Bryusov under the table, c. 1900
Vrubel's drawing of Bryusov, 1906
Born in Moscow to Yakov Kuzmich Bryusov, the son of a freed
peasant turned successful businessman, and Matryona Aleksandrovna
Bakulina, the daughter of a landed nobleman and minor writer.
In the liberal environment created by his parents, Bryusov,
almost entirely separated from other children, begins writing
Enrolls in the gymnasium of Frantz Kreiman, immediately
makes impression as eccentric, socially inept, and erudite.
Transfers to Polivanov's Gymnasium.
March, in a diary entry, declares that the future of Russian
poetry lies in Symbolism, which was then referred to as
decadence. Begins translating Rimbaud and Mallarme and attempts
to fashion a Russian version of their style for his own
Along with A. A. Lang, publishes the bogus anthology Russian
Symbolists, in which he wrote all of the poems. The
anthology brings him instant notoriety and attention, much
of it negative, both in Russia and abroad.
Publishes Chefs d'Oeuvre, his first independent collection
of verse, and receives even greater, although still mostly
Hired as an editor at the Russian Archive. Founds Scorpion,
the first publishing house dedicated exclusively to Symbolist
work. Publishes The Book of Ruminations, a collection
of verse that also includes selections by Balmont,
Konevskoy and Durnov.
A third collection, Third Vigil, brings Bryusov his
first critical approbation.
Becomes editor of Libra, Scorpion's critical arm,
and assumes undisputed leadership of the Symbolist movement.
The Wreath (aka Stephanos), the fifth collection,
brings Bryusov first major poetic success and constitutes
the poet reaching his full maturity, but also demonstrates
a rift between himself and the younger generation of Symbolists.
Disappointed in the direction in which the new generation
has taken Symbolism, Bryusov turns his attention to teaching,
critical writing, and to his translations of Virgil, Poe,
and Armenian poetry.
Works as manger of the Bolshevik Department of Public Education
(NARKOMPROS) and serves in the State Publishing House.
Joins the Communist Party and founds LITO, the "regulatory
organ of that nation's literary taste."
In Moscow, develops membranous pneumonia, and, on 9 October,
dies of pleurisy.
Poet with wife in 1914
The poet in 1923