Vyacheslav Ivanov’s Concept of Dionysianism: From Symbolist Theory to Philosophy of Art
The concept of Dionysianism becomes fundamental in the work of Russian symbolist Vyacheslav Ivanov in the 1900–1910s, which led him to development of an original theory of symbolism. For this poet and thinker, symbolism becomes an integral philosophy of art. Ivanov’s theory of symbolism incorporates aesthetics, ethics, theory of knowledge, philosophy of culture. The concept of Dionysianism formed in the process of Ivanov’s philological studies of Greek religion was marked by the influence of F. Nietzsche. However, under the influence of Russian religious and philosophical thought, Ivanov comes to conclusions that contradicted Nietzsche, concerning both philological and cultural-philosophical aspects of the origin of the tragedy. The present article discusses Ivanov’s perception of F. Nietzsche’s philosophy as well as points of divergence between Nietzsche and Ivanov in understanding the mythologem of Dionysus. Particular attention is paid to the theory of realistic symbolism, understood by Ivanov as a religious symbolism, with its focus on acquiring realia in rebus, which is, at its core, a noumenon. The article also discusses Ivanov’s ideas of convergence of the myth of Dionysus with the Christian religion, his interpretation of the cult of Dionysus as well as Ivanov’s main conclusions regarding the Dionysian cult and Christianity.