you ask. Does it really matter? I hate kasha, every sort except the black, and even in Moscow in 1920, the most savage year, I didn't eat millet. That aside, I'm very unassuming and simple -- I eat everything, and I don't pay much attention to it, which during our friendship made Mirsky heartily disappointed (he was a passionate eater and expert, as very isolated people often are). He took me -- in secret conspiratorially-connoisseurily -- round the best restaurants of Paris and London. 'All you do is talk! he once exclaimed, grief-stricken, 'and you don't care what you're eating -- they might as well be servmg you hay!' Hay maybe, but not millet, though. 14


The general evolution of Mirsky's involvement with Russian emigre culture is clear-cut: to borrow once more one of his own favourite images it traced a rising line until 1926, then a plateau until 1929, and after that it fell away steeply. From the time Mirsky arrived on the emigre scene in 1922 until the summer of 1926 he was regarded on the whole as a talented but untried younger colleague by the leading lights in the literary emigration. He compelled them to take him seriously, but he then managed to alienate them completely. After 1?26 he withdrew further and further from literature, and by the end of 1929 this process was practically complete. He returned to writing literary criticism in Russian only after he arrived back in Moscow in 1932, and then, it would seem, primarily because he was directed to do so rather than by choice. In the interim, during his last three years in emigration, he was writing mainly in English on historical and political subjects.

Mirsky's earliest piece of critical writing in Russian for the emigre readership after he came to London turned out to be a non-starter. It was a survey art1cle on the current state of Russian poetry, submitted to Russian Thought (Russkaya mysl'), the journal edited by P. B. Struve, in June 1922. Soon after this, the journal encountered insuperable financial and organizational problems, and this became the earliest of several articles by Mirsky that were first published only long after his death. 15 In this case, though, there may well have been another reason: a good deal of the factual material in the article especially its account of which poets were in which places, was rapidly over~ taken by events as the division between emigre and Soviet literature coalesced . Struve may well have decided that, despite the brilliance of Mirsky's literary Judgements, there was too much in the article that events had rendered inaccurate.

The most significant aspect of this article is its bravura tone, which is set by the first sentence: 'For about a quarter of a century now Russian poetry has been experiencing a period of flowering which has taken it from the· debased and insignificant situation of the 1890s to its dominant situation of today.' This v1ew contrasts strongly with Mirsky's attitude about five years later when he saw not just th.e poetry of his youth, but all Russian literature of that period, as obsessed w1th death. The article culminates with a discussion of three women poets who lapsed into obscurity soon after the date of Mirsky's article: Anna Radlova, Mariya Shkapskaya, and Irina Odoevtseva. He had probably known Radlova before 1917, and met her again after he went back to Russia; he came to know Shkapskaya in the 193os; but he never seems to have met Odoevtseva (1895-1991), who emigrated with her husband Georgy Ivanov (1894-1958), and survived long enough to be able in 1987 to go back and die in the city she left seventy years previously, soon before 1t was renamed once more and became St Petersburg again.

The article's final paragraph presents a conception of poetry that Mirsky was to restate many times in his later writings; he was always on the s1de of 'will and reason':

Mandelshtam declared that 'Classicism is the poetry of Revolution'. And if by Revolution is understood that which Peter the Great began, there is a certain amount of truth in this. Classicism is active poetry, the poetry of Will and Reason -- teleological art, antithetical to Romanticism, which is passive, determinist art. 16


On 8 August 1923, at Quimper in Brittany, Mirsky finished the introduction to his Russian-language The Russian Lyric: A Little Anthology from Lomonosov to Pasternak the first book he published after his youthful collection of poems in 1911. The crisp Notes that Mirsky included at the back of his anthology make a highly instructive contrast with those he supplied m the same year as his own anthology was published, 1924, for Maurice Baring's Oxford Book of Russian Verse. Writing in English for Baring, Mirsky can take nothmg for granted:

Konstantin Konstantinovich Sluchevsky, b. 1837 in St. Petersburg. Served in the Foot Guards and later on in the Civil Service; he was for a long time editor of the official Pravitel'stvennyi Vestnik (Government Gazette). His first poems appeared in 1860, but he was hissed off the literary stage by the Anti-Verse critics and did not appear m book form until 1876. He died in 1904. He is the most remarkable and original poet of an unpoetical period. He had real genius and a wonderfully alert and receptive mind. Much of his best poetry is metaphysical, but he is probably at his best in his 'geographical' poems (especially in his poems of the North of Russia). He was heavily handicapped, for never in any Christian country (except perhaps in America at the same time) was the level of poetical craftsmanship so low as it was in Russia m the last lap of the nineteenth century. His verse is more often than not uncouth and clumsy, but his ideas are always original and stimulating.17

Easily recognizable here are some permanent features of Mirsky's evaluative thinking: the evolution of poetry describing a 'falling line', the deleteruous effect of 'social' criticism, the importance of work and craftsmanship, , the supreme importance of thought in poetry. There is even evidence of his peculiar staff officer's fascination with terrain. By contrast, here is Musky's note on the same poet from his own anthology; the translation is deliberately literal:

Konstantin Konstantinovich Sluchevsky, b. 1837 in Spb t 1904. Sluchevsky was a tongue-tied genius. An insatiable love for the concrete multiplicity of physical existence; a sharp eye, directed all around him; the vigilant work of powerful thought to which the 'light yoke' of ideas is absolutely alien -- these could have made of him a poet of the first magnitude. His decadent times denied him the armament he needed. This is Demosthenes with his tongue cut out. Sluchevsky's lofty tongue-tiedness is perhaps his principal attraction but it is indisputably annoying. He liberates himself from it rarely and not always appropriately, and in doing so he lapses (especially in the early poems) into cheap prettiness. His first poems began to appear in the second half of the 1850s, but were hissed at by the critics; from 186o until 1876 he was silent. In our age when formal tasks are dominant, Sluchevsky has little chance of attracting attention. 18

This incisive verve, spiked with the occasional bold metaphor, is entirely characteristic of Mirsky's Russian-language criticism. The two notes cover the same ground and are consistent with each other, but the English note primarily imparts information, while the Russian one is above all impressionistically evaluative. Equally instructive is the contrast between Mirsky's notes on those (very few) individual poems that happen to appear in both books. For Blok's 'The Unknown Woman' Mirsky supplies Baring with two short dry sentences: 'The most widely popular of Blok's poems. The scene is a summer resort in the environs of St. Petersburg.'19 For his Russian readers, Mirsky can display the inwardness of his understanding:

The Unknown Woman, dated 24 March 1906 Ozerki, from An Unexpected Joy. An extremely well-known poem. It is central for an entire period; in it some lyric themes intersect that are repeated in different combinations. Here Blok for the first time achieves a synthesis of his dissonances, combining sharp, grotesque naturalism with a romantic melody (the second half); remarkable here is the 'magical', 'forced' disposition of vowels. 20

The second name in the subtitle of Mirsky's anthology, 'From Lomonosov to Pasternak', was a shocking provocation in a Russian emigre publication even before the battle-lines had hardened, because -- apart from the obscurity of the little poetry he had published by then -- Pasternak had declared allegiance to the Soviets by returning to Russia. Mirsky's subtitle is one of the earliest unambiguous proclamations in Russian literary history of Pasternak's major status.

Mirsky is at his most incisive in discussing what he calls his 'Salon des Refuses'. The poets of the modernist period for whom he finds no place in his anthology seem in part like a deliberate provocation to the emigration, because although he finds room for one poem each by Balmont and Gippius, he does not include Bunin and Khodasevich. Mirsky shows off his insider's knowledge by apologizing for not including some of the cult poets of his generation: Konevskoy, Dobrolyubov, Komarovsky, and -- another pointer towards some sort of personal connection -- Elena Guro. But the poet whose absence was most remarked upon, and her omission persistently used as a stick to beat Mirsky with in view of what happened soon aftenhe appearance of the anthology was MarinaTsvetaeva; it is in this preface that Mirsky used the phrase 'a talented, but hopelessly undisciplined woman from Moscow'.21

Tucked away in his note on the second-rate poet Apollon Maikov (1821-97) is a passage in which Mirsky came nearer than anywhere else to defining what he detested most in Russian poetry, an attitude that lies behind all his negative assessments: 'The self-satisfied pomposity of his "concern with ideas" (ideinost'), the eclecticism of his taste, the neutrality of his verbal texture make him almost into a blank space for the modern reader. Maikov made entirely real the ideal poet "according to Belinsky" with his "artistry", "thinking in images", and concern for public opinion. '22 Instead of these qualities, Mirsky admired poets who wrestle with their own thought instead of received ideas, expose 'the resistance of the material' in the linguistic surface of their texts so that the poem is manifestly a thing made, and whose concerns are aristocratically elitist rather than populist.


Mirsky made his debut in January 1924 in a periodical based in Paris, The Link (Zveno). This journal was founded as a literary supplement to the leading Russian newspaper in Paris, The Latest News, the nominal editor being that of the main paper, P. N. Milyukov, who was joined by the almost equally nominal M. M. Vinaver;23 the actual work was done by Solomon Vladimirovich Pozner (1876-1946). The Link appeared from 1923 to 1928.24 It carried a wide variety of articles on· current literary history. The chief literary critic was Georgy Adamovich, but an increasingly prominent part was played by the highly gifted but wayward Nikolay Bakhtin (1894-1950), who had served a stint in the Foreign Legion. He has remained in relative obscurity, overshadowed by his vaunted younger brother Mikhail. 25 Mirsky gave The Link several substantial pieces about current English literature in 1924 and 1925, including what appears to have remained the only serious essay ever written in Russian on the work of Maurice Baring.26

In 1925 Mirsky began contributing to the most important Russian 'thick journal' of the inter-war period, Contemporary Notes (Sovremennye zapiski), which came out regularly from 1921 to the fall of Paris in 1940, edited by a notoriously philistine group of former SRs. Three of his reviews are particularly important. One of them concerns the earliest collected edition of Babel's stories; the others deal with the debuts in prose that had recently been made by the poets Mandelshtam and Pasternak. Mirsky was among the very first critics to argue for the significance of these now long-canonical texts. 27 Besides these, in 1926 he published the first ever article-length assessment in Russian of a long poem by Tsvetaeva. 28 And, as we have seen, he also gave to Contemporary Notes a composite review of nine of the classic texts of Russian Formalist criticism that had come out in its final years of glory, 1923-4.29

Mirsky's most substantial contribution to Contemporary Notes was in fact his first, an obituary of the poet who had been one of the models for his own youthful efforts, Valery Bryusov, who died in October 1924 after spending his last years as a member of the Bolshevik party. Mirsky's obituary culminates with some acid remarks about Bryusov's political opportunism, which in a sense foreshadowed his own ten years later, anticipating some of the charges that would later be made against himself when he declared for the Soviets.

In late 1925 and early 1926 Mirsky also contributed some incisive pieces on current English literature, including articles on Belloc, George Saints bury, and living poets, to Days, the newspaper edited by the former head of the Provisional Government, Aleksandr Kerensky. In 1926 Mirsky also contributed important articles on Tsvetaeva and Esenin to the most explicitly left-wing 'thick journal' of the emigration, The Will of Russia (Volya Rossii), which was published in Prague for a decade starting in 1922. The Esenin obituary contains one particularly noteworthy passage where Mirsky makes some ominous remarks about the doomed nature of his own generation:

Esenin simply was a poet, while Nadson was not. But their functions within the social organism were similar. Both of them concentrated within themselves, with special power for the average contemporary reader, all the weakness and anguish of their generation. The manner of death of each is significant -- Nadson's tuberculosis and Esenin's noose. The first symbolizes the limpness, powerlessness, and sterility of the 'men of the 188os'. The second symbolizes the emptiness, the restlessness, the violated state [ograblennost'] of our generation. Nadson's was a sickness of power. Esenin's was a sickness of faith. Nadson could not act. Esenin could not believe. Unbelief is the root of Esenin's tragedy.30

The most celebrated elegy on Esenin was written by another member of his generation, Mayakovsky. The poem has a closing couplet that became a byword for Communist commitment: 'In this life, to die is nothing hard, / Making life is harder, and by far.' Mirsky's next obituary for a major poet with whom he identified himself was to be about Mayakovsky, with whose own suicide these words took on a ghastly new resonance.


Mirsky's final involvement as a contributor to an emigre publication edited by someone else came about in 1925-6 in connection with a short-lived and essentially amateur project by another emzgre prince, Dmitry Alekseevich ' Shakhovskoy. He published two almanacs whose title uses the adjectival noun· often found in the diary of Mirsky's mother, The Well-Intentioned. The first of these almanacs brought together in uniquely broad church fashion a number of eminent writers in the emigration who were soon to become irreconcilable enemies and would no longer be seen between the same two covers. In his dealings with Shakhovskoy, Mirsky speaks condescendingly, and as a definite advocate of 'the left' in literature. When he is writing in Russian, as opposed to English, he resists style-editing: 'Do not change particular words, and retain my punctuation as far as possible. I'm afraid that in general the article has come out too political, and what's worse is that it's completely disconnected. Malheureusement on n'ecrit pas ce qu'on veut mais ce qu'on peut.'

The article concerned was 'On the Current State of Russian Literature' , in which Mirsky makes a trenchant statement of general principle and some concise literary assessments. As living classics he cites Akhmatova, Zamyatin, Khodasevich, and A. N. Tolstoy (with some reservation about the last-named). The remaining living writers are then mustered into' groups. 'Genuine, fully formed masters' who are continuing to develop include Mandelshtam, Tsvetaeva, Pasternak, and Babel. Those who have stopped developing include Mayakovsky, Aseev, and perhaps Tikhonov. Promising beginners include Artyom Vesyoly and Selvinsky. Worth mentioning in other categories are Leonov, Zoshchenko, Esenin, Pilnyak, Nikitin, perhaps Lidin. The tail-enders in this list are dealt some stinging remarks:

Genuinely talented and clever, but lacking any 'inner content', a journalist and also 'a slave to authority' and, what's worse, to the consumer: Erenburg.

Almost a 'man of genius', but a completely undisciplined31 journalist who cultivates his indiscipline but is the father of almost all the ideas by which contemporary aesthetics lives: Shklovsky. 32

Mirsky notes as he goes through these names the high proportion of Jews among them; he uses the term standard in the late Tsarist administration, inorodtsy, 'aliens'. He eventually apologizes for the fact that of all the names he lists, only one is 'completely white': he has in mind, of course, Khodasevich. This leads to the second half of the article, which condemns the use of political criteria in judging literature, a sin committed not so much by the Bolsheviks, says Mirsky, as by the emigration.


