Yevgeny Baratynsky

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Yevgeny Baratynsky
Evgeny Boratynsky by Francois Frederic Chevalier (1812-1849).jpg
BornYevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky
(1800-03-02)2 March 1800
village Vyazhlya, Kirsanov Uyezd, Tambov Governorate, Russian Empire
Died11 July 1844(1844-07-11) (aged 44)
Naples, Italy
OccupationPoet

Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky [1] (Russian :Евге́ний Абра́мович Бараты́нский,IPA:  [jɪvˈɡʲenʲɪj ɐˈbraməvʲɪtɕ bərɐˈtɨnskʲɪj] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); 2 March [ O.S. 19 February]  1800 11 July 1844) was lauded by Alexander Pushkin as the finest Russian elegiac poet. After a long period when his reputation was on the wane, Baratynsky was rediscovered by Russian Symbolism poets as a supreme poet of thought.

Russian language East Slavic language

Russian is an East Slavic language, which is official in the Russian Federation, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, as well as being widely used throughout Eastern Europe, the Baltic states, the Caucasus and Central Asia. It was the de facto language of the Soviet Union until its dissolution on 25 December 1991. Although nearly three decades have passed since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russian is used in official capacity or in public life in all the post-Soviet nation-states, as well as in Israel and Mongolia.

Old Style and New Style dates 16th-century changes in calendar conventions

Old Style (O.S.) and New Style (N.S.) are terms sometimes used with dates to indicate that the calendar convention used at the time described is different from that in use at the time the document was being written. There were two calendar changes in Great Britain and its colonies, which may sometimes complicate matters: the first was to change the start of the year from Lady Day to 1 January; the second was to discard the Julian calendar in favour of the Gregorian calendar. Closely related is the custom of dual dating, where writers gave two consecutive years to reflect differences in the starting date of the year, or to include both the Julian and Gregorian dates.

Alexander Pushkin Russian poet

Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was a Russian poet, playwright, and novelist of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.

Contents

Biography

A member of the noble Baratynsky  [ ru ], or, more accurately, Boratynsky  [ ru ] family, the future poet received his education at the Page Corps at St. Petersburg, from which he was expelled at the age of 15 after stealing a snuffbox and five hundred roubles from the bureau of his accessory's uncle. After three years in the countryside and deep emotional turmoil he entered the army as a private. [2]

Page Corps

The Page Corps was a military academy in Imperial Russia, which prepared sons of the nobility and of senior officers for military service. Similarly, the Imperial School of Jurisprudence prepared boys for civil service. Although not established until 1943, the modern equivalent of the Page Corps and other Imperial military academies can be said to be the Suvorov Military Schools.

Saint Petersburg Federal city in Northwestern Federal Okrug, Russia

Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject.

In 1820 the young poet met Anton Delvig, who rallied his falling spirits and introduced him to the literary press. [3] Soon the military posted Baratynsky to Finland, where he remained for six years. His first long poem, Eda, written during this period, established his reputation. [2]

Anton Delvig Russian journalist and poet

Baron Anton Antonovich Delvig was a Russian poet and journalist of Baltic German ethnicity.

Finland Republic in Northern Europe

Finland, officially the Republic of Finland, is a country in Northern Europe bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, and Gulf of Finland, between Norway to the north, Sweden to the northwest, and Russia to the east. Finland is a Nordic country and is situated in the geographical region of Fennoscandia. The capital and largest city is Helsinki. Other major cities are Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku.

In January 1826 he married the daughter of Major-General Gregory G. Engelhardt. [3] Through the interest of friends he obtained leave from the Emperor to retire from the army, and he settled in 1827 in Muranovo just north of Moscow (now a literary museum). There he completed his longest work, The Gipsy, a poem written in the style of Pushkin. [4]

Muranovo human settlement in Russia

Muranovo is the Fyodor Tyutchev state museum located in Pushkino, Moscow Oblast, Russia.

Portrait, 1826 Baratynsky.jpg
Portrait, 1826

Baratynsky's family life seemed happy, but a profound melancholy remained the background of his mind and of his poetry. He published several books of verse which Pushkin and other perceptive critics praised highly, but which met with a comparatively cool reception from the public, and with violent ridicule on the part of the young journalists of the "plebeian party". As time went by, Baratynsky's mood progressed from pessimism to hopelessness, and elegy became his preferred form of expression. He died in 1844 at Naples, [5] where he had gone in pursuit of a milder climate.[ citation needed ]

In English literature, an elegy is a poem of serious reflection, usually a lament for the dead. The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy notes:

For all of its pervasiveness, however, the ‘elegy’ remains remarkably ill-defined: sometimes used as a catch-all to denominate texts of a somber or pessimistic tone, sometimes as a marker for textual monumentalizing, and sometimes strictly as a sign of a lament for the dead.

