The Queer Little Grove: The Adoption of Aubrey Beardsley by Mikhail Kuzmin

This article explores one of the many aspects of Aubrey Beardsley’s transnational legacy, focusing on his appropriation by Mikhail Kuzmin (1872–1936), a key modernist writer and a seminal voice of the emerging homosexual subculture in Russia. While Kuzmin often used Beardsley as a signifier of homoeroticism in his literary works and life-writing, it is in his play Little Grove (1922) that the queering of Beardsley is crystallised. My intermedial analysis of the piece will show how allusions to Beardsley shape Kuzmin’s representation of gender and sexuality and how the formal construction of Kuzmin’s publication echoes the formal features of Beardsley’s graphic designs.

To read the full article (open access), please visit BRANCH: Britain, Representation and Nineteenth-Century History, ed. by Dino Franco Felluga.

Konstantin Somov, Sketch portrait of Mikhail Kuzmin, 1909. Wiki Commons.

 

Dr Sasha Dovzhyk completed her PhD on Aubrey Beardsley’s Russian afterlives (2018) and her Wellcome Trust-funded postdoctoral project on Decadence and Disease (2019) at Birkbeck, University of London. Her article ‘Beardsley Men in Early Twentieth-Century Russia: Modernising Decadent Masculinity’ is forthcoming in Modernist Cultures. She tweets at @sasha_weirdsley / @beardsleyism.