“The Astral Fire of the Most-Pure Divine Magic”: a Portrait of the Emigré Poet Boris Poplavsky as a Magus
The paper focuses on the specifically magical dimension of the poetic work of Boris Poplavskii (1903-1935), an emblematic figure of the “lost generation” of Russian émigrés in Paris. In his youth, Poplavskii was much influenced by anthroposophist and theosophist doctrines, and later manifested a deep interest in occult and magical writings. In this article, I analyze magic in Poplavskii from a number of perspectives, including those of concrete rituals and techniques (witchcraft, invocation, alchemy, meditation), as well as practical mysticism (Christian and Jewish) and different patterns of “divine-working” (theurgy) which have had an explicit or implicit impact on Poplavskii’s poetic and narrative texts. In particular, I highlight the visual component of various magical practices referenced by Poplavskii.