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Modern Russian Poetry/Zinaida Hippius

Zinaida Hippius

(Mme. Dmitry Merezhkovsky; born 1869)


Poetry is not woman's work in Russia. Zinaida Hippius, the wife of Dmitry Merezhkovsky, is one of the few who carry it on. She has written a great deal of bad fiction, some partisan criticism, rather indifferent dramas, and her poetry is not unexceptionable. Soon after her literary marriage she joined the Petersburg symbolists, and with her husband was one of the founders of the Religious Philosophical Society. A weakness for religious discussion and a theosophic bias have done much damage to both her prose and her verse. Her later poetry, however, is interesting as the expression of her difficult and distinctive personality. She has the quality of burning ice, hiding under contemptuous ennui her passion for the impossible. In any event, she is a virtuoso of verse, whose mastery of tone-color and metric pattern is wholly admirable.

She is at present engaged, together with her husband, in writing hymns of hate against the Bolsheviki, from the bitter security of the Diaspora.