“Original Gender, Definitive Gender”: Zinaida Gippius and the Androgynous Ideal

Seminars and Colloquia

Characterized by Temira Pachmuss as “a Hypatia of the 20th century,” Zinaida Gippius is a seminal figure of Russian fin-de-siècle culture, yet an under-recognized one, as far as concerning her position in the literary canon. Her religious heresy, political radicalism, and sexual non-conventionality made the reception of her oeuvre more troublesome. However, precisely these aspects, perceived as controversial for decades, are now increasingly attracting the attention of scholars.

The presentation contextualized Gippius’ ideas in the framework of the aesthetic utopia of Russian modernism, which viewed life itself as an act of artistic creation. Moreover, it discussed her attempt to re-conceptualize gender accordingly to the androgynous ideal as expressed by Otto Weininger in Sex and Character (published in Vienna in 1903, translated into Russian in 1908).

Valentina Parisi, University of Macerata, Italy. Recent Fellow of the Program Paul Celan Fellowship for Translators.

Commented by the Guest of the Institute, Mischa Gabowitsch.

Moderation by Ludger Hagedorn, Permanent Fellow at the IWM.


Fellows Colloquia are internal events for the IWM Visiting Fellows and Guests.