By 4 February 1926, Mirsky had finished his article for the second and final issue of Shakhovskoy's almanac, 'On Conservatism', which, he remarks in his accompanying letter, he hopes 'is not too ill-intentioned':33

'The reader you speak about (there is another kind, but there are fewer of them) is guided by two laws: intellectual laziness and the fear of making a fool of himself Literature has to keep him occupied and cheer him up, "like tasty lemonade in summer".34 Be is not prepared to expend any effort. Literature, like music in a restaurant or cinema, like the cinematograph, is rest and relaxation. It therefore has to be immediately comprehensible, and to achieve that it has to follow familar models. A small amount of innovation is fine; it stimulates the appetite and tickles the nerves .... The educated reader knows that one should take an interest in what is new and that art must renew itself But he also knows from bitter experience that there are many charlatans and impostors, that he can't distinguish between them and the "real" ones, and it's therefore easy to make a fool of himself by saying that Igor Severyanin is a great poet, while Khlebnikov's a clown. He therefore entrenches himself inside the wholly dependable classics, making common cause with them according to their degree of deadness, or with what look to him like the least innovatory of his contemporaries according to their degree of sclerosis. You musn't reproach the reader for doing this, of course. Too much of his energy goes on following the ups and downs of the stock market, or to earning himself a salary, and there's none left for reading "incomprehensible" poets, as you call them.'

'But they really are incomprehensible.'

'Everything is incomprehensible to someone who hasn't the time to comprehend. Art is the creation of new values ... .'

This last sentence caught the fancy of Jane Harrison; she wrote from Cambridge on 9 August 1926:

'Art is the creation of new values' [Harrison cites the phrase in Russian] now that is really worth saying & to me the most illuminating thing I have read for a long time with more stuff in it than a whole decade of Pontigny analysis.

I have often wanted to ask you to formulate for me the reactionary and revolutionary element in yr outlook but I did not feel I knew you quite well enough (asking a person to state their opinions is really more intrusive than asking the amount of their income)35 & now you have done it unasked.

By the next time Mirsky wrote to Shakhovskoy he had delivered his lecture on 'The Ambience of Death in Pre-Revolutionary Russian Literature', which was to become notorious. Mirsky offered this piece to Shakhovskoy for publication in The Well-Intentioned, but then evidently changed his mind, and saved it for his own journal, Vyorsts, even though it would miss the first issue. The last letter of the correspondence with Shakhovskoy dates from 17 June 1926. Mirsky complained that Shakhovskoy was a bad correspondent -- not knowing that during the preceding couple of months Shakhovskoy had gone through the decisive phase of the evolution that led him to choose the path diametrically opposite to the one that Mirsky soon opted for: he gave up the world entirely and went to Mount Athos in order to study to become a priest of the Orthodox Church. He would end up as one of the most eminent clerics of the emigration, known in the highest office he occupied as Archbishop Ioann of San Francisco and the Western United States.

By 1926, the year in which the first volume of his English-language history appeared, Mirsky had thus made an appearance in all the principal periodical publications of the Russian emigration. As a sort of epitaph to this involvement, he then published a harshly critical review of the back issues of Contemporary Notes and The Will of Russia in the first issue of the journal he founded himself, Vyorsts, and left himself with no way back into the mainstream. 36


In his dialogue on conservatism, Mirsky set down one particularly significant passage about his relations with his fellows in the emigration:

'Tradition is like Ariadne's thread -- once dropped, it cannot be picked up again. One can take one's stand only on a directly precursive tradition that has not yet been broken. Restoration never happens, either in politics or culture. The new must be new, not yesterday's stuff warmed up. It must be revolutionary, it must look forward and not back. True, it sometimes dons a mask that's got up to look like the old. But that's only a mask. You mentioned the Eurasians. They have one face but two souls, which "war with each other, alas". If the soul wins that wears the face, they will lose all significance. If the soul wins whose face wears the mask, the soul that is organically related to the future, they will become the greatest cultural force of tomorrow.'

Starting in 1925, Mirsky involved himself more and more deeply with these mask-wearing men who had two souls, the men of the Eurasian movement.37 The initial contact took place in September 1922, when Mirsky visited Berlin and was introduced to Pyotr Petrovich Suvchinsky, one of the four founders of Eurasianism. Though this impression may be the result of the fact that more evidence concerning it survives than concerning any other -- 163 letters by Mirsky written between October 1922 and September 1931 -- Mirsky seems to have formed a closer relationship with Suvchinsky, and for longer, than with any other person he met after he left Russia.

Suvchinsky (1892-1985)38 was born in Kiev and educated in SfPetersburg; he went to the Tenishev school, like Mirsky. He became a musicologist and took part in musical journalism immediately before the First World War; he was then found unfit for military service. In emigration he became an amateur of the arts whose main interest remained music; his practical abilities and/ or dedication as pianist and singer never seem to have been sufficient for him to make a career as a performer. Suvchinsky first lived in Sofia, where the Eurasian movement began. He moved to Berlin at some time in 1922, then to Paris in 1925, and remained there to the end of his life.

As soon as Mirsky got back to London from Berlin in the autumn of 1922, with his customary expeditiousness he published three English-language accounts of the Eurasian movement, all of them positive.39 In a letter of 7 September 1922 to P. N. Savitsky, Suvchinsky claimed Mirsky as a convert, and in 1923 charged him with forming a Eurasian group in England.40

The Eurasian movement was a complex and tangled conglomeration of ideas . and personalities, policies, theories, and agendas. By the end of the 1920s it had spawned a very substantial body of printed documents. They include a series of collections of articles, several monographs, and a chronicle dealing with the organization's public activities.41 Eurasianism is best known, indeed almost exclusively known, in its ideological aspect, which has been confidently summarized many times. By far the clearest summary of its ideology in its initial phase (1921-6) is by Mirsky, an article that stands as one of the best examples of his ability to boil down complex notions to their essentials.42 The article was written in 1926, when Mirsky was feeling maximally benevolent towards the movement and the personalities involved in it, and just at the time when he himself was becoming a leading participant. Several further summaries of Eurasian ideology were made long after the demise of the movement by scholars outside Russia.43 Until the late 1980s, the movement was not an approved topic of research and discussion inside Russia. After the fall of the USSR, the Eurasians' attempts to conceptualize a post-Communist Russia became of great interest and relevance, and there began a spate of republications44 and reinterpretations.45

The formal beginning of the movement was marked by a collection of ten essays that appeared in Sofia in 1921 under the title Exodus to the East, edited and written by four emigres who had landed up there after making their way out of Russia by various routes: Prince Nikolay Sergeevich Trubetskoy (189o-1938), Georgy Vasilievich Florovsky (1893-1979), Pyotr Nikolaevich Savitsky (1894-1968), and, as we know, P. P. Suvchinsky. How exactly the four got together and from whom the original impetus came to produce the book has not yet been clearly related. All four original Eurasians, like Mirsky, were in terms of social and academic background and upbringing metropolitan Russian intellectuals from the dvoryanstvo, but they had different areas of specialization. Trubetskoy was the only one of them who had published any significant proto-Eurasian writings before the 1921 collection, and he was clearly the principal ideologue. But he was always a reluctant leader. He was an academic dedicated to research in his specialist subject; in emigration at the University of Vienna he held one of the most prestigious chairs in Slavonic studies, and he was soon to emerge as one of the greatest theoretical linguists of the twentieth century if not of all time.46 His commitment to his academic work grew stronger as the 1920s went on, and eventually led him to resent the time and energy he was called on to spend on his unruly brainchild, which from his point of view kept on side-slipping into politics and away from the speculative ideas that interested him. It would appear from his earliest writings that as an adolescent, in strong contrast to Mirsky, Trubetskoy conceived a violent antipathy towards Western culture, and British attitudes in particular.

Savitsky was an economist and geographer who had been a favourite pupil of P.B. Struve and had worked with him in the White administration in the Crimea. He responded immediately to Trubetskoy’s early publications, and he was to prove the most enthusiastic and persistent proponent of Eurasianism among the original quartet. He was also the most prolific author among them; indeed, he was something of a graphomaniac, and the knotty loquacity of his writings is one factor that has deterred scholars from tackling his archival legacy.47 Mirsky eventually came to view him as a self-righteous bigot.48

Florovsky was an Orthodox theologican, and very soon publicly distanced himself from the movement.49 Florovsky and Savitsky, however, were brothers-in-law, and apparently retained a close personal relationship. Florovsky was replaced as the Eurasian house theologian by Lev Karsavin (1882-1952), the ballerina Tamara’s brother, who suffered all his life from not being as rich and famous as she was.50 He was one of the group of intellectuals expelled from Russia in 1922, and he became closely involved with Eurasianism when he moved to Paris in 1925. The presence in the same place of Suvchinsky and Karsavin was one factor that altered the centre of gravity of the movement for a while at this point.

Suvchinsky was the least distinguished of the four founders intellectually. He contributed a number of culturological essays to the various Eurasian publications, but none of them really repays careful study because his thought is so slipshod; they consist mainly of verbose emotional gestures. Mirsky’s letters to Suvchinsky teem with ever-harsher instructions about how he should tighten up his thinking and clean up his style. Suvchinsky was by nature a parlour intellectual, fond of the sound of his own voice and loving to hold court. How he managed to support himself is an enigma, unless he really did manage to allot himself a salary from Eurasian funds; his third former wife, Vera, contemptuously referred to him as ‘a genuine parasite’. He was something of a sexual predator, and he married four times, all the women concerned being between 18 and 22 years old at the time. His fourth marriage, in 1933, was something of a Eurasian dynastic event, to Marianna Karsavina, one of the daughters of the philosopher. Karsavin, incidentally, was conned into thinking that Suvchinsky was a millionaire.

As a body of doctrine, Eurasianism has been much more frequently summarized than critically examined. This is partly because the publications are so extensive, and partly because they are still difficult of access; there does not seem to be a single repository anywhere in the world where all the Eurasian publications can be studied together.51 The anonymous preface to Exodus to the East spelled out the fundamental ideas. The sentence from it that became most famous also marks the limit of the usual notion of what Eurasianism amounted to: ‘The Russian people and the peoples of the “Russian world” are neither European nor Asiatic.’

The Eurasian people, one but only one constituent among whom are the ethnic Russians, inhabit that geographically distinctive space which stretches from the Baltic to the Pacific, and from the Arctic to the mountain ranges that provide it with a southern border. In terms of climate and vegetation it is divided into four broad ‘flag-like’ strips that run east-west; reading from north to south they are made up of tundra, northern forest, steppe, and desert.52 Eurasian history is essentially the process of human confrontation with and assimilation of this space. This history begins not with Kievan Christianity but with the unfortunately named Tartar yoke, which the Eurasians viewed as a positive phenomenon rather than a catastrophe that gave rise to Russia’s notorious ‘backwardness’. Under the Mongols the Eurasian space was first brought under unitary rule; it functioned efficiently as a political and economic entity and successfully defended itself against Catholicism and Protestantism and the false beliefs and economic exploitation indivisible from them.

A definition of national identity, subsuming and transcending ethnicity, sprang from the geopolitical basis. The Eurasian mentality, according to Exodus to the East, is continental, nomadic, and tolerant in religious affairs. Nevertheless, a central administration came about that gave a coherent political articulation to ‘continent Eurasia’ as a geographical space, further integrated by growing adherence to the Russian Orthodox Church and the use of the Russian language. The outlook of the people who inhabit the landlocked and featureless expanses of Eurasia was and remained utterly different from that of the peoples who inhabit the regions west of the Elbe, with their peninsulas and islands riven by mountains and short rivers flowing fast to nearby seas. In this setting there developed individualism, participatory democracy, aggressive chauvinism, rapaciously acquisitive materialism, religious intolerance and eventually secularism, and a ruthless hunger for technological development; these attitudes drove the acquisition of sea-borne empires founded on myths of national supremacy and on the enslavement or even extermination of aliens rather than the Eurasian process of comparatively benign enserfment of the native lower orders. The reforms of Peter the Great betrayed the Eurasian idea of importing alien Western concepts and structures of government, leading to a loss of organic unity, a growing alienation between rulers and ruled, and the eventual revenge of the ruled in 1917. The revolution was taken over from the top, however, by fanatical adherents of Marxist Communism, the most obnoxious of all the ideologies that had been foisted on Russia from the West. The Eurasians thus accepted the legitimacy of the Russian revolution, but rejected the legitimacy of Bolshevism.

The four founding ideologues of Eurasianism were all Russian men of the same generation as Mirsky. Like him, they just had time to complete at least a substantial part of their higher education in their native country before historical developments robbed them of the context in which it would have been natural for them subsequently to emerge as leading figures in their chosen fields and perhaps more widely, in political life. 53 Their personal circumstances had been transformed beyond recognition by the events that began in 1914. Instead of being leaders-in-waiting, these men found themselves outcasts in alien societies whose values they found unacceptable.

All along there were really two Eurasias in the thinking of the original group, as is implied by Mirsky's remark about the two souls. They were complementary, and were never really synthesized. The first, associated with Trubetskoy, was an ethnic and cultural construct. The second, developed particularly by Savitsky, was a geopolitical construct. In the second phase of the movement there was an attempt to add a legal arm and what one might call a religious arm, the theory of the 'symphonic personality' as developed by Karsavin. But from the start there was a fatal lack of agreement about the purpose of the movement. In a situation where no power was at stake, there was a vacuum at the point where male motivation normally has its roots. Eurasian ideology was in no way less coherent than that of Bolshevism before or after 1917, but there was no equivalent among the Eurasian leaders to Lenin, whose life and soul were dedicated to the cause of revolution and who before 1917 was undeterred by apparent success or failure in the real world-and whose mother supplied him with an allowance that enabled him to devote himself to his obsession. Savitsky was the nearest thing there was to a Eurasian fanatic, but his thoughts and actions seem childish and unfocused compared with the unremitting purposiveness of Lenin.
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Part 2 of 6


It is quite clear from his first few letters to Suvchinsky that Mirsky did not share some of the fundamental tenets of Eurasianism in its early form. He made only one contribution to its coterie publications before 1928 -- the article on Avvakum that is discussed at length in the letters to Suvchinsky of August and October 1924. And it can be seen from subsequent letters that Mirsky's intellectual reservations remained. He was interested in Eurasianism not because he thought it was right but principally because he thought that it was a uniquely dynamic element in what he saw as the stagnant slough of emigre thought and politics.

