Peter and Alexis

Peter and Alexis

Dmitry Merezhkovsky


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Peter and Alexis (1904) is a novel by Dmitriy Merezhkovsky. Having turned from his work in poetry to a new, spiritually charged interest in fiction, Merezhkovsky sought to develop his theory of the Third Testament, an apocalyptic vision of Christianity’s fulfillment in twentieth century humanity. Peter and Alexis, the final work in the trilogy, is preceded by The Death of the Gods (1895) and Resurrection of the Gods (1900). Well received internationally, The Christ and Antichrist Trilogy was largely ignored by Russian critics at the time of its publication, but has since been recognized as his most original and vital literary work. “‘Antichrist is coming. He, the last of devils, has not yet come himself; but the world is teeming with his progeny. The children are preparing the way for their father. They twist everything to suit the designs of Antichrist. He will appear in his own due time, when everywhere all is prepared and the way smoothed. He is already at the door. Soon will he enter!’” In Peter and Alexis, Merezhkovsky moves his groundbreaking vision of spiritual progress and the historical development of humanity to the world of the Russian Empire. The novel portrays Peter the Great’s conflict with his son, the Tsarevich Alexei, as the inevitable confrontation between Antichrist and Christ for the soul of humanity. Rejecting the historical view of Peter as a powerful and honorable leader, Merezhkovsky suggests that he was a tyrant whose desire for progress and control came at the cost of countless lives. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of Dmitriy Merezhkovsky’s Peter and Alexis is a classic of Russian literature reimagined for modern readers.


Dmitry Merezhkovsky:

Dmitry Merezhkovsky (1866-1941) was a Russian novelist and poet. Born in Saint Petersburg, Merezhkovsky was raised in a prominent political family. At thirteen, while a student at the St. Petersburg Third Classic Gymnasium, Dmitry began writing poetry. Soon, he earned a reputation as a promising young writer and enrolled at the University of Saint Petersburg, where he completed his PhD with a study on Montaigne. In 1892, he published Symbols. Poems and Songs, a work inspired by Poe and Baudelaire in which Merezhkovsky explores his increasingly personal religious ideas. In 1895, he published The Death of the Gods, the first novel in his groundbreaking Christ and Antichrist Trilogy. With these novels, Merezhkovsky was recognized as a cofounder of the Russian Symbolist movement. In 1905, his apocalyptic Christian worldview seemed to come to fruition in the First Russian Revolution, which he supported through poetry and organizing groups of students and artists. Formerly a supporter of the Tsar, Merezhkovsky was involved in leftist politics by 1910, but soon became disillusioned with the rise of the radical Bolsheviks. In the aftermath of the October Revolution, Merezhkovsky and his wife, the poet Zinaida Gippius, were forced to flee Russia. Over the years, they would find safe harbor in Warsaw and Paris, where Merezhkovsky continued to write works of nonfiction while advocating for the Russian people. Toward the end of his life, he came to see through such leaders as Benito Mussolini, Francisco Franco, and Adolf Hitler a means of defeating Communism in Russia. Though scholars debate his level of commitment to fascist and nationalist ideologies, this nevertheless marked a sinister turn in an otherwise brilliant literary career. Nominated for the Nobel Prize in literature nine times without winning, Merezhkovsky is recognized as an important figure of the Silver Age of Russian art.