The task that the author sets himself here is a doubly difficult if altogether intriguing one. Not only are the literary texts under study in some sense encoded, but they depend for their decoding on sources and traditions which can themselves be arcane, obscure, hermetic. The decoding here ranges over Masonic signs and rituals through calendarology, numerology, cardiology, the Cabala, etc. The whole area of research is a daunting one, especially for those researchers of an empirical turn of mind.
Musatov's book is a sequel to his earlier study, Pushkinskaia traditsiia v russkoi poezii pervoi poloviny XX veka: Aleksandr Blok, Sergei Esenin, Vladimir Maiakovsky (Moscow: Prometei, 1991), in which the author examined the Symbolist conception of myth- and life-creating potential of poetry. In his new book, Musatov investigates another trend in Russian twentieth-century lyric poetry, first manifested in Annesnky's verse at the time of the Symbolist crisis and further developed by Mandel´shtam, Akhmatova, and Pasternak. These poets also shared a particular approach to Pushkin's legacy, and it is this common ground which forms the core of Musatov's book.