The Eurasians produced enormous amounts of printed paper and no doubt even greater amounts of hot air that has mercifully evaporated. No single individual writing after the demise of the movement can ever actually have read, much less carefully studied, the entire range of published documents engendered by or associated with Eurasianism. Much less has any single person yet studied all the unpublished documents as well. The production of such quantities of what must have been largely unread verbiage was possible because the Eurasians secured for themselves substantial financial backing in Western funds. It was commonly insinuated by: the enemies of the Eurasians in the Russian emigration of the 1920s that the movement was in fact a front organization for the Soviet government, and in its pay, This charge was, and remains, unsubstantiated. How the publications before 1924 were financed is not clear, except in the case of the third collection. 54 But what happened then is quite certain. From the Moscow archive materials and the Mirsky letters we know that the Eurasians were financed by the British philanthropist H. N. Spalding.

Henry Norman Spalding (1877-1953) was educated privately and at New College, Oxford; he was a civil servant in the Admiralty from 1901 to 1909, then became a barrister, and made two unsuccessful attempts to enter Parliament. He returned to the Admiralty during the First World War. From the fortune he inherited he was a generous benefactor to the University of Oxford, endowing inter alia the Chair of Eastern Religions and Ethics. 'The money', as the Eurasian officers referred to it, was a gift of £10,000 made to the movement in 1922 or 1923. This was a huge sum; to get some idea of what it was worth, it is enough to recall that in the early to mid-1920s Bernard Pares ran the School of Slavonic Studies with a staff of seven on an annual grant from the UGC of £2,000.

Just before the movement split, Spalding published the most substantial treatment of it to appear in a language other than Russian, and in fact the only such treatment by a non-Russian, which is surprising in view of the geographical distribution of the intellectual emigration, but not surprising in view of the emigration's generally Russia-oriented priorities. 55 Mirsky's reaction to this book in his letter to Suvchinsky of 6 May 1928 was vitriolic:

I got Spalding's book yesterday. I've skimmed it, and it looks like a huge piece of mediocrity [bol'shoe ubozhestvo, a favourite phrase of Mirsky's] -- it's nothing but the Elder Zosima plus the Upanishads. What's worse is that it talks about the necessity for a bloody coup d'etat when the Communist Party is overthrown. Finally, it is completely impermissible to twist the name 'Eurasian' into 'Europasian'. What a disgrace to renounce one's name just because some petty little wogs in Ceylon call themselves the same thing.

Named Zinovy before he became a monk and sometimes called “Zosimov,” Zosima is Alexei Fyodorovich’s spiritual guide and the most revered elder at the monastery to which Alexei belongs. When Zosima is introduced into the novel, he is around sixty-five years old and has been a monk for forty years. He comes from a family of landowners and once had an orderly named Afanasy. Zosima was in the army in his early youth and served in the Caucasus as a commissioned officer. While still an officer, he encouraged equality between the upper-class and their servants. He then started his monastic effort in “a poor, little-known monastery in Kostroma” and later traveled with Father Anfim all over Russia to collect donations for their poor monastery. Zosima is a gentle cleric who is drawn to the most sinful of his followers. Many of the other monks believe that Zosima is a saint, though, there are others who resent Zosima’s influence and extraordinarily holy reputation. Many people, particularly women, flock from all over Russia to receive his blessings. He is “a tall, lean, but still vigorous old man, dark-haired with much gray, and with a long, pious, and important face.” When the elder dies, Alexei expects a miracle and is disappointed when Zosima’s body rots like that of any other man, casting doubt on his holiness. However, Alexei has a dream about the elder which restores his crumbling faith and encourages him to follow Zosima’s advice “to sojourn in the world,” or to leave the monastery and re-engage with people.

-- Zosima, the Elder, Character Analysis, by LitCharts

The use of the phrase 'new party in Russia' in Spalding's title proclaims how little the author understood about what was really going on, for there was no 'party' in any substantial sense, and the idea that the Eurasians were based inside Russia was the result of a GPU confidence trick, as we shall see.

In the early 1920s Mirsky was prepared to take the postulates of Eurasianism seriously, but with some real reservations, as prolegomena to a theory of Russian history, and even -- before he completely repudiated essentialist and idealist concepts and became a Marxist -- a theory of 'the Russian idea'. He stated his position with. absolute clarity to Suvchinsky in his second letter written on 4 December 1922; this is notwithstanding the fact that, as we have seen, Suvchinsky had already claimed him as a convert:

The first thing is that, though I accept absolutely that Russia is a specific cultural-historical type (to use Danilevsky's language), I consider it to be neither absolutely shut off and impenetrable nor absolutely alien to the West. Spengler is accused (and rightly so) of overlooking Christianity, and the same thing should not happen to us, for the West after all is Christian, and with all the conviction I can muster I insist that both Rome and Luther are closer to me than Islam. The Christian world is one thing and Asia another. Just as India and China are closer to each other than either of them is to us. I agree that we (thanks to the Greeks) possess a purer ideal of Christian faith, but I cannot consign St Francis and Pascal to the outer darkness. 56

Second, and going on from that. I cannot consider Orthodoxy to be the property of the Russian people alone; Orthodoxy was created (in so far as it was created by human beings at all) by the Egyptians, the Syrians, and the Greeks .... And no matter how low the faith has sunk in the Balkans, we are nevertheless a province of Orthodoxy. ... In short, the mystical identification of Russia with Orthodoxy I most emphatically do not accept, and in general I do not accept the heresy of being Chosen by God. Let's leave that to the Yids. In all this there is a great danger of relativism, exactly that.

Mirsky adds a postscript to this disquisition that characteristically broadens the horizons of his argument in a way that would not have occurred to many Russians; it is worth remembering that the 'Troubles' were at their height when he arrived in England in 1921: 'In Europe there is another Eurasia, you know -- Ireland. It's just as alien to the Germano-Roman world as we are. Which doesn't in the least mean that it's especially close to us.' Suvchinsky kept badgering Mirsky for a contribution to one of the Eurasian publications, but Mirsky fended him off, in the process making one of his most revealing statements about himself, on 11 August 1923:

I'll be happy to write something for you later on, if you're willing to take on someone who's so lacking in seriousness that he's a Eurasian in even years and a European in odd ones. In general, though, I'm a man without convictions, and a born (though not always open) enemy of ideas in general. So just try doing business with me.

Mirsky's only contribution to the coterie publications of the Eurasian movement was an essay on Avvakum, a Russian parallel to the preface he-had provided for the Harrison-Mirrlees translation; it displays the same heightened vivacity and resonance compared to the English as do the other writings on the same subject in the two languages. 57 And it contains the most trenchant statement Mirsky ever made of his views on the Russian literary language and how he thought it should be written. He was concerned here not so much with the language of creative writing as with that of journalism and criticism. Mirsky regarded the 'newspaper' Russian of the intelligentsia as degenerate, debased by 'Westernizing' influences and scholasticism, and he constantly promoted a specific succession of writers who in his view remained creatively rooted in the soil of colloquialism: Avvakum, Derzhavin, Field Marshal Suvorov, Admiral Shishkov (Mirsky's admiration for these two non-literary men is entirely characteristic of him), Griboedov, and Leskov. Coming nearer to his own time; Mirsky added two more names to this list, arguing that the literary language

needs to be shaken up and moved along .... This is something that has to be done, and everyone has to do it for himself Everyone must once more come to feel the weight and significance of words, the resistance of the material. This is what Tolstoy did in his time .... and after him Rozanov did the same. One should not write like Avvakum, like Tolstoy, like Rozanov---one must oneself do the same work that Avvakum, Tolstoy, and Rozanov did. 58

Mirsky followed this advice in his own written Russian, which has a rugged vitality that his English lacks; he manifestly does not feel 'the resistance of the material' in his second language. Among the Russian creative ·writers of his own time, Mirsky discerned the linguistic quality he was looking for in one man and woman: Aleksey Remizov and Marina Tsvetaeva.


Despite his· reservations about an outright Eurasianist contribution, Mirsky had evidently decided by late 1925 that he and Suvchinsky could do business with each other. Remizov and Shestov, two giants of the older generation, were on the scene and unattached. Mirsky and Suvchinsky brought them in; but a serious enterprise eventually coalesced because of the arrival in Paris of a woman of their own generation, the poet Marina Tsvetaeva.

Remizov had a firmly established, though· not popular, reputation by the time he left Russia, while Tsvetaeva was not widely known at all. With Remizov, Mirsky concentrated from his earliest years in emigration on transmitting knowledge of his work to the English-speaking public and providing him with a Russian-language outlet for his new writings.59 With Tsvetaeva, beginning from the time he met her at the end of 1925, Mirsky did the same; but acted primarily as the first serious critic to establish what he saw as her major status with what he knew all too well to be the exiguous Russian reading public of the emigration.

Both Remizov and Tsvetaeva were profoundly innovatory writers, but their originality stemmed not so much from what they had to. say, which was fairly unremarkable, but from the way they said it. They were therefore the hardest kind of writer to translate, and at an increased disadvantage in emigration compared with those writers who were stylistically conventional, like Bunin and Aldanov; Neither of them could ever become a really popular writer with foreign readers, but Mirsky exerted mighty efforts to promote them, working in parallel for both the English and the Russians.

Aleksey Remizov (1877-1957) came from a Moscow merchant family; next after Gorky, his were the humblest social origins of anyone Mirsky ever knew well.60 Remizov was arrested in November 1896 at a Moscow University student demonstration, imprisoned, and then exiled to Penza. He was rearrested there in 1898 for involvement in revolutionary political activity among railway workers, exiled to Vologda province, and then amnestied by P. D. Svyatopolk-Mirsky in 1903; when he was Minister of the Interior, Mirsky's father also gave Remizov permission to return to Petersburg. Remizov lived in the capital until war broke out in 1914. It was here, as we have seen, that the schoolboy Mirsky was introduced to him and his wife by Mikhail Kuzmin.

Remizov's wife and inseparable companion was Serafima Pavlovna Dovgello (1876-1943). Born in the Chernigov area, she went to the famous Bestuzhev Courses for Women and the Institute of Archaeology in St Petersburg, and she was a pupil of Platonov, the man Mirsky called 'the greatest of our modern historians'.61 Serafima Pavlovna was a devout Orthodox Christian and also a revolutionary, the favourite 'grandchild' of Ekaterina Breshko-Breshkovskaya, 'the grandmother of the Russian revolution'. Eventually she was arrested. She spent a year in solitary confinement, and was then exiled for three years to Vologda, which is where she met Remizov in 1902; they married in 1903. The marriage was opposed by Serafima Pavlovna's parents, and she was disinherited. The Remizovs had a daughter, Natalya (1904-43), who became estranged from her parents while she was still a girl, lived with Serafima Pavlovna's family, and remained in Russia.

The Remizovs moved to Paris in the autumn of 1923. In the spring of 1924 they moved to the apartment where Mirsky saw most of them, one of the most famous addresses of Russian Paris -- the Villa Flore at 24 avenue Mozart, in the swanky 16th arrondissement, where they stayed for three years. Serafima Pavlovna was a massively corpulent woman with a chronic liver complaint, while he was a frail, gnome-like, twisted manikin. She was direct and outspoken, and he was evasive and sly. Both Remizovs, and Aleksey Mikhailovich especially, essentially lived in a fantasy world, invented on the basis of their mutual fascination with the pre-Petrine Russian past. Reality for them came to an end in the late seventeenth century. Remizov started to cultivate his legend as a rejected and misunderstood writer very early; his incorrigible self-pity and self-promotion were weapons for his shameless cadging. He was not seriously interested in politics, but he remained loyal to his early Socialist orientation and never came out publicly with any anti-Soviet views. He thereby earned the suspicion and mistrust of a large segment of the emigration.

The most signal accolade Mirsky bestowed on Remizov was to incorporate him into the advisory board of Vyorsts in 1926, along with Tsvetaeva and Lev Shestov, and publish some new writing by him in all three issues of the enterprise. The presence of Shestov on this editorial board was an anomaly for contemporary commentators, who could not see what he had in common with the others. Shestov was in fact a marginal figure, and he remained so.


Mirsky's most important contribution to the literary life of the Russian emigration was made in connection with Tsvetaeva and her work. 62 And his personal relationship with her was the closest he ever had with a writer, with the possible exception of Remizov. In early December 1925, Tsvetaeva moved to Paris from Prague, where she had been living since 1922. On 16 December 1925 Mirsky told Suvchinsky that he would like to meet Tsvetaeva; the meeting evidently took place soon after Mirsky got to Paris for the ensuing Chrstmas vacation. His relationship with Tsvetaeva dominated the next six months of his personal life.

From the beginning, Mirsky's relattonshtp wtth Tsvetaeva mvolved another of his closest friends, Princess Salomeya Nikolaevna Halpern, nee Andronikova (1888-1982). Long afterwards, the Halperns became very friendly with Isaiah Berlin, and he wrote a characteristically scintillating memoir of them. 63 I showed Berlin Mirsky's letters to Salomeya, and his response illustrates very well the dangers of assuming that everybody between whom one can prove acquaintanceship always knows everything their other acquaintances know:

I had no idea that [Mirsky] was so close to Salome (as I called her) -- neither she nor her husband ever mentioned his name to me. I have a notion that their entire White/Red Russian world was locked away, and not a subject for conversation with unsound people like me who were strictly anti-Communist. I have no idea why Salome was so passionately pro-Soviet -- I blame myself for not ever putting the question to her; I cannot think why I did not -- but I suppose she was part of the general movement of Eurasia, Suvchinsky, etc., which gravitated in that direction -- although Suvchinsky had close relations with Stravinsky, who was rigidly anti-Soviet all his life.[/quote]

Marina Tsvetaeva's husband, Sergey Yakovlevich Efron (1893-1941), came from two prominent radical intelligentsia families. His father's side of the family is known to all literate Russians because a member of it was responsible for the most comprehensive work of reference published in Russia before 1917 -- its usefulness continued to grow as the Soviet authorities attempted to replace it, and it is still indispensable -- the encyclopedia usually referred to simply as 'Brockhaus-Efron'. On his mother's side Efron was a Durnovo, a family which like the Efrons belonged to the solid radical intelligentsia, but which was more politically active and undeviatingly on the left.

