Author: Miroslav Olšovský
Charles University in Prague
Translated form Czech: Borislav Borisov
Published in: Slavyanski dialozi, IX, 2012, 13

Abstract: The common ground between Petersburg by Andrei Bely and the poetic views of Stanisław Przybyszewski is the principle of the so-called permanent generation (twice two is not four, but always more, sometimes a thousand, sometimes a million), presented for the first time in Przybyszewskiʼs essay On the Roads of the Soul (Na drogach duszy) and subsequently reflected in his novels. This principle originates from Notes from Un- derground of Dostoevsky, where it most likely protests against the “rationality of the system” (twice two is not four, but five), and later, in a slightly modified form, is used by Dostoevsky and Bely as a creative method of emphasizing the horror of a continuously generating  world.  On  the border  of  two  centuries,  this strange  equation is present not only in the texts of Andrei Bely and Stanisław Przybyszewski, but also in the works of August Strindberg, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Fyodor Sologub and others. This text will present the consequences of the implementation of this modernist axiom in the novel by Andrei Bely Petersburg, and not only in it.

Key words: Andrei Bely, Petersburg, Stanisław Przybyszewski, August Strindberg, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, Fyodor Sologub