Daniil and Vadim Andreev: The Brothers Get Acquainted

Alexei Bogdanov, University of Colorado, Boulder

The works of Daniil Andreev are among the most important discoveries made in Russia since the beginning of glasnost. His principal work, The Rose of the World, has no parallels in Russian literature and is being compared with Dante's Commedia (The Divine Comedy). The Rose of the World, as well as his other major books, was written in the Vladimirskaja Prison where Andreev served his term from 1947 to 1957 for an alleged attempt to form an anti-Soviet group and to assassinate Stalin. Andreev died shortly after his release from prison. His manuscripts were preserved by his wife, Alla Aleksandrovna Andreeva and were not made public until glasnost. At this time, the last of the four volumes of Andreev's poetry and prose provided by Alla Andreeva for publication is in print in Moscow. The first English translation of The Rose of the World has recently been published by Lindisfarne Press in New York.

However, many important details of Daniil Andreev's life as a visionary in Stalinist Russia remain unclear or unknown. During the last two years, I have been working with Olga Andreev Carlisle, Daniil Andreev's niece residing in San Francisco, on the publication of a series of letters from Daniil Andreev to his brother Vadim (Ms. Carlisle's father) recently discovered by Ms. Carlisle in her personal archives. The first selection of these letters was published in April 1997 in the St. Petersburg literary journal Zvezda; another selection is now in print. The uniqueness and the value of this correspondence are predetermined by the fact that the two brothers had been separated for many years and they were now getting acquainted through their letters, while Daniil was living in Russia and Vadim, in France. Such circumstances prompted them to describe their lives and their characters in detail, which is invaluable for a contemporary researcher. In my paper I intend to present a summary and an analysis of these new materials. In addition, I am planning to interview Alla Andreeva during my summer trip to Russia and to include her comments in the materials for my analysis.