Sergey Efron and Tsvetaeva hardly saw each other between 1916 and 1922. Quite unlike Mirsky, Efron was an amateur soldier; like many sprigs of the intelligentsia he originally joined up in 1916 as a medical orderly (as did Brecht and Hemingway, and Walt Whitman before them); but he was a front-line officer in the White army. Tsvetaeva and their daughter Ariadna joined Efron in Prague after finding out his whereabouts from Ilya Erenburg. In 1924-6 Efron was one of the editors of an extremely interesting periodical called By Our Own Paths (Svoimi putyami), the earliest attempt by the younger generation of adult emigres to give expression to their views.

Although Mirsky's more intense relationship was with Tsvetaeva, Efron was named as one of the three editors of Vyorsts. The evidence available suggests that he was not a leading policy-maker, but was used as a glorified secretary mainly to provide him with some sort of income. Efron has always, inevitably, been seen through his wife's eyes by people who are primarily interested in her. He is usually written off as a hopelessly idealistic individual who was incapable of 'supporting' her, and who eventually brought about her downfall by selling out to the Soviets. In all this, Tsvetaeva is usually portrayed as a political innocent who had no real idea of what her husband was up to. It is sometimes said that he was incapable of earning any money, which is manifestly inaccurate, an allegation enthusiastically promoted by his wife to boost her begging. Efron had a Czech government grant up to the end of 1925. After that he had some income from Vyorsts and Eurasia; after that he soon started to get money from Soviet sources. He probably actually earned as much as Tsvetaeva, but the handouts from the Halpern-Mirsky source and Raisa Lomonosova were directed primarily to supporting her as a creative artist, and he was a beneficiary. Efron's published writings and his letters show him to have been a highly intelligent and perceptive person, if erring on the side of idealism rather than cynicism.

Tsvetaeva's first reading in Paris took place on 6 February 1926, and it was a triumph that she never managed to repeat. By this time Mirsky had gone back to start his teaching term in London, and he was not present. But on 2 3 January I 926 he had written to Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams enlisting her help in organizing and publicizing a reading by Tsvetaeva in London. 65 He wrote four letters altogether, exploring various possibilities; by 25 February he was able to send her ten tickets for the reading. On 27 February Mirsky published the first substantial article ever to appear about Tsvetaeva in English, in the New Statesman, which was edited at the time by Leonard Woolf.66

Tsvetaeva was in London from 11 to 25 March 1926. On the day she arrived, she wrote a letter to Suvchinsky for his eyes alone. It contains one of the most startling statements she ever put down on paper about her personal relationships and her triadic theory of human relations:

How much I lack an elder in life, and how much at this moment, in London, I miss you! My interlocutor [Mirsky] keeps silent, and so I'm the one who does the talking. And I have no idea whether what I say goes home or not. After all, I can't see people at all, especially close up, 67 in a relationship I need a firm hand leading me, so that the leitmotif doesn't come from me. And nobody wants (perhaps nobody is able!) to take this upon themselves, they wait for me to lead, me, who all my life have been one of the LED! ... I need the calmness of the other person and the calmness I feel on his behalf. What am I to do with human silence? It oppresses me, deflects me, knocks me down, and I fill it with content that's perhaps completely inappropriate. If he's silent, that means things are bad. What can I do to make it good? I'm becoming unnatural, forced-jolly, completely vacuous, completely concentrated on one concern-not to let the air in the room be silent. Yesterday, in the course of a single evening, I expended so much that I feel -- and the night didn't help! -- completely beggared. The silence of the other person means that I have to expend, for nothing, in vain. The man doesn't talk. Doesn't talk, just looks. And here am I hypnotized by silence, watching-and what? -- enemy forces!

'I'm a difficult person. Will you be able to stand me for these two weeks?' Long pause. 'What about you standing me?'

I would like simplicity, calm, certitude. But the other is no help, with his immobility challenging me to complexity, confusion, doubt, something obviously not mine, and it's made me feel humiliated, I'm suffering. You know what it's like when there's false air between people? Not reliable, soon to explode.

Ah, I think I get it! I can't stand it when a person is filled with me. I can't stand the responsibility. I want him to be mine, my own, but not me. After all, I don't love myself (personally), I love what's mine. Something that coincides with what's mine, that's the thing. Otherwise, eventually, it's loneliness, non-meeting, passing by without meeting. If two people come together in a third,-yes. But two people can never meet in one of the two or in each other. X loves Y, and Y loves X = isolation. X loves Y and Y also Y =isolation. X loves Z and Y loves Z =meeting. Z =his own (for X and for Y), what coincides is that both X and Y are superior. 68

In 1925, the same year as Tsvetaeva, Konstantin Rodzevich (1895-1988) had moved from Prague to Paris; he became an active Eurasian, and a friend of Mirsky, though not a close one. Rodzevich emigrated from Russia after service in the Civil War, and in Prague in the autumn of 1923 he had a passionate affair with Tsvetaeva, who immortalized it in two of her greatest works, Poem of the Mountain and Poem of the End. Rodzevich's view of Tsvetaeva, and the views of many other witnesses of their affair, has been amply discussed in the massive biographical literature on Tsvetaeva, and also represented in a few poor words by Rodzevich himself Many years later, Rodzevich spoke about the relationship between Mirsky and Tsvetaeva in London; the banality of his version of it could not be further from the soaring fancy of hers: 'There was one incident when they were in a restaurant together facing each other across. the table. She said something offensive to him and he turned his chair round and sat with his back to her. She often used to demonstrate for us how he did it, and she would tell this story with humour but also with annoyance. '69

Tsvetaeva gave her reading at the School of Slavonic Studies on 12 March 1926, the day after she wrote her extraordinary letter to Suvchinsky. Mirsky introduced the· reading. Two years later Tsvetaeva recalled the occasion: 'Poems, with an introductory statement by Prince Svyatopolk-Mirsky, of which I understood only my own name, and even that in phonetic transcription into English!'70 But writing to Suvchinsky on 15 March, she said that Mirsky began by heaping disgrace on Chekhov, who was, he said, more distant from him than some Chinese poet he had never read. She also said that her poems had 'struck home'. Mirsky reported to Suvchinsky on 16 March that the reading had been a success, especially financially.

In this same letter Tsvetaeva reported to Suvchinsky that she had been to see the Golitsyns. She and Mirsky were .driven to Chessington by a White Russian veteran called Rastorguev. I talked to 'Rasti' in 1974 and with bated breath asked this unique surviving eyewitness what Mirsky and Tsvetaeva had said to each other during the journey. He replied with considerable satisfaction that they had said nothing in his presence, because he did all the talking himself. Tsvetaeva asked questions about the White army (at the time she was beginning work on Perekop; the long poem about the final episodes of the Civil War), and Rastorguev gave her his account of it, while Mirsky sat silently, in a huff, not wanting to dredge up his past.

Towards the end of the time she spent in London, on 24 March 1926, Tsvetaeva wrote to her Czech benefactress, Anna Teskova, that this had been her first two weeks of freedom for eight years:

I'm going back tomorrow. I'm glad, but also sorry. London is wonderful. Wonderful river, wonderful trees, wonderful children, wonderful dogs, wonderful cats, wonderful fireplaces and wonderful British Museum. Not wonderful is only the chill brought in by the ocean. And the dreadful crossing. (I just lay there without raising my head.) I wrote a big article here. I finished it in a week, at home it would have taken six.71

The 'big article' was 'Poet on Critic', one of Tsvetaeva's most scathing pieces of invective. Towards the end of it she singles out Mirsky for approval as distinguished from the vast mass of critics by not judging poetry in terms of politics. This was perhaps the highest accolade the critic Mirsky ever received during his lifetime, and from the harshest critic.


The editors of Vyorsts, and especially Mirsky, faced demoralizing difficulties in their struggle to publish literature in Russian when there were not enough customers to make this an economically viable enterprise.72 These practical difficulties, in addition to the inevitable clashes of personality within the editorial board, led to the closure of the journal after three annual issues, which is by no means an indication of failure. The journal stands as one of the most enduring literary monuments of the prewar Russian emigration; an unusually small proportion of its contents are dross, and it contains several masterpieces. It was Mirsky's finest Russian-language achievement.

The idea of founding a literary journal crops up from time to time in Mirsky's letters to Suvchinsky from the very beginning of their relationship in 1922. Suvchinsky clearly expected Mirsky to find the funding for the enterprise. The immediate stimulus for getting things off the ground was Tsvetaeva's arrival on the Paris scene in December 1925. During the early months of 1926 Mirsky was working out editorial policy and drumming up financial support for the project. He went first to Jane Harrison, who immediately stumped up £50 of the £200 Mirsky reckoned he needed, and recommended several other useful contacts. 73 One of them was Leonard Woolf; in writing to him, Mirsky follows Harrison's advice and presents the enterprise as belonging purely to the realm of aesthetics, and staying out of politics. The letter was written from IS Torrington Square, London WCI, on 1 February 1926:

I have been writing to Miss Harrison about a plan I have, & she has responded with even more than ordinary kindness & helpfulness. She has also advised me to write about it to you. This is the matter: as you probably know the Russian press outside Russia is entirely under the control of the leaders of the emigre political parties, who give their columns to independent & non-political writers (novelists & poets) only in so far as those conform to their political demands. It thus happens that, for instance, the two writers who to my best understanding are the most significant writers outside Russia -- Remizov & Marina Tsvetayeva (as well as others of minor but still considerable significance) have practically had their mouths stopped. For their works are either refused publication, or censored in a most ridiculous way. The Russian money available outside Russia is also all at the service of the political parties, and thus Russian Literature abroad is in the same situation as Balaam, -- the prophet silenced & the ass alowed to prophecy [sic]. I am trying to find money in England for a magazine that would be free from political control, and that might unite under one cover independent writers living in & outside Russia. The main group of contributors here will be Remizov, Shestov, Marina Tsvetayeva and myself, and we hope to have the support of several writers living in [the] USSR, including especially Pasternak, Mandelstam, Babel & Shklovsky.

I would be infinitely grateful to you if you could help me in this affair by your advice. Miss Harrison suggests that Mr. Keynes might take an interest in it. But I do not know him. Do you think it would be possible to approach him about it? He has met Remizov in Paris at Miss Harrison's, and Mrs Keynes74 (Miss H. tells me) very much took to him .... 75

Keynes did in fact donate £20. Mirsky got another substantial donation from Mrs Meyrisch, the wife of a Luxembourg steel magnate, who was involved in the Pontigny meetings. On 8 February 1926 Mirsky wrote to Suvchinsky about how he saw the publication: it would be an issue of about 240 pages, with a print run of 1,000 or even 2,000 copies. The title was decided upon after some argument between the prime movers. The word Vyorsts refers to an old Russian unit of linear measure, just over one kilometer, and it also refers to the posts that indicated these distances along the sides of the main roads; it has often been translated as ‘Mileposts’. Tsvetaeva had published a collection of poetry with this title in two editions in 1922. The inside cover announced that the journal was ‘edited by Prince D.P. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, P.P. Suvchinsky, and S. Ya. Efron, with the closest cooperation of Aleksey Remizov, Marina Tsvetaeva, and Lev Shestov’.


Mirsky made his single most controversial contribution to literary polemic in the Russian émigré community in connection with the launch of Byorsts. On 5 April 1926, at the same location, 79 avenue Denfert-Rochereau, where Tsvetaeva had given her reading in February, he delivered his lecture on ‘The Ambience of Death in Pre-revolutionary Russian Literature’. The occasion was announced as being organized by the editorial board of Byorsts, and it was chaired by Suvchinsky. The lecture was attended by many famous figures who after it were to become Mirsky’s implacable enemies; they included Adamovich, Aldanov, Bunin, Gippius and Merezhkovsky, Khodasevich, and Zaitsev. Khodasevich left a description of Mirsky’s performance; in an undated letter to Prince Shakhovskoy, he minimizes the number of important people who were there:

Sv. M. just gave a proclamatory lecture; he’d sent out invitations to take part in discussion following it. Of those invited, only Bunin, Aldanov and I turned up. We didn’t sit through to the discussion –- we left after the lecture, which was rubbish of a kind nobody (even I) expected from Svyat. It was a disaster for him, and Bunin, Aldanov, and I celebrated in a bar.76

When the text of the lecture was published the following year in the second issue of Byorsts, Mirsky added a postscript, saying that it aroused

the indignation of the entire émigré sinedrion.77 I can only rejoice in the indignation of the majority of my accusers. As for the epigones and nihilists who take pride in their corpse-like odour, I would not wish to hold any opinions in common with them, and I consider their condemnation the highest form of praise.78

Zinaida Shakhovskaya, the sister of the ‘well-intentioned’ Prince, was present at this occasion; she accompanied the Remozovs. She reports that Mirsky spoke ‘with exemplary cleverness’, at one point declaring emphatically: ‘as the eminent Russian writer Kundyshin once said’. When they were all leaving the building someone asked in confusion: ‘Forgive me, Dima, I can’t quite seem to recall who Kundyshin was.’ ‘He wasn’t anybody,’ said Mirsky solemnly, ‘I made him up.’79

This address did indeed mark a parting of the ways for Mirsky with the established powers of the emigration; after it, he published nothing in the Russian émigré press that was not edited by himself. The first sentence of the piece is categorical: ‘The entire literature of the last reign is shot through with a spirit of death and decay.’ The subsequent argument, in characteristic fashion for Mirsky’s critical writing, images the sociological through the somatic, and contrasts sickness with health. Mirsky explains that he is talking about ‘historical death, the death of a cultural formation, the body of culture’, and he has in mind what he customarily refers to as ‘Petersburg culture’, that is, Russian culture from the early eighteenth century to 1917. The culture of the dvoryanstvo was mortally wounded by the Decembrist debacle, and the culture of the intelligentsia that succeeded it was mortally wounded by the rout of the People’s Will. By the early twentieth century, says Mirsky, Petersburg culture had an ‘upper storey’, inhabited by the ‘decadents’ and the religious philosophers, and a ‘lower storey’, in which lived the Chekhovian intelligentsia and the revolutionary parties, which had ‘lost their soul’. There was no staircase connecting them. The writers of the lower storey, says Mirsky, had no sense of purpose, and the most symptomatic case among them was that of Gorky’s ‘passionate thirst for truth and tragic inability to find it’. Bunin, Artsybashev, and Andreev were all obsessed by the theme of death. On the upper storey, the ‘decomposition of the spirit’ that came out of Dostoevsky and Solovyov [Soloviev], the latter with his ‘mystical eroticism’, degenerated into ‘subterranean necrophilia, pathophilia, and a love for non-existence’, the latter most strongly expressed in the poetry of Gippius. When the Revolution brought about the historical death of ‘Petersburg Russia’, the inhabitants of the upper storey ‘greeted it like the Juggernaut, with a frenzy of horror and self-destruction’. The tonality of Russian literature began to change; it underwent what Mirsky calls, emphasizing the phrase, a liberating impoverishment. In explaining what he means, Mirsky resorts to his pet surgical metaphor:

In literature this was connected with formalism, futurism, and acmeism. The significance of all three lay in their amputation of the spirit, which was so far gone in decomposition that it could not be healed. But ferrum sanat, and to save the organism the decomposing spirit was removed. This operation may not have saved us, but had it not happened, it would have been impossible for us to be saved. (Thus, the Revolution itself was a crisis that could have been followed by either death or recovery, but without it recovery was impossible.)80

The remaining sentences of ‘The Ambience of Death’ hint that recovery is in progress, saluting the birth of ‘a new phase of the Russian spirit’, a ‘Renaissance of the Heroic’, which has been foreshadowed in the work of Gumilyov, and which can be found at its best in Pasternak and Tsvetaeva, and in ‘many of the young writers working in Russia’.81 This peroration could well be read as a manifesto for what was to come in Vyorsts.

