Vyacheslav Ivanov's Turreted House
The turreted house where Vyacheslav Ivanov and his wife, Zinovieva-Annibal lived became the true literary magnet of Saint Petersburg of the early 20th century due to the so-called Literary Wednesdays.
An erudite scholar, classical philologist, and translator, Ivanov understood symbolism not just as a literary school in Paris, but as a way of seeing the world by stripping away the symbols contained in visible reality. Vyacheslav Ivanov established his own literary and intellectual salon at his large apartment at 35 Tavricheskaya Street.
The “Wednesdays” salon was frequented, at various times, by Nikolai Berdyaev, Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, Alexander Blok, Zinaida Gippius, Fyodor Sologub, Andrei Bely and many other Petersburg luminaries. Being invited to the salon was considered a privilege and it was a kind of sign of belonging to a community of poets and thinkers, the recognition of talent. Vyacheslav Ivanov was the organizer.
It became known as the Tower because it was on the seventh floor and at its corner had a rounded tower with a view over the nearby Tauride Gardens.
The poet Sergei Gorodetsky described one of these evenings, at which the young poet Alexander Blok read poems from The Snow Mask.
A large garret with a narrow window straight to the stars. Candles in the candelabra. Zinovieva-Annibal in a tunic. We came late. After twelve, Vyacheslav and Anichkov or someone else gave reports on the themes of mystical anarchism, collective individualism, the suffering god of Hellenic religion, the collective theater, Christ and Antichrist, etc... We argued violently and at length. Toward morning, after the debate, the reading of poems began... In his long frock coat, with the soft necktie tied with elegant casualness, in a nimbus of ashen-gold hair, Blok was at that time romantically handsome. He would go slowly to the table with the candles, look around at everyone with his stony eyes, and would himself turn to stone until the silence became complete. And he began to speak, holding the verse steady agonizingly well and slowing the tempo slightly on the rhymes... Everyone was in love with him...
K. Mochulsky, Alexander Blok