n Slavic Almanac : The South African Journal for Slavic, Central and Eastern European Studies - From cosmism to perversion - the erotic in the poetry of Konstantin Balmont.

Volume 14, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1025-3386


The problem of love and sexuality and the intimate relationship between a man and a woman is one of the most important themes in the poetry of Konstantin Balmont. The poet treats eroticism as a cosmic element imbued with unlimited sensuality. That is why in his poetry the motif of mouth (and of kissing) constitutes the central poetic image which enters into a complex semantic relationship with other symbolic signs such as, for instance, sun, moon, fire, butterfly or the myth of the Garden of Eden. Balmont's erotic poetry is also a unique representation of two basic types of sexual activity, shaped in accordance with two cultural traditions : Dionysian and Apollonian. On the one hand, Balmont identifies sex as joy and beauty enriched by the entire scope of sensual impressions. On the other, he emphasises the inseparability of lust with death and suffering. One may therefore conclude that his erotic poetry deals with the discourse between the body and the spirit, the discourse that derives its course from the intrinsic antagonism that exists between these elements, and the desire to merge them in harmony in order to define the dualistic human nature.

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