Mirsky’s lecture and its later publication had unpleasant ramifications. ‘The problem of death’ and ways of ‘overcoming’ it formed a substantial element in the intellectual fabric of modernist Russian culture, and were articulated principally in the thought of Nikolay Fyodorov (1828-1903), with which Mirsky toyed when he was a Eurasian and which he then swiftly rejected when he became a Marxist. Though this aspect of his work seems not to have been much remarked upon by his contemporaries or his more recent critics, Fyodorov was manifestly obsessed by the idea of resurrecting the dead as a way of avoiding the necessity for human sexual reproduction, for which he had a pathological aversion – few others have tried to build a philosophical system on loathing for female genitalia. Strikingly, those Russians who became most vehement on the subject of the ‘culture of death’ in the mid-1920s were themselves physically sterile: Mirsky, Khodasevich, Gippius, and Bunin in the emigration, and Mayakovsky back in Russia. Which of their ways out was the most deplorable: Mirsky’s Stalinism, Khodasevich’s nihilism, Bunin and Gippius’s sour misanthropy masquerading as Christianity, or Mayakovsky’s suicide?


The three issues of Vyorsts were fairly standard in terms of the way Russian ‘thick journals’ and literary almanacs tend to be put together. Poetry and fiction lead the way, followed by critical articles, and then come reviews. The principal formal innovation in Vyorsts was to reprint a substantial text as a supplement bound in with each issue. What mattered most about Vyorsts was that works by authors resident in the USSR are presented side by side with émigré writing, as represented chiefly by Remizov and Tsvetaeva. The marginal place occupied by Shestov’s work in the journal is particularly remarkable; he was named as an associate editor, but the only piece by him that appeared in Vyorsts was transferred into the first issue from Contemporary Notes because of delays in publication by that journal.82

The first number of Vyorsts occupies 269 closely printed pages of very good quality rag paper, using a bewildering variety of founts and both New and Old orthography. It includes five outstanding items. The first is Tsvetaeva’s Poem of the Mountain, written in Prague in 1924, and the greatest love poem in twentieth-century Russian literature. After it came nearly 100 pages of miscellaneous literary matter, punctuated by one of the most extraordinary pieces of sentimental whimsy Remizov ever created. Under the title ‘In very Truth’, it is an open letter addressed to the writer Mirsky several times said was the greatest of his time, Remizov’s old friend Vasily Rozanov, the seventieth anniversary of whose birth fell in 1926, but who had died in 1919. Remizov brings Rozanov up to date on what has happened in Russian culture since then, with heavy emphasis on his own doings.83 Not too many pages later comes a factually expert and copiously illustrated overview of the music of Stravinsky by Artur Lurie.84 Lurie continued this survey in the third issue of Vyorsts with a piece on Stravinsky’s two controversial operas, Mavra (1922) and Odeipus Rex, which was brand new when Lurie wrote about it in May 1927. Lurie’s first essay is followed by some turgid stuff by Suvchinsky and Mirsky’s perfunctory ‘Poets and Russia’.

After Mirsky’s contribution comes a magnificent essay, ‘Three Capitals’, on the hoary theme of the contrasts between Petersburg, Moscow, and Kiev; this one, though, has never really been bettered. It is signed ‘E. Bogdanov’, which was a pseudonym adopted for his own good reasons by the religious philosopher Georgy Fedotov (1886-1951), who had left Russia only the year before. And in the reviews section comes Mirsky’s devastating survey of Contemporary Notes and The Will of Russia, which he reads as the sepulchers of the right and left wings respectively of the old Socialist Revolutionary Party. It was in this context that Mirsky delivered an insult that has never been forgotten or forgiven; he describes Vladislav Khodasevich as ‘that little subterranean Baratynsky, the favourite poet of everyone who doesn’t like poetry’. The supplement to the first issue of Vyorsts presented the complete text of The Life of the Archpriest Avvakum, which had been specially edited and copied out for the purpose by Remizov.


Predictably, the first issue of Vyorsts was met largely with contempt by the leading lights in émigré literature; equally predictably, it was Khodasevich who eventually made the heavyweight pronouncement, prompted by Gippius.85 Khodasevich’s long article in Contemporary Notes was the first systematic attempt to destroy the credibility of the man Khodasevich calls ‘our worker-peasant prince’ by writing him off as a politically motivated opportunist, who would uncritically and unscrupulously say anything whatsoever to promote the Soviet cause; there is a constant insinuation that Mirsky has somehow been bought and is acting under instructions from Moscow.86 The next public assault on Mirsky of this kind would come from the Soviet dramatist Vishnevsky after Mirsky had returned to Russia, and there is a ghoulish similarity in tone between his article and Khodasevich’s. The personal animus in both is unmistakable.

Khodasevich points out that the émigré contributors to Vyorsts were all against Lenin’s revolution when it happened, but insinuated that they were too cowardly to do anything overt: ‘One of the editors, S. Ya Elfron, took up arms against it. Where Messrs. Suvchinsky and Bogdanov, Prince Trubetskoy, Svyatopolk-Mirsky himself, and the others were at the time – we know not.’ This is an obvious provocation, fishing to get Mirsky the proto-Communist to declare his credentials as a White officer, which Khodasevich must have known about full well. Meanwhile, the now whiter-than-white Khodasevich had originally accepted the revolution, and remained in Russia until 1922, working for Soviet institutions.

The editors of Contemporary Notes were hesitant about publishing the piece by Khodasevich, and in the esvent it came out with significant cuts, which have never been described in detail.87 Whatever these were, there cannot be much doubt about the main reason for the editors’ hesitation. In another provocative phrase that was left in the article, Khodasevich accused Suvchinskiy of gleefully anticipating a ‘good old Russian pogrom’ – ‘which is not very polite in a journal where one of the editors is S. Ya. Efron, and among the contributors are Pasternak, Babel, L.I. Shestov and Artur Lurie’. The editors of Vyorsts deal with this accusation and several others in their indignant repudiation of this slur.88 All the members of the editorial board of Contemporary Notes happened to be Jewish; Khodasevich was the son of a Polish father and a mother who was an ardent convert to Catholicism, the daughter of a notorious Jewish anti-Semite.

Like Mirsky, Khodasevich was a sterile and deeply neurotic man, but unlike Mirsky, he always opted to cohabit with women. He reached the age of 40 in 1926; the fount of his superb poetry dried up soon after. The studied Pushkinian form of his poetry articulates one of the most devastating expressions in Russian of the spiritual aridity that Mirsky spoke about so often with reference to postwar Europe.89 But Khodasevich drew conservative conclusions, while Mirsky did the opposite. Instead of poetry, Khodasevich subsequently gave himself to writing literary journalism of increasing biliousness, and to his obsession with card games. He never wrote literary history on the scale that Mirsky did; instead, he tended to do the opposite and write concise personal memoirs about the writers he had known, and they are among the very best of their kind in Russian. Notwithstanding the radical difference in their politics, Khodasevich’s literary views and many particular emphases in them are very similar to Mirskyi’s, and the acuity of his literary judgment is the equal of Mirsky’s; he is the only Russian contemporary besides Gumilyov of whom this can be said. The spectacle of the two most gifted critical minds of the emigration tearing at each other in the way Mirsky and Khodasevich did is one of the most dismal in the unhappy story of Russia Abroad.

Khodasevich’s allegations about the editors of Vyorsts tuckling to the Soviets were countered, unbeknownst to him, from the horse’s mouth. The editors of Vyorsts sent a copy of the first issue to Russia; to whom it was addressed is not clear, but it came into the hands of the appropriate official, M. Arseniev, Political Editor of the Leningrad branch of the Soviet censorship, Glavlit (Foreign Literature Sub-Section). His report is concise and to the point:

A collection of work by Russian authors, published, so the preface says, for genuinely Russian people presently living outside the country. The entire collection is saturated with an anti-Soviet tendency and with hatred for the Bolsheviks. The collection is alien to our ideology. Conclusion: ‘Prohibit’.90


Mirsky visited Tsvetaeva in St Gilles-sur-Vie in the Vendee soon after 15 July 1926.91 By this time, their relationship was starting to cool off; Tsvetaeva was deep into her next obsession after Mirsky, the triangular epistolary relationship with Pasternak and Rainer Maria Rilke that has been extensively documented and discussed.92 As for Mirsky, this was the time that he was feverishly putting the finishing touches to his History. On 30 September 1926 Mirsky wrote one of his best staff officer’s dispatches to Suvchinsky:

I was at Shestov’s yesterday. He reproached us, and I think he’s right, for not paying any attention to the Orthodox philosophers, Berdyaev and so on, and he says that we should at least write something about The Way,93 and about Ilin’s book (Resistance to Evil).94 This seems essential to me, but 1) we can’t have a Yid writing about it, 2) Ilin and Karsavin don’t inspire my trust, and consequently it has to be you that writes it – tertium non datur. I’ve had a letter from Marina where she 1) demands a reply about whether we agree to give her 2,500 francs for Theseus and if so when, and if we can’t agree we’ve to pass it on to The Will of Russia! I don’t think this amount excessive, but this kind of ultimatumish behavior is completely improper 2) She demands a reply about whether Seryozha [Efron] will be getting 500 francs per month, and if not, she’ll get him another position and he’ll work for Vyorsts only in the time he has free from his duties 3) Finally, she’s very much against Schmidt.95

One other thing – the distribution of Vyorsts. It’s shamefully badly set up. Efron is an incredible arsehole.

Shortly before he vented his feelings in this way, on 6 September 1926, Mirsky wrote, from what was now after the death of his mother the house he and his sisters owned at Courbevoie, to Salomeya Halpern about Marina Tsvetaeva, and informed her that he was sending some money to the poet at St Gilles. This was the beginning of the financial support system Mirsky and Halpern organized; for six years it constituted the nearest thing Tsvetaeva had to a regular income.

During the winter of 1926-7 Mirsky was putting together what became the second issue of Vyorsts. On 23 January 1927 he told Suvchinsky:

I do not wish to continue publishing Vyorsts according to the formula as it is now. I wouldn’t mind, but two factors get in the way: a growing and completely insuperable revulsion (not in the figurative sense, but simply inhibition, impossibility) towards Efron and Marina. Any dealings with them whatsoever, spoken or written, are complete torture for me. I’m exaggerating a big, but this is a very serious matter. Secondly, my role as drummer-up of funds is even more revolting for me than having to deal with the Efrons. It’s absolutely not my line, and no matter what you might say to me about my obligations and so on, I’m getting totally impotent in this respect – I just can’t rise to it [the sexual innuendo is more explicit in Mirsky’s Russian] – there’s nothing more to say. And so I propose the following scheme: instead of these huge bricks of ours let’s publish small collections of articles. I’d say we could bring out the first one by summer, made up of you, me, maybe Fedotov, maybe Karsavin or Shestov … not both of them …. And a new title (not Vyorsts), but we could put Vyorsts Publishers on it. What think you?

There were several other reasons for this change in attitude. One of them involved Pasternak. On 12 January 1927 Tsvetaeva wrote a letter to Pasternak accompanying one by Mirsky to the poet, which Mirsky had left with her to send on to Moscow. He was forced to do this because she had refused to give him Pasternak’s home address, and she implored Pasternak not to give it to him either, but to fob him off with something institutional. Tsvetaeva eventually sent off the letter on 9 February 1927, and added another note:

The last milestone 9versta] on your road to him: please send your letter to him open, so as to teach the critic hierarchy and the prince, politeness. (A note on Hierarchy: a poet and a critic cannot have a secret from another poet. I never name names, but in a context like that ours sound right.) Your letter to him, the open one, naturally, I shall not read.96

The letter sent on to Pasternak by Tsvetaeva was written by Mirsky from his university address in London on 8 January 1927. He enquired whether or not Pasternak had seen Vyorsts, and then switches to enthusiastic flattery:

After such material subjects I do not dare to write what I would wish to – of that great attachment that I have long felt towards you as the author especially of My Sister Life, a book which is however so bottomlessly full of content that, plunging down into it ever more deeply as I constantly do, I still do not know whether I have reached its final circle and concentration. If I could dare to hope that my evaluation might be of interest to you, I would like also to tell you that there has not been a poet such as yourself in Russia since the Golden Age, and that in Europe now there can be a contest only between you and T.S. Eliot.

I shall ask Marina Ivanovna to send this on to you, but I would be happy if you would reply to me directly at the address above and let me know yours.97

It is not difficult to imagine Tsvetaeva’s fury when she read Mirsky’s letter before sending it on – as she must inevitably have done, despite her assurance to the contrary – and discovering that Eliot rather than she was mentioned as the equal of Pasternak.

