Aleksei Losev bigraphy, stories - Russian philosopher and philologist

Aleksei Losev : biography

1893 - 1988

Aleksei Fedorovich Losev () (September 23, 1893 – May 24, 1988) was a Russian philosopher, philologist and culturologist, one of the most prominent figures in Russian philosophical and religious thought of the 20th century. Special Issue: Sophia Across Culture: From Old Testament to Postmodernity.


Losev graduated with a double degree—philology and philosophy—in 1915. He stayed at Moscow University to prepare for a position as lecturer in Classical Philology. In 1916 he published his first paper, "Eros in Plato". English translator: Stephen Shenfield. First published in Russian in 1994 in Posle pereryva. Puti russkoi filosofii as "Ar'ergardnyi boi". When Russia erupted in the 1917 February and October Revolutions, Losev kept a low profile, spending all of his time writing and studying. In 1919, typhus killed his mother. The same year, Losev's paper "Russian Philosophy" was published in a German-language volume composed of various articles about Russian cultural development. Losev was unaware of this publication until 1983. It was finally published in the Russian language after Losev's death.

After the revolution, the Bolsheviks stopped the teaching of the classics at Moscow University. In 1919, Losev became a professor of classical philology at the newly opened University of Nizhni Novgorod. He also found work teaching aesthetics at the State Institute of Musical Science, at the State Academy of Artistic Science, and at the Moscow Conservatory where he was named professor.

Losev married Valentina Mikhailovna Sokolova on June 5, 1922; she was a student of math and astronomy who was five years younger than Losev. He had seen her since 1917 when he began renting a room from her parents in Moscow. Pavel Florensky, a former priest and physicist working on the official GOELRO plan to bring electrical utility service to Russia, performed the wedding ceremony in Sergiyev Posad. Losev and his wife found they were matched artistically, intellectually and also spiritually; they both sought higher understanding in the study of Russian religion under Archimandrite David. Religion was being suppressed by the Bolsheviks, so this study was conducted in secret. On June 3, 1929, the two were ordained monks in the Russian Orthodox Church in a private ceremony officiated by David. They took the monastic names Andronik and Afanasiya. The Losevs successfully hid their monastic status from the public until five years after Losev's death in 1988.


  • 1916 – "Eros in Plato"
  • 1916 – "On the Musical Perception of Love and Nature"
  • 1916 – "Two Perceptions of the World"
  • 1919 – "Russian Philosophy"
  • 1927 – The Ancient Cosmos and Contemporary Science (Античный космос и современная наука.)
  • 1927 – The Philosophy of Name, regarding the ideas of Onomatodoxy
  • 1927 – The Dialectics of the Artistic Form (Диалектика художественной формы.)
  • 1927 – Music as a Subject of Logic
  • 1928 – The Dialectics of Number in Plotinus, a translation and commentary about Plotinus' treatise On Numbers
  • 1928 – Criticism of Platonism by Aristotle, a translation and commentary about Aristotle's Metaphysics
  • 1929 – Essays on Classical Symbolism and Mythology
  • 1930 – The Dialectics of Myth (translated by Vladimir Marchenkov). New York: Routledge, 2003, ISBN 0-415-28467-8.
  • 1934 – Woman as Thinker, or The Woman Thinker, a novel inspired by pianist Maria Yudina
  • 1937 – translation of German works by Nicholas of Cusa
  • 1975 – translation of works by Sextus Empiricus, first written in 1937 but published in 1975
  • 1978 – Aesthetics of the Renaissance (Эстетика Возрождения.)
  • 1982 – Sign, Symbol, Myth (Знак, символ, миф.)
  • 1983 – Vladimir Solovyov (Владимир Соловьев.)
  • 1963–1988 – The History of Classical Aesthetics (История античной эстетики, 8 volumes.)
  • 1990 – "Scriabin's Worldview", essay about pianist/composer Alexander Scriabin, written in 1919–21, first published in 1990.
  • 1994 – , a public lecture Losev delivered to the Scientific Committee of Culture of the Presidium of the USSR Academy of Science. First published in 1994 in Russian. Translated to English by Oleg Kreymer and Kate Wilkinson and published in Arion: A Journal of Humanities and the Classics, 2003, vol. 11, no. 1.
  • (in Russian)
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