Naples Comune in Campania, Italy

Naples is a major city in southern Italy. It is the capital of the Campania region, and the third-largest municipality in Italy after Rome and Milan. The city is called Napoli in Italian, and Napule in Neapolitan. The name comes from Ancient Greek Νεάπολις, meaning "new city", via the Latin Neapolis.

Poetry

Baratynsky's earliest poems are punctuated by conscious efforts to write differently from Pushkin who he regarded as a model of perfection. Even Eda, his first long poem, though inspired by Pushkin's The Prisoner of the Caucasus , adheres to a realistic and homely style, with a touch of sentimental pathos but not a trace of romanticism. It is written, like all that Baratynsky wrote, in a wonderfully precise style, next to which Pushkin's seems hazy. The descriptive passages are among the best — the stern nature of Finland was particularly dear to Baratynsky. [2]

The Prisoner of the Caucasus, also translated as Captive of the Caucasus, is a narrative poem written by Alexander Pushkin in 1820-21 and published in 1822. Dedicated to his friend General Nikolay Raevsky, it was inspired by the poet's time spent in Pyatigorsk during his southern exile.

Romanticism period of artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that started in 18th century Europe

Romanticism was an artistic, literary, musical and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century, and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Romanticism was characterized by its emphasis on emotion and individualism as well as glorification of all the past and nature, preferring the medieval rather than the classical. It was partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, the aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment, and the scientific rationalization of nature—all components of modernity. It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography, education, the social sciences, and the natural sciences. It had a significant and complex effect on politics, with romantic thinkers influencing liberalism, radicalism, conservatism and nationalism.

His short pieces from the 1820s are distinguished by the cold, metallic brilliance and sonority of the verse. They are dryer and clearer than anything in the whole of Russian poetry before Akhmatova. The poems from that period include fugitive, light pieces in the Anacreontic and Horatian manner, some of which have been recognized as the masterpieces of the kind, as well as love elegies, where a delicate sentiment is clothed in brilliant wit. [2]

In his mature work (which includes all his short poems written after 1829) Baratynsky is a poet of thought, perhaps of all the poets of the "stupid nineteenth century" the one who made the best use of thought as a material for poetry. This made him alien to his younger contemporaries and to all the later part of the century, which identified poetry with sentiment. His poetry is, as it were, a short cut from the wit of the 18th-century poets to the metaphysical ambitions of the twentieth (in terms of English poetry, from Alexander Pope to T. S. Eliot). [2]

Baratynsky's style is classical and dwells on the models of the previous century. Yet in his effort to give his thought the tersest and most concentrated statement, he sometimes becomes obscure by sheer dint of compression. Baratynsky's obvious labour gives his verse a certain air of brittleness which is at poles' ends from Pushkin's divine, Mozartian lightness and elasticity. Among other things, Baratynsky was one of the first Russian poets who were, in verse, masters of the complicated sentence, expanded by subordinate clauses and parentheses. [2]

Philosophy

Baratynsky's grave in the cemetery of Alexander Nevsky Lavra Boratynsky grave.jpg
Baratynsky's grave in the cemetery of Alexander Nevsky Lavra

Baratynsky aspired after a fuller union with nature, after a more primitive spontaneity of mental life. He saw the steady, inexorable movement of mankind away from nature. The aspiration after a more organic and natural past is one of the main motives of Baratynsky's poetry. He symbolized it in the growing discord between nature's child — the poet — and the human herd, which were growing, with every generation, more absorbed by industrial cares. Hence the increasing isolation of the poet in the modern world where the only response that greets him is that of his own rhymes (Rhyme, 1841).

The future of industrialized and mechanized mankind will be brilliant and glorious in the nearest future, but universal happiness and peace will be bought at the cost of the loss of all higher values of poetry (The Last Poet). And inevitably, after an age of intellectual refinement, humanity will lose its vital sap and die from sexual impotence. Then earth will be restored to her primaeval majesty (The Last Death, 1827).

This philosophy, allying itself to his profound temperamental melancholy, produced poems of extraordinary majesty, which can compare with nothing in the poetry of pessimism, except Leopardi. Such is the crushing majesty of that long ode to dejection, Autumn (1837), splendidly rhetorical in the grandest manner of classicism, though with a pronouncedly personal accent.

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References

  1. Surname also spelled Boratynsky (Russian : Бораты́нский).
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mirsky 1927.
  3. 1 2 "Prominent Russians: Yevgeny Baratynsky". TV-Novosti. Retrieved January 1, 2012.
  4. Chisholm 1911.
  5. Mirsky, D. S. (1958). "The Golden Age of Poetry". In Whitfield, Francis James (ed.). A History of Russian Literature from Its Beginnings to 1900. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press. p. 104. ISBN   9780810116795 . Retrieved 2016-01-29. In 1843 Baratynsky left Moscow for a journey to France and Italy. He died in Naples, of a sudden illness, on June 29, 1844.
Attribution

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates text from D.S. Mirsky's "A History of Russian Literature" (1926-27), a publication now in the public domain.