The Fiery Angel (novel)
|Original title||Огненный ангел|
Ivor Montagu and
|Publisher||Scorpion (Russian), Humphrey Toulmin (English)|
Published in English
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
The Fiery Angel (Russian: Огненный ангел, Ognenny Angel) is a novel by Russian writer Valery Bryusov. It was first serialized in the Russian literary monthly Vesy in 1907-1908, and then published in a book form (in two volumes) in 1908. Set in the sixteenth century Germany it depicts a love-triangle between Renata, a passionate young woman, Ruprecht, a knight and Madiel, the fiery Angel. The novel tells the story of Ruprecht's attempts to win the love of Renata whose spiritual integrity is seriously undermined by her participation in occult practices. This love-triangle is now recognised to be that which existed between the author, Bryusov, the symbolist novelist Andrei Bely and their shared lover, the nineteen-year-old Nina Petrovskaya. The novel is a meticulous account of sixteenth century Germany, notably Cologne and the world of the occult. Characters such as Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa and Faust appear alongside a description of a Black Mass.
The Fiery Angel is generally regarded a work of painstaking research and heightened emotion in which the author's comprehensive knowledge of the esoteric is displayed. Its modernity is reflected in its tension between sexuality and spirituality.
The Fiery Angel has been compared to Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita for its general theme of the occult, to Joris-Karl Huysmans's Là-bas for its description of a black Mass and to Aldous Huxley's The Devils of Loudun for its depiction of religious hysteria.