Kondratii Ryleev

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Ryleev, Kondratii (1795-1826). Voinarovskii.

Original manuscript in ink with illustrated flourishes in same. Bound in a simple copybook, card wraps, pasted paper spine, thumbnail title pasted to spine. 100pp. Samizdat dated 1827.

As Ryleev’s central work “Voinarovskii” is filled with prophetic imagery and proselytising propaganda that left a lasting impression in the Russian literary, artistic and political landscape. A deeply Byronic poem, the romantic idealisation of the hero Voinarovskii his work was deeply felt in a Russian culture that valued the symbolism of martyrdom in the face of an impregnable bastion of autocratic ruling system. The act of baring one’s breast and stating one’s ultimate ideal having so much currency in Russian literature meant Ryleev’s refusal to deny anything less than complete dedication to his cause struck a familiar chord with a like-minded readership through the Tsarist régime and the entire Soviet period.
As a political figure Ryleev never once denied his involvement in the Decemberist plot, even going so far as to insist that his own role was larger than that of others involved although this meant certain death. Ryleeev had been almost convinced the revolt would fail and had prepared his ideology accordingly, tailoring his rhetoric to reflect the fatalism of the Decemberist movement. His propaganda clearly worked and his depiction as a figure of tragic idealism was depicted and taken up by several important literary figures; in 1966 the poets Evgeniii Kushev and Vladimir Voskresenskii started a group called ‘The Ryleev Club’ dedicated to the cause of a new revolution in Soviet Russia, their ideology disseminated in samizdat.
This samizdat was hand-written and dated by a man who would become a future General-Lieutenant in the Tsar’s army, Nikolai Simonovskii, a decorated career soldier who saw active service in the Caucasus.

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