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Shocking Genius. Poetess Zinaida Gippius's Pathography - Great And Terrible
Shocking Genius. Poetess Zinaida Gippius's Pathography - Great And Terrible

Video: Shocking Genius. Poetess Zinaida Gippius's Pathography - Great And Terrible

Video: Shocking Genius. Poetess Zinaida Gippius's Pathography - Great And Terrible
Video: Зинаида Гиппиус 2023, March

"Like an affectionate cobra, I am …" - this is how Zinaida Gippius (1869–1945), a writer and poetess, an ideologist of Russian Symbolism and a prominent representative of the Silver Age, wrote about herself. And she added: "I cannot obey people." Is it too arrogant and demonstrative? It is too early to judge. Consider the personality of this extraordinary woman through the eyes of a psychiatrist

No psychopathological disorders were found in the close relatives of the poetess. Zinaida's father was a lawyer by profession, but in his heart he was a poet, though with a slight oddity: he composed poetry, translated Byron, but never published his works.

In a creative atmosphere, the girl grew up smart and quick-witted beyond her years: "from the age of four she asked adult questions," and at eleven she was already composing poems and conducting independent correspondence with "father's friends."

To amaze, attract and enchant

Emotionally, Zinochka had a developed desire to stand out, it would seem that this personality trait is characteristic of many teenagers. But the matter was not in its quality, but in quantitative terms, in the intensity of this striving. “She really wanted to amaze, attract, charm, conquer.

In those days, at the end of the 19th century, it was not customary to get so involved in cosmetics as women in all countries of the world began to do after the First World War. And Zinaida blushed and whitewashed thickly, frankly, as actresses do for the stage. This made her face look like a mask, accentuated her quirks, and made her look artificial. And her movements were strange, at an angle. When she moved, her long arms and legs were drawing geometric shapes that were not related to what she was saying."

Gippius loved to be original, which in itself could not be considered a great “sin”: “I am nice to the abstract: I create life with it”. But all is well out of place. In the summer of 1888, 18-year-old Gippius met in Borjomi with 22-year-old poet Dmitry Merezhkovsky. Six months later, they got married in Tiflis, and this is what she soon writes: “Our day passed like yesterday … DS went to his hotel quite early, and I went to bed and forgot that I was married. I forgot so much that the next morning I barely remembered when my mother, through the door, shouted to me: “You are still asleep, and my husband has already come! Get up!””

The newlyweds immediately decided that they would not have children and that the main thing in their marriage was "the attraction of souls, and by no means the call of the body." Moreover, one more thing was written into the terms of the marriage contract: “the spouses agreed that their sublime love communication would be carried out only in the spiritual sphere and would be cleansed of all“bodily dirt”."

Extraordinary antics in a bohemian environment

"Decadent Madonna", as Gippius was immediately nicknamed, had an attractive appearance, combining beauty with a sharp and caustic mind. She dressed “not like everyone else”, so she could not help but attract everyone's attention, “seducing some, embarrassing and annoying others.”

Gippius often behaved unceremoniously; they were afraid of her sharp judgments and impartial assessments, especially young writers

In addition, she “defiantly emphasized her virginity: for ten years already married to Merezhkovsky, she wore a braid: the privilege of girls, virgins. After parting with her braids, she made a short haircut - this is in 1905, long before Coco Chanel. " And she dressed very strangely by the standards of the time. In her youth, she was original, putting on a man's suit.

Towards old age, her extravagance in clothes began to acquire a caricatured character: "she pulled a pink ribbon around her neck, threw a lace over her ear, on which a monocle dangled at her cheek."

In an exaggerated form, Gippius demonstrated the habit of looking at people through a monocle for a long time and carefully, which could not but cause irritation

Another not the most natural habit was also strictly observed: often dress in men's clothes and talk about yourself in the masculine gender, signing your works with male pseudonyms: "Anton Krainy", "Lev Pushchin", "Comrade Herman".