On 5 June 1928, writing to Suvchinsky, Mirsky expressed a vigorously coarse reaction to the last book Tsvetaeva published during her lifetime, which had just come out after a long delay; it finally brought together her poetry of the Prague period:

I just received Marina’s poems. I reread a lot of them and was deeply moved – what a fucking poet she is, all the same! (Kakoi vse-taki, ebi ee mat’, poet!) The one bad thing is that she wasn’t thrashed enough early enough. These years, 1922-25, are her best. Her rising line continues up to Rodzevich and with Rodzevich it breaks off.98

In a letter of 18 June 1928 to Salomeya Halpern, Mirsky says that he had attended a poetry reading the day before, by ‘that woman’ – Marina Tsvetaeva. This same date is found beneath the dedication to Mirsky in the book he reported on to Suvchinsky, After Russia: ‘To my dear friend Dmitry Petrovich Svyatopolk-Mirsky, to remind him of that Villette, that London, and that Vendee. Marina Tsvetaeva, Meudon, 17 June 1928.’99 The dedication is an obvious reproach for what happened in the preceding two years between the best poet of the emigration and her best critic.
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Re: Freda Bedi, by Wikipedia

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Part 3 of 6


The 285-page second issue of vyorsts is a manifest step down from the luxurious first. It is printed on poor-quality paper that makes it half as thick as the 1926 issue, and it has no illustrations; the first carried excellent glossy portraits of Pasternak and Tsvetaeva (demonstratively on the same page), and also studio portraits of Remizov, Shestov, and Stravinsky. The first eighty-three pages contain Tsvetaeva’s verse drama Theseus, about which Mirsky and Suvchinsky wrangled painfully with the author, trying to point out that it was far too long for their purposes and that the fee was more than they could afford. They eventually yielded, but Mirsky found Tsvetaeva’s insistence hard to forgive.

The vivid phrasing and compressed argument of Mirsky’s own essay here, the revised text of the lecture he had given in 1926 on ‘The Ambience of Death’, make it jump off the crumbling pages to this day, made even more lively by its drab, droning context. At the head of the bibliographical section, Mirsky’s survey of current Russian literature is another superb piece of compression; it looks briefly at the recent posthumous edition of Esenin, and then turns to some of the major achievements of Russian fiction of the mid-1920s, all of them by writers resident in Soviet Russia except the first, Maksim Gorky. One sentence in this review of The Artamonov Business is of particular interest in view of the fact that less than a year after he wrote it, Mirsky would meet Gorky personally and claim that he had rediscovered Russia in him. Mirsky says that into the characters of Kuzma and Tikhon ‘Gorkyi has poured all the tormented history of his own quest, in its helpless hopelessness the most tragic drama of the Russian soul. There can be no doubt that with this hopeless blundering Gorky carries a cross for all of us, we of little faith, we strutters on the spot, we Khlestakovs of the spirit ….’100

The most distinctive feature of the 1927 issue of Vyorsts was the contributions by a number of non-Russian critics, all of them commissioned by Mirsky and translated by him. His Pontigny colleagues Bernard Broethuysen and Ramon Fernandez appear here. The single most remarkable item is an essay by E.M. Forster, ‘Contemporary English Literature’, the original of which was apparently lost with the archive of Vyorsts.101 Mirsky had originally approached I.A. RIchards for a contribution, but he can surely not have been disappointed; the essay may be read as a concise version of Forster’s Aspects of the Novel, which was among the many classic books of the period that Mirsky reviewed for the London Mercury.102 The substantial review by Mirsky of T.S. Eliot’s Poems, 1905-1925 in the 1927 Vyorsts, and several other less significant items, make this issue stand out among the publications of the Russian emigration for its serious and well-informed attention to contemporary non-Russian culture. The Eliot review was the end result of a rather different plan by Mirsky, which he mooted in his letter to Suvchinsky of 11 March 1926: ‘I’ve had the idea of doing a verse translation (vers libre, like the original) of T.S. Eliot’s long poem The Hollow Men (4 pages, about 100 lines), a work of genius in terms of the concentration of its feeling for the death and impotence of post-war Europe, and it really is a very important piece in artistic terms.’103

The literary supplement of the 1927 Vyorsts is a sixty-page passage from Rozanov’s The Apocalypse of Our Time. Janko Lavrin, who had been a journalist colleague of Rozanov in St Petersburg, remembered this publication particularly well, though he thought it had been in the 1926 issue. He characterized The Apocalypse as ‘one of the most biting and vicious attacks on Socialism, Communism and so on’, and surmised that when Mirsky reprinted it he can still only have been ‘flirting’ with Communism.

Mirsky directed a mounting barrage of protests at Suvchinsky while the third issue of Vyorsts was being worked out. By 27 May 1927 he was getting desperate; he wrote to Suvchinsky, using his now familiar numbered points:

What to do about Byorsts I don’t know. It looks as if I have no options left for raising money. When I ask people about it, their answer is: 1) why do you publish such thick books? 2) why is nobody buying it? I had hoped to sink into Vyorsts my part of the proceeds from our house in Asnieres 9i.e. Courbevoie], but it still hasn’t sold, and I don’t know when it will. I could contribute from my earnings, but then I’d have to write much more in English than I’m doing now, and this would exclude the possibility of writing for Vyorsts. The Eurasian publishing house might advance us a certain amount. You can’t deny that Vyorsts is serving the Eurasian cause and has done a lot to propagandize Eurasian ideas.

Mirsky had become even more exasperated by 12 June 1927:

I’ll do all I can to get out the third issue of Vyorsts. But on the following conditions, which are absolute: 1) if you produce an article for it. This is a sine qua non and if you don’t produce one, there is decidedly nothing I can do; b) if you swear a solemn oath that you will never in any way try to persuade me to continue Vyorsts after No. 3. I’m fed up to the back teeth with it. I’ve got nothing out of it except enormous unpleasantness; none of the contributors interest me at all, apart for you, Avvakum, and Rozanov (and Pasternak, Bable, and others).

This might reasonably be taken to indicate that a breach of relations was imminent, but in fact the opposite happened. Mirsky and Suvchinsky soon made common cause in ventures quite different from those represented by Vyorsts.

If the first issue of Vyorsts had not been in any real sense ‘Eurasian’ except for the formal association with the name of Suvchinsky, the contents of the second and third have a much stronger connection with the movement.104 However, N.S. Trubetskoy appeared in the first two issues, his precise scholarly tone contrasting strongly with his surroundings on these occasions. His essays are both literary rather than linguistic.105 In the 1926 issue he published his celebrated article on one of the most interesting works of late Old Russian literature, Afonasy Nikitin’s Journey beyond the Three Seas, attempting to read it as a creative work rather than as a linguistic monument.106 To the 1927 issue Trubetskoy gave another pioneering study, on the metrics of the Russian folk chastushka, based on original material recently brought from Russia whose intermediacy is a puzzle. 107 The Eurasian flavor of Vyorsts was intensified not so much by Trubetskoy’s contributions as by the articles in the second and third issues by Lev Karsavin. His ‘Without Dogma’ in the 1927 issue is mainly about the historiographical conceptualization of the Russian Revolution, and it is a very good example of the persistent tendency in Russian high journalism to make enormous generalizations without adducing very much accurate documentation; but it does contain some valuable thoughts about historicism. The 1928 item, ‘Russia and the Jews’, was prefaced by a cautious note from the editors, and followed by a riposte from A.Z. Shteinberg, and then another piece by him, on Dostoevsky and the Jewish question.108

The other surviving patriarch of Eurasianism, P.N. Savitsky, contributed a characteristic ‘geographical essay’, ‘Towards an Understanding of the Russian Steppes’, to the third issue of Vyorsts. It is so clotted with interpolated quotations, reference material, and unexplained technical terms that it could serve as a useful model of how not to write an article, except perhaps a pseudo-scholarly one. The growing impression that some sort of maniac is at work is confirmed when after nearly thirty double-columned pages of this stuff, there is a precise date of writing following the author’s signature. The fact that Savitsky was capable of producing this amount of verbiage is surpassed by his apparent belief that it matters that he did it on 10 May 1927. And after he has signed off, Savitsky opens up again because of two new sources that he had devoured since his first discharge finally petered out.

For the third issue of Vyorsts, the editors abandoned the idea of reprinting a substantial text, and instead published three letters written in 1899 by Fyodorov, whose ideas were being taken very seriously at the time by several Eurasians. A long introduction by one of them, N.A. Setnitsky, attempts to point out the contemporary relevance of this material. Mirsky was to deal with this interest in Fyodorov among the Eurasians when he became a Marxist and came to think of Fyodorov’s writings as one of the snares on his way to enlightenment.109

The most remarkable contribution to the 1928 Vyorsts, though, came from Nikolay Berdyaev, who had published several articles in the immediately preceding years that take a respectful but eventually negative view of Eurasianism. His ‘Russian Religious Thought and the Revolution’ is an extended and slightly breast-beating historical account of the relations between the Russian intelligentsia and the revolutionary movement, in the spirit of ‘where it all went wrong’. The writing is fatally fluent and stylistically flat, with absolutely no sense of ‘the resistance of the material’ that Mirsky celebrated in the prose he liked. There is no more striking contrast than that between Berdyaev’s self-indulgent rambling and Mirsky’s crisp and specific discussions of similar subjects.

The principal difference between the last issue of Vyorsts and the two that preceded it was announced in the introductory matter: there would be no reprints of literary work originally published in the USSR. The editors claimed that they had achieved the object of their previous policy and compelled the readers outside Russia to take this writing seriously. The most provocative item in the 1926 issue was a reprint of the 1925 Party declaration on literature and the responses to it by a number of eminent writers who included Bely, Veresaev, Leonov, Shklovsky, Pasternak, Pilnyak, and A.N. Tolstoy. There is also a reptilian paragraph by one of Mirsky’s future colleagues when he became a Soviet literary critic, G. Lelevich (1901-45); at the time, this Party veteran had already failed as a poet and was becoming a militant proletarianist critic. Khodasevich made great play with all this in his essay in Contemporary Notes, alleging that the editors of Vyorsts were illustrating their conviction that literary life had now been liberated in Russia, and confronting it with his own material showing that the opposite was the case.

The selections from Soviet fiction in the 1927 issue are magnificent. They include extracts from three of the novels that Mirsky discussed in the bibliographical section of the same issue: Artyom Vesyoly’s Insurrection, Tynyanov’s wonderful historical novel Kyukhlya, and Bely’s remarkable Moscow under the Hammer. Two important names are absent from these lists of Soviet authors. In his letter to Leonard Woolf about the aims of Vyorsts, Mirsky specifically mentioned Mandelshtam and Shklovsky as authors he hoped to publish, but they did not appear. The authors selected for reprinting in Vyorsts reflect Mirsky’s taste, and his critical articles of the mid-1920s are full of praise for these two figures.

Vyorsts was Mirsky’s finest contribution to the cultural legacy of the Russian emigration, but it was achieved at the price of tremendous strain. He acted as the staff officer he was trained to be – constantly reassessing the situation, making plans, chivvying his associates to get things moving in the required direction, and threatening disciplinary action when they failed to do so. He got very little support from his co-editors; Suvchinsky in particular was continually letting him down. Tsvetaeva’s claim in various letters that it was her husband Efron who bore the main burden of producing Vyorsts is yet one more example of her self-aggrandizement, this time vicarious; he seems to have been used only for secretarial work, and Mirsky continually complains about his slackness. Meanwhile, Efron was being paid, while Mirsky was shelling out. The quality of Suvchinsky’s individual contributions to Vyorsts is truly abysmal, but fortunately there are only two of them. One stroke of good fortune was that Suvchinsky was originally supposed to write on Stravinsky, but Lure stepped in admirably when Suvchinsky failed to produce.110

It is quite clear from Mirsky’s letters that hardly any copies of Vyorsts were sold to the reading public, and that to the bitter end Mirsky was responsible for finding the money to meet the fees and production costs of the enterprise. There was no change of the series being sold to readers in Russia. In November 1926 Mirsky considered one obvious way out, analogous to the way later taken by Nabokov – to cross the language barrier, produce an English version of the more important items from the journal, and bring in a representative to handle sales in the USA. He produced the appropriate flyer, but nothing else happened.

On 27 February 1927 Mirsky wrote to Suvchinsky, expressing more strikingly than anywhere else that commitment to concision that makes his own émigré writing so bracing:

[You] can’t publish a journal that nobody buys – and if, as you assert, everybody is reading it, then it’s clear that we have to publish it in such a way as the readers can buy it, and for this there’s one condition, and this is the main thing – to write shorter pieces, which our contributors don’t know how to do – and not to print what’s not strictly necessary …. There’s nothing that can’t be fitted into 8 pages of our format …. Long articles are a holdover from the period when paper and production costs used to be cheap. That kind of writing is like still taking a dormouse from Paris to Berlin.111 I can’t forgive myself that we published Theseus. But in any case, if you can, have a word with that woman. I’ll write to her and tell her to have a word with you.[/quote]


Mirsky’s dealings with Eurasianism and the Eurasians in 1926-9 constantly confronted him with the problem of religious faith. Adherence to Orthodoxy was a fundamental tenet of Eurasianism; and Suvchinsky was a communicant member of the Church – though his then wife Vera told me that he only went to services to listen to the singing. The religious concerns of Eurasianism came to the surface in the second and third issues of Vyorsts, as we have seen, at first in connection with Karsavin and the question of the Jews.

In writing to Suvchinsky, rather than the neutral evrei (Jew), Mirsky persistently and naturally uses a word I have unavoidably translated as ‘Yid’ (zhid), which is now as thoroughly taboo in decent Russian company as it is in English. For a man of Mirsky’s generation and background this would probably have been a habitual term that did not necessarily imply any animosity or contempt. In this regard as in so many others, Mirsky was something of a special case. In general, in the social circles in which he grew up, and especially in the elite reaches of the officer corps, anti-Semitism was endemic and virulent. It is quite likely that Mirsky was not personally acquainted with anyone Jewish before 1918, just as he was not personally acquainted with any professional women; there was no reason why such people should have crossed his horizon. The one exception can only have been the schoolmate with whom Mirsky made his literary debut, Victor Zhirmunsky, the son of a prosperous Petersburg laryngologist. In view of all this, Mirsky’s subsequent attitude is remarkable, because in his adult life and writings he seems to have been without prejudice. If anything, he was somewhat philo-Semitic. He several times went out of his way to point to the superior cultural achievements of Russian Jewry compared to those of ethnic Russians since 1917; suffice it to mention Pasternak, Mandelshtam, and Babel. There were many others. Mirsky rather blots his copybook writing to Suvchinsky on 4 March 1927 when he observed that ‘the only idea of Trubetskoy’s about the Yids known to me is that all Yids are exhibitionists, which by the way is true’.112 But he restores something of his credibility when he responds spiritedly to the manuscript of Karsavin’s article on 11 March 1927:

Karsavin’s article is not bad either, and mine will be a defence of the Jewish periphery, starting with Philo.113 Objectively, Karsavin is absolutely wrong when he asserts that the Jews of the periphery are all second-rate, ‘except perhaps Spinoza’ (that ‘perhaps’ is absolutely ridiculous). In Russia this may be the case (but what about Trotsky and Pasternak, though), but in Europe the entire nineteenth century is full of an absolutely disproportionate amount of Jews ‘in leading positions’, such as Marx, Heine, Disraeli, Lassale, Minkovsky. And at the present time in France and Germany there’s more of them perhaps than non-Jews (Bergson, Einstein, Freud, etc.). The periphery is a legitimate and inalienable manifestation of Jewry.

