Aspects of Serial Autobiography in Andrej Bely’s Memoirs

Maria Levina Parker, Université de Genève

Andrej Bely who in his memoirs and fiction constantly rewrites his childhood and life may be said to be engaged in creating serial autobiography. This process is characterized by the reinvention, recreation and relocation of his self and his relationships with his parents, significant others, and close friends.

A series of identities and stories are constructed as the constituents of an incomplete, or open, autobiographical sequence which never can reach a conclusion or final signification. Bely’s creation of self-identity presents itself as the development of “variations of a theme” (Bely, Zapiski chudaka) in which every consequent variation engages in a dialogue with and partially cancels the preceding ones. Bely’s memoirs present his life as series of theses and antitheses, in other words as a spirally ascending dialectical life-narrative.

This paper examines the practice of serial autobiography and pseudo-autobiography in the memoirs of Andrej Bely including such works as Vospominaniia o Bloke, Na rubezhe dvukh stoletii, Nachalo veka and Mezhdu dvukh revoliutsii.