Volynski, Akim Levovich

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VOLYNSKI, AKIM LEVOVICH (pseudonym of A.L. Flexer ; 1863–1926), Russian literary critic and art historian. Volynski studied law, but abandoned an academic career which would have required his conversion to Christianity. His early writings dealt with Jewish themes and appeared in Russo-Jewish periodicals. In 1884 he co-edited an anthology entitled Palestina. His works include books about *Spinoza, S.S. *Frug, the Bible in Russian poetry, Dostoevski, and religious philosophy. He wrote a definitive essay on L.O. *Levanda, the historian of Russian Jewry. Volynski's opposition to the "progressive" critics and their philosophy of materialistic positivism aroused tremendous controversy, and he was branded "decadent." After the 1917 Revolution, he abandoned literary criticism and became head of the Choreographic Institute in Leningrad.

Critical essays which he wrote as an editor of the monthly Severny vestnik ("Northern Courier") appeared in two collections: Russkiye kritiki ("Russian Critics," 1896) and Borba za idealizm ("The Fight for Idealism," 1900). Volynski's last books dealt with ballet. Among his works is a book on the aesthetics of dance, Kniga Likovanii ("The Book of Exultations," 1923). He also wrote a volume on Leonardo da Vinci.


M.J. Olgin, Guide to Russian Literature 18201917 (1920), 192–4.

[Yitzhak Maor]