MEREZHKOVSKY, DMITRI SERGEIEVICH (1865 ), Russian novelist and critic, was born in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) on Aug. 2, 1865, the son of a court official, and graduated from St. Petersburg university. He married Zinaida Hippius, the poet (q.v.). His first volume of poetry, published in 1888, was followed by more poetry, Vera, Sakya Muni, Avakuns, Black Angel, etc., by translations from Euripides and other Greek classics, by literary essays on Russian and foreign writers, Eternal Companions (1897), and by a trilogy of historical romances collectively entitled Christ and Antichrist and consisting of Smert Bogov (1895, Eng. trans. The Death of the Gods, 1901, popular ed. 1926), the central figure of which is Julian the Apostate; Voskresentie Bogi (1902, Eng. trans. The Forerunner, 1902 ; repr. 1924), which described the life and times of Leonardo da Vinci ; and Antikhrist: Par i Aleksyey (1905, Eng. trans. Peter and Alexis, 1905), based on the story of the relations be tween Peter the Great and his son. After the "trilogy" came the novels Alexander I. (1911, French trans. 5th ed. 5922), December
(1920, Eng. trans. 1923), and in connection with the Tutankh amun excavations, The Birth of the Gods (Eng. trans. 1925), followed by Akhnaton (Eng. trans. 1927).
About 1900-02 Merezhkovsky evolved a mystic, neo-Christian or apocalyptic teaching, based on the equal sanctity of flesh and spirit as opposed to the cult of the flesh as represented by pagan ism, and the cult of the spirit as revealed by ecclesiastical Christianity. The influence of Sienkiewicz can be traced in many of Merezhkovsky's writings, which include critical studies such as Tolstoi and Dostoievsky (2 vols., 1901-02) . He also wrote on religious, political and social questions, and published several plays, including Paul I. (1908) and Carewicz Aleksy (Warsaw, 1921), a tragedy in five acts. After the revolution he left Russia and went to live in Paris, where he continued to write.
Merezhkovsky's collected works were published in 24 vols. in See also J. Chuzeville, Dmitri Merezhkovsky (1922).