In the Symbolist’s Garden: An Introduction to Literary Horticulture
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A motif shared by Russian symbolists and decadents was the garden, with all its attendant floral patterns. A close examination of the literary horticulture in the works of these 2 movements discloses significant difference in their aesthetic mentalities, while at the same time emphasizing the important symbolic content of the garden and its flora for both. For the symbolist, like Vladimir Solov'ev, the garden appears to function ad his restoration of celestial harmony to this earthly realm. The garden, an archetypal restatement of Paradise, is reserved for sacred trysts between the poet and the Divine Feminine. However, for the decadent, like Valery Bryusov, the garden signifies the secret pleasure-ground wherein the poet exercises his sensual pleasures. The carefully cultivated flora of the lily, rose, orchid and violet conforms to the same aesthetic patterns. If for the symbolist such blossoms bore the promise of some divine covenant to be fulfilled, then for the decadent they functioned as the pleasurable soporifics for escapism and perverse experience.