“Gippius adored shocking and practical jokes, if only she was shocked and played. She certainly needed to be in the center of general attention and be aware of all the latest news … "Naturally, such, as they say now, not everyone liked" jokes "and looked wild against the background of a highly intelligent literary environment.

Gippius by no means played the role of a housewife with a talented husband. She herself was successfully engaged in creativity, publishing houses published her novels, poems, memoirs.

In thoughts - a man, in a body - a woman

Violations in the sexual sphere were difficult to explain only by hysterical whims. The writer did not deny that she felt bisexual: "In my thoughts, my desires, in my spirit - I am more a man, in my body I am more a woman." Zinaida Gippius quite openly noted the sexual duality of her nature.


As already mentioned, in her only and uniquely long marriage with Merezhkovsky, in which his wife played the "leading, male role", there were no children. But for some reason no one was surprised at such a circumstance.

Zinaida's three sisters never married. I would like to draw the reader's attention to this fact: the sexual deviation of Gippius could be hereditary

Another aspect of family life is also curious, which was repeatedly emphasized by Gippius herself: "For all the years that have passed, Merezhkovsky and I have never parted." At the same time, there were a variety of love interests that were bisexual in nature. Known for her relationship with the English Baroness Elizabeth von Overbeck. Gippius dedicated several poems to the Baroness and was in a relationship with her friend, which her contemporaries ambiguously called both purely businesslike and frankly loving. That's the whole secret of "not parting" with her husband.

“Gippius preferred white to all colors … The decadent woman observed actual celibacy, and white vestments served her as a symbol of purity … Despite the fact that in the context of Russian culture at the end of the century, the figure of Gippius personified a sinful temptation, one should not lose sight of her paradoxical sexuality, formed by a specific self-awareness aimed at purity and spirituality of the androgyne 1 … Obviously, she was more impressed by men, especially homosexuals”(O. Matic, 2001).

Although the poetess's hobbies in the absolute majority were platonic, they gradually led to the fact that between the spouses, who maintained and strengthened spiritual and intellectual closeness over the years, physical alienation arose, and even emotional coldness on the part of Merezhkovsky.

The final chord of loneliness

Gippius had a hard time surviving her husband's death in 1941 and tried to throw herself out of the window. Then she calmed down, assuring herself and others that Dmitry Sergeevich had just gone out on business and would be back soon. Oddities began to appear in her behavior. In spite of everything, she still managed to create a real literary monument to Merezhkovsky - a biography book full of interesting factual material.


D. V. Filosofov, D. S. Merezhkovsky, Z. N. Gippius, V. A. Zlobin. Exodus from Soviet Russia. Late 1919 - early 1920

Died Hippius alone, in an atmosphere of general hostility, in poverty, fully corresponding to the once written (of course, from the man's face) poem:

I'm on a single thought narrowed down, I looked at the glittering darkness, and I had long been no need, as I do not need to anyone.

Everything is exactly according to Freud

In Russia, Gippius more than compensated for her initially modest literary successes with outrageous antics and quirks, which were considered inadequate even in the bohemian environment of St. Petersburg writers.

Nothing has changed in Paris, the emigrant writer Nina Berberova recalled: “Now we know that she took her energy from her neuroses, made her poems from her neuroses, wrote her diaries, and with her neuroses fed her thinking, making her thoughts bright, alive and sharp, not only because of their essence, on which, like on precious compost, they grew up and matured, but also because of the style they wore."

Zinaida Gippius presented a classic example of sublimation - the switching of unsatisfied sexual energy into the creative process. Everything is exactly according to Freud

Almost every line of memoirs about Zinaida Gippius indicates that she has a hysterical personality disorder, which may not be accompanied by conversion symptoms (hysterical paralysis, seizures, sensitivity disorders, etc.). But facial expressions, appearance, behavior, and even the lifestyle itself - confirm this diagnosis.

It is known, by the way, that with a clear emphasis on their own sexual attractiveness, patients with hysteria often suffer from psychosexual dysfunctions. It could be lack of orgasm or bisexuality.

Presumptive diagnosis: hysterical personality disorder with sexual deviations


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