Литературная репутация М.А. Кузмина: Канон, рецепция, стратегия
Based on the vast critical literature of the beginning of the 20th century, this article analyzes the dynamics of Mikhail Kuzmin’s literary reputation from the beginning of his literary activities in the mid-1900s until the 1920s. To analyze the trends in Kuzmin’s literary reputation, two categories were distinguished: literary reputation, which includes the entire perception of the author’s works, and writing strategy, which can be described as a set of the author’s actions aimed at making a certain literary image. In the literary reputation, an area of canon, a term essential for understanding Kuzmin’s works, was singled out; it stands for a system of ratings fixed at the beginning of Kuzmin’s career and transmitted throughout his creative life. This canon included the images of the “ancient Egyptian”, “homosexual”, “recluse”. Kuzmin himself maintained this ambiguous reputation, presenting it in his works and public behavior. Until the mid-1910s, the author’s strategy supported his literary reputation, which allowed Kuzmin to achieve fame in a short time. However, since 1912, Kuzmin gradually abandoned his image because his interests moved towards comprehension of contemporaneity, avant-garde poetics, simpler language and plots inspired by actual events. All Kuzmin’s works of the second half of the 1910s are marked by his desire for simplicity; however, the line of the “canon” was still transmitted in criticism. Kuzmin’s poems on the 1917 revolution (such as “Russkaya Revolutsiya”, “Volynskiy Polk”, etc.) were strongly criticized because they contradicted the canonical model of perception. Parodies and critical articles of 1917 show that Kuzmin’s reputation was in decline by 1917. They also demonstrate that Kuzmin was not able to build a new reputation by this time: he was still perceived as an “ancient Egyptian” and “homosexual”. By 1917, the author’s strategy and the perception of his works completely diverged, which led to a misunderstanding of Kuzmin’s post-revolutionary works and his gradual disintegration from the then contemporary literary process. The study allows considering the literary reputation of Kuzmin as a process of interaction of several forces: the author projects certain public and creative image of himself that the critic supports or does not support. The overlap of Kuzmin’s ambitions and critical perception leads to the creation of an integral image, brings fame and recognition to the writer. On the other hand, the formed image is insensitive to the occurring changes and interferes with the perception and understanding of Kuzmin’s further works.