Benedikt Livshits

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Portrait of Benedikt Livshits by David Burliuk

Benedikt Konstantinovich Livshits (Russian: Бенеди́кт Константи́нович Ли́вшиц, 24 December 1886 (Old Style)/6 January 1887 (New Style) – 21 September 1938) was a poet and writer of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry, a French–Russian poetry translator.

Life and career[edit]

Livshiz second from right, 1914

Livshits was born to an assimilated Jewish family in Odessa. He studied Law at Novorossia University and then moved to Kiev University, where he graduated in 1912. He was conscripted to the Russian army and served in the 88th Infantry Regiment. In 1914, he was conscripted again and served in the infantry during World War I, being awarded the Cross of St. George.

His first poetry was published in the Anthology of Modern Poetry (Kiev) in 1909. In 1910 he worked for Sergei Makovsky's symbolist art magazine Apollon.

Together with Wladimir Burliuk, David Burliuk, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vasily Kamensky, and Alexandra Exter he was a member of the Futurist group Hylaea (Russian Gilea).

In 1933 he published a book of memoirs, The One and a Half-Eyed Archer, which is considered one of the best histories of Russian Futurism. In 1934 he published a large book of translations from French poetry, From Romantics to Surrealism.

In 1937 during the Great Purge he was arrested and summarily executed on 21 September 1938 as an "enemy of the people". His dossier was falsified to state that he died of heart failure on 15 May 1939.[1]

Literary works[edit]

  • The Flute of Marsias (1911, printing was destroyed by government censorship).
  • Sun of wolves (Volch'e solntse), 1914
  • The One and a Half-eyed Archer (Polutoraglazyj strelets), 1933[2] - memoirs about the Futurist movement.


  1. ^ Dich, Z. L. (1994). Распятые: Писатели – жертвы политических репрессий (in Russian). St. Petersburg: Severo-Zapad. 
  2. ^ (Harvard Biographies (I-L)) at

External links[edit]