Whatever the case, Mirsky was obviously far too intelligent a person to be a racist. As with everything, the basis of his attitude was intellectual. During his discussions with Suvchinsky about the possible contributions to Vyorsts on the Jewish question, he stated: ‘In the West the Jewish question is increasingly being put in purely racial terms, to the exclusion of others. Therefore perhaps it would be better to emphasize that we’re talking about the Russian-Jewish question, where putting things in any specifically racial terms is out of date.’

The Russian Orthodox Church in Mirsky’s time tended to take a much less rational view of this matter than Mirsky did. Inevitably for a person of his age and social background, Mirsky had been brought up in the Church, and we have seen evidence of his mother’s piety, especially with regard to the journey to the new shrine of St Serafim in 1904. All Mirsky’s public life before he left Russia, especially his army service, was conducted in a context of ritual observance of the Church’s rites. Whether or not Mirsky’s short-lived marriage began with a religious ceremony, we do not know. Religious observance was especially prominent in the White army, and formed one of the few elements of a genuinely shared ideology in the movement. In emigration, however, the practice of these observances inevitably loosened. The Church was a prime focus of Russian émigré life in London and Paris; but there is no evidence that Mirsky was a communicant member in London, and very little evidence that he went to services in Paris. The argument with Roger Fry suggests that in 1925 Mirsky was still far from being an atheist; but the exchanges with Shakhovskoy suggest equally strongly that Mirsky viewed the ‘dark’ side of religion and the Orthodox Church with mounting revulsion. Mirsky dealt with his religious evolution in a curt paragraph of his intellectual autobiography:

Since I was inwardly inclined towards materialism, it was not the religious and mystical side that appealed to me most in Eurasianism, although neither did it repel me … For twenty years my ‘reason’ succeeded in imposing on my ‘heart’ an idealist and theological chaos that my common sense refused to take seriously, but which was enough to inhibit any shift in my intellectual conscience.114

Mirsky locates the final break at the time Eurasia came to an end, in September 1929:

My materialist ‘heart’ rebelled against this so-called ‘reason’ which had held it prisoner for nearly a quarter of a century. The chains were worn; it needed only one last effort to break them. Pokrovsky had already swept away a good deal of idealist refuse. I had made contact again with Marx.115



1. On Russian literature of the first emigration, see principally Gleb Struve, Russkaya literatura v izgnanii, 2nd edn (New York, 1984); Simon Karlinsky and Alfred Appel, Jr. (eds.), The Bitter Air of Exile: Russian Writers in the West, 1922-1972 (Berkeley, Calif., 1977); Temira Pachmuss, A Russian Cultural Revival: A Critical Anthology of Emigre Literature before 1939 (Knoxville, Tenn., 1981 ); Robert H. Johnston, 'New Mecca, New Babylon': Paris and the Russian Exiles, 192D-1945 (Kingston and Montreal, 1988).

2. On this deportation, see Mikhail Geller, "'Pervoe predosterezhenie" -- udar khlystom', Vestnik russkogo khristianskogo dvizheniya 127 (1978), 187-232.

3. P. P. Suvchinsky, letter to N. S. Trubetskoy, 25 Nov. 1922; 'Pis'ma P. P. Suvchinskogo -- N. S. Trubetskomu (1922-1924)', in Rossiiskii arkhiv: Istoriya otechestva v svidetel'stvakh i dokumentakh XVIII-XX vv., v (Moscow, 1994), 478.

4. See the penultimate paragraph of 'O nyneshnem sostoyanii russkoi literatury', repr. in D. S. Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, ed. G. S. Smith (Berkeley, Calif., 1989), 229.

5. Vladislav Khodasevich saw a good deal of Gorky in the early 1920s, co-edited the journal Dialogue, and lived in his household from Oct. 1924 to Apr. 1925; see 'Gor'ky', in Vladislav Khodasevich, Koleblemyi trenozhnik (Moscow, 1991), 353-74.

6. 'Tam ili zdes'?', repr. in Vladislav Khodasevich, Sobranie sochinenii, ed. John Malmstad and Robert Hughes, ii: Stat'i i retsenzii, 1905-1926 (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1990), 364-8.

7. Anon., 'Alexander Blok', The Times Literary Supplement, 13 Apr. 1922, 242.

8. Mirsky had published 'A Russian Poetess', Outlook, 18 Mar. 1922, 217-18; in the first issue of the School of Slavonic Studies' journal he reviewed the three most recent collections by Akhmatova: Slavonic Review 1 (r) (1922), 690-1.

9. V. V. Perkhin, 'Odinnadtsat' pisem (1920-1937) i avtobiografiya (1936) D. P. Svyatopolk-Mirskogo', Russkaya literatura 1 (1996), 241-2.

10. Slavonic Review 2 (4) (1923), 145-53.

11. On Pilnyak's visit to and literary representations of England, see Ol' ga Kaznina, Russkie v Anglii: Russkaya emigratisya v kontekste russko-angliiskikh literaturnykh svyazei v pervoi polovine XX veka (Moscow, 1997), 316-37.

12. See Stephen Graham, Part of the Wonderful Scene: An Autobiography (London, 1964), 291.

13. Mirsky's friend Helene Izvolsky lived with her invalid mother in Pau in the early 1920s, and this may have been a visit to them.

14. Marina Tsvetaeva, Sobranie sochinenii v semi tomakh (Moscow, 1995), vii. 392-3.

15. 'O sovremennom sostoyanii russkoi poezii', repr. in Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 87-117.

16. Ibid. 117.

17. The Oxford Book of Russian Verse. Chosen by the Hon. Maurice Baring (Oxford, 1924), 204.

18. Kn. D. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, Russkaya lirika (Paris, 1924), 191.

19. The Oxford Book of Russian Verse, 206.

20. Mirsky, Russkaya lirika, 197. Ozerki is the name of the summer resort referred to in the English note. An Unexpected Joy (Nechayannaya radost') is the title of the cycle of lyrics in which 'The Unknown Woman' was included by Blok.

21. Mirsky, Russkaya lirika, p. xii ('talantlivaya, no beznadezhno raspushchennaya moskvichka '). The second adjective also means 'debauched' or 'dissipated', and indicates someone who takes liberties with themselves and others.

22. Ibid. 184.

23. On the great lawyer, politician, and Jewish activist M. M. Vinaver (r862-1926), see H. M. Winawer (ed.), The Vinaver Saga (London, 1994), 275-413.

24. See Oleg Korostelev, 'Parizhskoe "Zveno" (1923-1928) i ego sozdateli', in M. Parkhomovsky (ed.), Russkoe evreistvo v zarubezh'e, i (6) (Jerusalem, 1998), 177-201.

25. For studies of Nicholas Bakhtin and his work, see the introduction and annotation to Galin Tihanov, 'Nikolay Bakhtin: Two Letters to Mikhail Lopatto (1924) and an Autobiographical Fragment', Oxford Slavonic Papers n.s. 31 (1998), 68-86.

26. D. S. Mirsky, 'Novoe v angliiskoi literature: Moris Bering', Zveno, 11 Aug. 1924, 3.

27. Kn. D. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, 'I. E. Babel', Rasskazy', repr. in Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 203-5; '0. E. Mandel'shtam, Shum vremeni', repr. ibid. 208-Io; 'B. L. Pasternak, Rasskazy', repr. ibid. 206-7. The Mandelshtam book was reviewed at the same time by two of the best critics of the emigration, Konstantin Mochulsky in The Link and Vladimir Veidle in the newspaper Days; their articles were reprinted, together with Mirsky's, and with an informative introduction by K. Polivanov, as 'Trizhdy uslyshannyi shum: Retsenzii na knigu "Shum vremeni" ', Literaturnoe obozrenie I (1991), 55-8.

28. 'M. I. Tsvetaeva, Molodets. Skazka', Sovremennye zapiski 27 (1926), 567-72; Mirsky published a parallel review in English: Slavonic Review 4 (1926), 775-6.

29. Kn. D. P. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, 'Izdaniya rossiiskogo instituta istorii iskusstv', Sovremennye zapiski 24 (1925), 434-8.

30. 'Esenin', repr. in Mirsky, Uncollected Writings, 211-12. Mirsky's English-language obituary is much less emotional and personal: see 'S. A. Esenin', Slavonic Review 4 (12) (1926), 706-7.

31. Mirsky uses the adjective raspushchennyi, which he famously applied to Tsvetaeva.

32. 'O nyneshnem sostoyanii russkoi poezii', 225-6.

33. Kn. D. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, 'O konservatizme: Dialog', Blagonamerennyi 2 (1926), 208. This piece, uniquely among Mirsky's writings, is in dialogue form.

34. Mirsky was inordinately fond of quoting this line from Derzhavin's ode 'Felitsa' (1782), sometimes substituting the adjective 'sweet' for the original 'tasty'.

35. Harrison no doubt had in mind inherited income, the possession of which she seems, like Virginia Woolf, to have regarded as a precondition for the intellectual life; it was certainly a precondition for her own.

36. 'Sovremennye zapiski, 1-26 (1920-1925); Volya Rossii, i (1922, 1925, i 1926, 1-2)', Vyorsty I (1926), 206-10.

37. For a general account of Mirsky's dealings with the movement, but written before the publication of Mirsky's letters to Suvchinsky, see Ol'ga Kaznina, 'D. P. Svyatopolk-Mirsky i evraziiskoe dvizhenie', Nachala 4 (1992), 81-8.

38. For a well-disposed view of Suvchinsky, see Vadim Kozovol's introductory article to 'Iz perepiski B. Pasternaka i P. Suvchinskogo', Revue des Etudes Slaves 58 (4) (1986), 637-48.

39. 'The Exodus to the East', Russian Life I (1922), 210-12; 'Two Aspects of Revolutionary Nationalism', ibid. 5 (1922), I72-4; 'A "Eurasian" Manifesto', The Times Literary Supplement, 1 July 1922, 350.

40. See Kaznina, 'D.P. Svyatopolk-Mirsky i evraziiskoe dvizhenie', 81.

41. After Exodus to the East (Iskhod k vostoku, Sofia, 192I) came On the Paths (Na putyakh, Berlin, 1922) and Russia and the Latin World (Rossiya i latinstvo, Berlin, 1923), both substantial collections of articles. There were three issues in the series under the title Evraziiskii vremennik (Berlin, 1923 and 1925; Paris, 1927); and ten of the chronicle Evraziiskaya khronika: nos. 1 and 2 (Paris-Berlin, 1925); nos. 3-6 (Prague, later Paris, 1925); nos. 7-9 (Paris, 1927); and no. 10 (Paris, 1928).

42. 'The Eurasian Movement', repr. in Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 237-45.

43. Struve, Russkaya literatura v izgnanii, 40-9; Otto Boss, Die Lehre der Eurasier (Wiesbaden, 1961); N. V. Riasanovsky, 'The Emergence of Eurasianism', California Slavic Studies 4 (1967), 39-72; Georges Nivat, 'La "fenetre sur l'Asie" ou les paradoxes de I' "affirmation eurasienne"', Rossiya/ Russia 6 (1988), 81-93.

44. See Evraziya: Istoricheskie vzglyady russkikh emigrantov (Moscow, 1992); Puti Evrazii: Russkaya intelligentsiya i sud'by Rossii (Moscow, 1992); Rossiya mezhdu Evropoi i Aziei: Evraziiskii soblazn (Moscow, 1993); Evraziiskaya perspektiva (Moscow, 1994); Mir Rossii-Evraziya: Antologiya (Moscow, 1995); Russkii uzel evraziistva: Vostok v russkoi mysli: Sbornik trudov evraziitsev, ed. Sergey Klyuchnikov (Moscow, 1997); Petr Savitsky, Kontinent Evraziya (Moscow, 1997); and the reprint of Iskhod k vostoku (Moscow, 1997).

45. S. M. Polovinkin, 'Evraziistvo i russkaya emigratsiya', in N. S. Trubetskoy, Istoriya: Kul'tura: Yazyk (Moscow, 1995), 731-62; Yu. K. Gerasimov, 'Religioznaya pozitsiya evraziitsev', Russkaya literatura I (1995), 159-76; S. Polovinkin, 'Evraziistvo', in Russkaya filosofiya: Malyi entsiklopedicheskii slovar' (Moscow, 1995), 172-8; A. V. Antoshchenko, 'Spory o evraziistve', in O evrazii i evraziitsakh (Petrozavodsk, 1997), 7-43; O. S. Shirokov, 'Problema etnolingvisticheskikh obosnovanii evraziistva', in Iskhod k vostoku (Moscow, 1997), 4-42.

46. On Trubetskoy's life and thought, see Anatoly Liberman, 'Introduction: Trubetzkoy as a Literary Scholar', in N. S. Trubetzkoy, Writings on Literature, ed., trans., and introduced by Anatoly Liberman (Minneapolis, 1990), pp. xi-xlvi; id., 'Postscript', in N. S. Trubetzkoy, The Legacy of Genghis Khan and Other Essays on Russia's Cultural Identity, ed., and with a postscript, by Anatoly Liberman (Ann Arbor, Mich., 199I), 295-375; and N S. Trubetskoy i sovremennaya filologiya (Moscow, 1993).

47. For Savitsky's views on the development of Eurasianism during the period of Mirsky's involvement, see his 'V bor'be za evraziistvo: polemika vokrug evraziistva v 1920-kh godakh', in Tridtsatye gody (Paris, 1931), 1-52 ( Utverzhdenie evraziitsev, 7 ), published under the pseudonym 'Stepan Lubensky'. Savitsky was deported from Prague to the USSR in 1945 and sent to the GULag; amnestied in 1956, he returned to Prague and died there. On his geographical theory of Eurasia, see esp. M. Bassin, 'Russia between Europe and Asia: The Ideological Construction of Geographical Space', Slavic Review 50 (I) (1991), 1-17.

