Boris Nikolayevich Bugaev was born on October 26, 1880, in Moscow, then the Russian Empire, into a prominent intellectual family. His father was one of Russia’s leading mathematicians; his mother was reportedly a capricious, self-centred woman who was determined to prevent her son from following in the intellectual footsteps of his father. For fear of his mother’s tantrums, Bely was forced to repress any intellectual activity as a child, and he soon learned to hide behind a cloak of feigned stupidity. Fortunately, young Boris was placed under the tutelage of a governess who exposed him to the worlds of literature and music. As he grew older, an interest in art and aesthetics eventually dis-placed interest in the scientific world of his father.