“The Elephant” and “L'Albatros”: Baudelairian Subtext in Gumilev's Poem

2020. № 3, 77-87

Katerina V. Bryleva

National Research University “Higher School of Economics” (Russia, Moscow)



Nikolai Gumilev's last collection of poetry “The Pillar of Fire” differs greatly from his previous works. In the last poetry collection Gumilev partly comes back to symbolism, a literary school which he had once quitted. The article is devoted to one of the possible factors which made Gumilev return to symbolism, namely, close reading of Baudelaire's “Flowers of Evil”, which Gumilev translated from 1919 to 1921 while working in the publishing house “Mirovaya literatura”. The article traces Baudelair’s influence in Gumilev's poem “The Elephant” and compares it with “L'Albatros” and other Baudelaire's poems. The article proves that Gumilev borrowed not only specific motives, but also one of his most significant poetic devices – the interpenetration of “the external” and “the internal” from the French poet.

For citation:

Bryleva K. V. “The Elephant” and “L’Albatros”: Baudelairian Subtext in Gumilev’s Poem. Russian Speech = Russkaya Rech’. 2020. No. 3. Pp. 77–87. DOI: 10.31857/S013161170009962-7.