48. For a view of Savitsky as a prophet of genius and a major figure in twentieth-century geopolitical theory and the theory of 'the conservative revolution', see A. Dugin, 'Evraziiskii triumf', in Savitsky, Kontinent Evraziya, 433-53.

49. On Florovsky's life, see Andrew Blane, 'A Sketch of the Life of Georges Florovsky', in Georges Florovsky: Russian Intellectual and Orthodox Churchman (Crestwood, NY, 1993), 11-2I7; this book also contains a bibliography of Florovsky's writings. On Florovsky's departure from Eurasianism, see particularly the letter from Suvchinsky to Trubetskoy of 27 Feb. 1923: 'Pis'ma P. P. Suvchinskogo-N. S. Trubetskomu (1922-1924)', 479-81.

50. See A. Shteinberg, Druz'ya moikh rannikh let (1911-1928) (Paris, 199I), 198; this sibling rivalry became especially acute when in the early 1920s Erik Pommer used Tamara for the leading role in his film Kraft und Schonheit and she became a household name.

51. An excellent bibliography is A. V. Antoshchenko and A. A. Kozhanov (eds.), O Evrazii i evraziitsakh (Bibliograficheskii ukazatel') (Petrozavodsk, 1997).

52. Mirsky expounds Eurasian geopolitical ideas, with excellent maps, in his Russia: A Social History (London, 193I). For the geopolitics of 'Eurasia' written without reference to Russian sources and Russian Eurasian theory, and based instead on the theories of Mackinder and others that may have influenced Savitsky, see Stuart Legg, The Heartland (New York, 1970).

53. It is worth remembering that among the close contemporaries of Mirsky were Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969), Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), and Adolf Hitler (1889-1945). In Stalin's entourage, Mirsky's closest contemporary was Vyacheslav Molotov (1890-1986), who got his first big Moscow job in 1930.

54. Pyotr Arapov secured the money to publish Rossiya i latinstvo (Berlin, 1923) from a lady he had seduced. See 'Pis'ma P. P. Suvchinskogo-N. S. Trubetskomu (1922-1924)', 477; the same article contains as a supplement the publishing agreements made by the Eurasians in 1923, but in Feb. 1924 Suvchinsky told Trubetskoy that the coffers were empty.

55. Russia in Resurrection: A Summary of the Views and of the Aims of a New Party in Russia. By an English Europasian (London, 1928).

56. As an afterthought, Mirsky inserted the name 'Serafim' (St Serafim of Sarov) between those of St Francis and Pascal. His point here exactly anticipates one of the major conclusions of Otto Boss: cf. Die Lehre der Eurasier, 76.

57. 'O moskovskoi literature i protopope Avvakume (Dva otryvka)', repr. in Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 145-55.

58. Ibid. 154.

59. See esp. Irene Zohrab, 'Remizov, Williams, Mirsky and English Readers (with some Letters from Remizov to Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams and Two Unknown Reviews)', New Zealand Slavonic Journal (1994), 259-87. Zohrab established that the earliest post-revolutionary article in English about the writer, 'Alexei Remizov', The Times Literary Supplement, 21 Feb. 1924, was jointly written by Mirsky and Harold Williams.

60. On Remizov's life, see Horst Lampl, 'A. M. Remizov: A Short Biographical Essay (1877-1923)', and Natalya Reznikova, 'Alexei Remizov in Paris (1923-1957)', Russian Literature Triquarterly 19 (1986), 7-60, 61-92.

61. Mirsky, A History of Russian Literature (1949), 22.

62. See G. S. Smith, 'Marina Tsvetaeva i D.P. Svyatopolk-Mirsky', in Robin Kemball et al. (eds.), Marina Tsvetaeva: Actes du I Colloque Marina Tsvetaeva (Bern, 1991), 192-206. This article was written in 1982, and traces the history of Mirsky's published responses to Tsvetaeva's work, which will not be summarized here; instead, attention will be drawn to materials that have become available since that time.

63. 'Aleksandr i Salomeya Gal'perny', in Mikhail Parkhomovsky (ed.), Evreiv kul'ture russkogo zarubezh'ya: Sbornik statei, publikatsii, memuarov i esse, i: 1919-1939 gg. (Jerusalem, 1992), 229-41. Berlin asserts in passing here that A. J. Halpern was a British intelligence agent.

64. Sir Isaiah Berlin, unpublished letter to G. S. Smith, 20 Mar. 1996.

65. See G. S. Smith, 'D. S. Mirsky: Four Letters to Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams (1926), with an Unknown Review by Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams (1924)', Slavonic and East European Review 71 (3) (1993), 482-9.

66. 'Marina Tsvetaeva', repr. in Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 217-21.

67. Tsvetaeva is talking partly here about her short-sightedness, which was acute; she refused to wear glasses.

68. Tsvetaeva, Sobranie sochinenii v semi tomakh, vi. 315-16.

6g. Veronika Losskaya, Marina Tsvetaeva v zhizni (Tenafly, 1989), 143.

70. Tsvetaeva, Sobranie sochinenii v semi tomakh, vi. 317.

71. Ibid. 345.

72. For a summary of these problems, see Marc Raeff, 'The Gutenberg Galaxy: Publishing in Alien Lands', in Russia Abroad: A Cultural History of the Russian Emigration, 1919-1939 (New York and Oxford, 1990), 73-94.

73. 'Jane Ellen Harrison: Forty-Seven Letters to D. S. Mirsky, 1924-1926', Oxford Slavonic Papers n.s. 28 (1995), 86-7.

74. Lydia Lopokova; on her, see Jane Ellen Harrison's letter to Mirsky of 29 Jan. 1926.

75. Unpublished letter, Leonard Woolf Papers, University of Sussex Library.

76. Arkhiepiskop Ioann Shakhovskoy, Biografiya yunosti: Ustanovlenie edinstva (Paris, 1978), 193.

77. Mirsky uses the Greek form of this word, usually represented in English as 'Sanhedrin', the supreme council of the Jews in Biblical Jerusalem; the equivalent in the Russian Bible is the richly ironic sovet. Bulgakov also uses the Greek form in the second chapter of The Master and Margarita.

78. 'Veyanie smerti v predrevolyutsionnoi literature', repr. in Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 236.

79. Zinaida Shakhovskaya, Otrazheniya (Paris, 1975), 25.

80. Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 236.

81. Georgy Adamovich was present at Mirsky's lecture, and wrote a letter to The Link protesting particularly about the pro-Soviet tone of Mirsky's coda (Zveno 169, 25 Apr. 1926); Mirsky replied, emphasizing that his chief example was Gumilyov, who was in no sense Soviet: Kn. D. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, 'Pis'mo v redaktsiyu', Zveno 172, 16 May 1926, to which is appended a riposte by Adamovich.

82. G. S. Smith (ed.), The Letters of D. S. Mirsky to P. P. Suvchinskii 1922-31 (Birmingham, 1995), 183.

83. In passing, Remizov mentions the recent three-evening celebration of Shestov's 60th birthday (Shestov had a considerable private income, and could afford to put on this sort of thing). The third, 'philosophical' evening was attended by Berdyaev, Vysheslavtsev, Efron, Ilin, Pozner, Lazarev, Lurie, Suvchinsky, Mirsky, Fedotov, and Mochulsky ('Stepun didn't come!'); Remizov entertained them with a three-hour reading of The Life of Archpriest Avvakum without an interval: Aleksey Remizov, "'Voistinu"', Vyorsty I (1926), 83.

84. Artur-Vintsent Lurie (1892-1966) was a composer; he is most famous for being another man besides Boris Anrep whom Akhmatova refused to follow into emigration. On him, see B. Kats and R. Timenchik, Akhmatova i muzyka (Leningrad, 1989).

85. See Zinaida Gippius, Pis'ma k Berberovoi i Khodasevichu, ed. Erika Freiberger Sheikholeslami (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1978), 43.

86. Vladislav Khodasevich, 'O "Verstakh" ', repr. in Vladislav Khodasevich, Sobranie sochinenii (2 vols., Ann Arbor, Mich., 1990), ii. 408-17.

87. M. V. Vishnyak, 'Sovremennye zapiski': Vospominaniya redaktora (Bloomington, 1957), 140-6. The essentially decent and long-suffering philistine Vishnyak recoils here from the intemperate feuding of his literary colleagues. He contentedly points out (p. 146) that the principal contributors to Vyorsts soon returned to Contemporary Notes: Shestov and Tsvetaeva sooner, Remizov later. The devious Remizov, however, actually wrote Vishnyak a letter distancing himself from Mirsky and Suvchinsky before the text of Mirsky's lecture was published.

88. For documentation and discussion of this incident, see the annotation by John Malmstad and Robert Hughes in Khodasevich, Sobranie sochinenii, ii. 544-9. The most significant outcome of it was an astonishing letter written by Tsvetaeva to Suvchinsky and Karsavin on 9 Mar. 1927 about Sergey Efron and Jewish identity.

89. See G. S. Smith, 'The Versification of V. F. Xodasevic, 1915-1939', in Thomas Eekman and Dean S. Worth (eds.), Russian Poetics: Proceedings of the International Colloquium at UCLA, September 22-26, 1975 (Columbus, Ohio, 1982), 373-92.

90. Cited from an unpublished document in the Suvchinsky archive in Vadim Kozovoi:, 'Pis' rna Mariny Tsvetaevoi', 203-4.

91. See Tsvetaeva's letter to Salomeya Halpern, 12 Aug. 1926, Sobranie sochinenii v semi tomakh, vii. 101.

92. See Reiner Maria Rilke, Boris Pasternak, and Marina Tsvetaeva, Pis' ma 1926 goda (Moscow, 1990).

93. Mirsky refers to the journal edited by Berdyaev, which began publication in Paris in 1925 and continued until the outbreak of the Second World War. The early issues were reviewed by V. Sezeman: Versty 2 (1927), 275-80, and 3 (1928), 175-81. For dealings between the Eurasians and Berdyaev in the period before the publication of The Way, see 'K istorii evraziistva: 1922-1924 gg.', Rossiiskii arkhiv: Istoriya otechestva v svidetel'stvakh i dokumentakh XVIII-XX vv., v (Moscow, 1994), 489-91.

94. I. A. Il'in, O soprotivlenii zlu siloyu (Berlin, 1925). This reasoned refutation of Tolstoy's pacifism and non-resistance to evil was inspired by what Ilin saw as the disastrous consequences of that doctrine in revolutionary Russia; it was later read with great interest by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

95. On Tsvetaeva's reaction to Pasternak's poem Lieutenant Schmidt, see particularly her letter to Pasternak of 1 July 1926, in which she describes its hero as 'an intelligent, not a sailor' (Pis'ma 1926 goda, 159).

96. Tsvetaeva, Sobranie sochinenii v semi tomakh, vi. 269.

97. Cited in Lazar' Fleishman, 'Iz pasternakovskoi perepiski', Slavica Hierosolymitana 5 and 6 (1981), 535-41.

98. Mirsky is referring to Posle Rossii (Paris, 1928), published after considerable delay by his friend J. E. Pouterman.

99. Library of the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London.

100. Kn. D. Svyatopolk-Mirsky, 'Kriticheskie zametki', Versty 2 (1927), 257.

101. A back-translation into English of this essay by G. S. Smith is cited and discussed in Evelyn Hanquart, 'Forster on Contemporary English Literature', Aligorh Journal of English Studies 5 (I) (1980), 102-9.

102. Untitled composite review, London Mercury 17 (1927), 208-10. Forster was working at the time on his Clark Lectures (Jan.-Mar. 1927 ), which were rewritten and published as Aspects of the Novel.

103. The Hollow Men (1925) was included in Eliot's Poems: 1909-1925. A translation by Ivan Kashkin, 'Polye lyudi', was included in Mirsky's Antologiya novoi angliiskoi poezii (Leningrad, 1937), 352-6.

104. John Cournos, reviewing the third issue, said: 'This is the organ of the Eurasians, who are extreme Nationalists and hold that Russia is a separate cultural entity': Criterion 8 (30) (Sept. 1928), 182-3.

105. See Anatoly Liberman, 'Introduction: Trubetzkoy as a Literary Scholar', in N. S. Trubetzkoy, Writings on Literature (Minneapolis, 1990), pp. xi-xlvi.

106. For a translation, see N. S. Trubetskoy, Three Philological Studies (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1963), and Ladislav Matejka and Krystyna Pomorska ( eds. ), Readings in Russian Poetics: Formalist and Structuralist Views (Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1971), 199-219.

107. See M. L. Gasparov, 'K geografii chastushechnogo ritma', in his Izbrannye trudy, iii: O stikhe (Moscow, 1997), 279-89.

108. On this episode, and the friendly relations and radical differences of opinion about Judaism and Othodoxy that had preceded it for many years, see A. Shteinberg, 'Lev Platonovich Karsavin', in his Druz'ya moikh rannikh let (1911-1928) (Paris, 1991), 193-217.

109. For a brief but usefully contextualized view of Fyodorov's significance, see Irene Masing-Delic, 'The Transfiguration of Cannibals: Fedorov and the Avant-Garde', in Laboratory of Dreams: The Russian Avant-Garde and Cultural Experiment (Stanford, Calif., 1996), 17-36.

110. Alternatively, Suvchinsky's failure to produce a contribution may have led to the insertion of a very interesting article that is not listed in the contents and has consequently been omitted from bibliographies: Vladimir Dukel'sky, 'Dyagilev i ego rabota', Vyorsty 3 {1928), 251-5, datelined 'London, 1927'. In his American identity as Vernon Duke, Dukelsky (1903-69) made a greater contribution to Western popular culture than any other Russian of the emigration (with the possible exception of Ayn Rand); he was the composer of 'I Can't Get Started with You', 'April in Paris', 'Cabin in the Sky', and other standards.

111. A dormeuse is a heavy horse-drawn carriage equipped with beds, the predecessor of the railway sleeping-car.

112. Trubetskoy published his views on this subject later, sharply criticizing Nazi theories: 'O rasizme', Evraziiskie tetradi 5 (1935), 43-54.

113. Mirsky did not produce this article, in which he proposes to discuss the Alexandrian philosopher Philo Judaeus (c.2o BC-c. AD 50); later in this letter he mentions among more famous men Herman Minkowski (2864-1909), the Russian-born mathematician who studied and taught in Germany. In speaking of the 'periphery', Karsavin has in mind secularized persons of Jewish origin living outside the principal European area of Jewish settlement.

114. Mirsky, Uncollected Writings on Russian Literature, 362.

115. Ibid. 366.
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