Aleksei Bibik


Aleksei Bibik was one of a relative handful of working-class writers who wrote primarily fiction (the majority favored poetry), and he was one of the most prolific of writers from a proletarian background. Born on 5 (17) October 1878 in Kharkov, in eastern Ukraine, he was the son of a metal turner (tokar', also translatable as lathe operator). Bibik was relatively better educated than many worker writers, which may partly explain his turn to prose, which a number of other self-taught authors (samouchki) tried and abandoned as too difficult compared to poetry, or came to later in life. Starting at the age of nine, he learned basic literacy at a privately-owned school before enrolling in a regular city primary school in Kharkov. After completing school (presumably following the fourth grade), he entered the final (fifth) year of a two-class Orthodox Church parish school. Hoping to continue his education further, he enrolled in a railroad technical school. But when his father fell ill he had to return home and enter instead the Kharkov locomotive railway workshop as an apprentice metal turner (though he had to claim to be a year older then he actually was in order to be allowed to work legally). He later moved to Taganrog, on the Sea of Azov, where he found work in the railroad shops, though his real goal (he later tells us) was to enter into a sailing school in order to fulfill a dream of sailing the seas. The death of his father in 1898 forced him to return home once again to his family in Kharkov and to work as a turner on the railroad.

In the late 1890s, Bibik joined an underground workers’ circle and soon after joined the local social democratic organization in Kharkov. In 1900 he was arrested for his political activities and for organizing a strike in his workshop, and exiled for three years to Viatka province, near the Ural mountains. At the end of his exile in 1903, he was again arrested, this time for propaganda among the local peasantry and for organizing a socialist circle, for which he was exiled for five years to the Siberian north (Arkhangelsk province), though he was freed in the 1905 amnesty. Returning to work in the Kharkov railway workshops, he joined the local Menshevik organization and, in 1906, was a member of the Menshevik delegation to the Fourth (Unity) Congress of the Russian Social Democratic Labor Party in Stockholm. He would for many years remain an activist in the Menshevik movement, frequently changing jobs (from 1905 to 1917 he worked variously as a turner, draftsman, machinist, carpenter, statistician, and even land surveyor) and moving to different cities (Baku, Sevastopol, Mariupol, Voronezh, Riga, and in the Don region), partly in order to avoid arrest. Still, at least twice more he spent time in tsarist prisons.

Bibik began writing during his first exile in Viatka province--"out of boredom" he later claimed. His stories appeared in print starting in 1901: in provincial newspapers, in left-wing magazines, in the Menshevik press, and in a collection of his stories published in 1905. While working as a draftsman in a factory in Voronezh in 1910, he completed a novel, which he began writing in 1906, about workers' lives and struggles. Called K shirokoi doroge (К широкой дороге, To the Open Road), it was first published in 1912, with the help of the Marxist literary critic V. L. L'vov-Rogachevskii, in the socialist magazine Sovremennyi mir (Modern world) and reprinted as a book in 1914.

When the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, Bibik initially stood with the socialist opposition. By 1920, however, he had abandoned Menshevism and politics altogether. He revised his first novel (several times, in fact) more in line with Communist notions about the labor movement and completed a second novel that was published in 1922, but was viewed by Communist critics as still showing signs of "ideological confusion." For the next few years, Bibik abandoned literature as well and returned to work in industry and as an agronomist. He resumed writing only in 1925, publishing a number of stories and plays. After 1932, he able to quit work and work exclusively as a writer, though from 1936 (the start of the years of Stalin's terror) until 1957 (a few years after Stalin's death), no works by Bibik were published and we know little of his activities.


RGALI (Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, Moscow), f. 1849, op. 1, d. 1, l. 8 (Autobiography of A.P. Bibik, evidently written after 1917).
RGALI, f. 1849, op. 1, d. 1, l. 6-8 (Autobiography of A.P. Bibik)
V. L. L’vov-Rogachevskii, Introduction to A. Bibik, K shirokoi doroge (Ignat iz Novoselovki) (St. Petersburg, 1914)
L'vov-Rogachevskii, Ocherki proletarskoi literatury, 216-220
Literaturnaia Entsiklopediia 1:476-78
Russkie Sovetskie pisateli: Prozaiki, 1:224-34
Kratkaia literaturnaia entsiklopediia 1:592
Modern Encyclopedia of Russian and Soviet Literature, 2:238-39
Russkie pisateli, 1800-1917, 1:263-64
Retrieved from ""

Olga Berggolts

Berggolts was born in a working suburb of St. Petersburg to the family of a doctor who worked at a plant. Her verses were first published in 1924. In 1925 she joined a youth literature group 'The Shift' where she became acquainted with Boris Kornilov whom she married in 1926. Soon their daughter Irina was born. Boris and Olga entered the Higher State Courses in Fine Arts. Soon Boris left the courses, and Olga began studies at the Leningrad University. In 1930 she graduated from the philological faculty of the university and was sent to Kazakhstan as a journalist for the newspaper "Soviet steppe". During this period Olga divorced Kornilov and married Nikolay Molchanov.

After returning to Leningrad she started working as a journalist for the newspaper of the electric power plant (Electric Power). Her feelings and thoughts on this period were expressed in such books as The Out-of-the-way place (1932), Night (1935), Journalists (1934), and Grains (1935). Such works by Berggolts as Poems (1934) and Uglich (1932) were approved of by Maxim Gorky.

In the late 1930s several tragedies interrupted her happy life. Her daughters Irina and Maya died, and in 1938 they were followed by Boris Kornilov, who was arrested on false charges and subsequently killed as part of the Great Purge. Olga herself was imprisoned in December, 1938. She spent 7 months in prison where she was cruelly beaten. Because of such cruelty she gave birth to a still-born child. The motifs of tragedy that appear in her later poetry, then, may in a way be explained by the circumstances of her life (most such poems were published in a collection called The Knot, 1965).

Olga Berggolts spent all the 900 days of the blockade in Leningrad. She worked at the radio, encouraging hungry and depressed citizens of the city by her speeches and poems. Her thoughts and impressions on this period, on problems of heroism, love, faithfullness can be found in "February diary" (1942), "Leningrad poem" (1942), "In memory of defenders" (1944), "Your way" (1945), and some others. Berggolts also wrote many books about heroic and glorious events in the history of Russia, such as "Pervorossyisk", 1950, (a poem about the Altay commune organized by the workers of Petrograd), "Faithfullness", 1954, (a tragedy about the defence of Sevastopol in 1941-1942), and "They were living in Leningrad", 1944, (a play about the blockade of Leningrad). Her memoirs "The Day Stars" were published in 1959 and filmed in 1968. Olga Berggolts died on 13 November 1975, and was buried at Literatorskie Mostki.

Olga Berggolts was decorated with Order of Lenin, Order of the Red Banner of Labour, and numerous medals.

One of the streets in Saint Petersburg is named after her.

Alexander Beliaev

Alexander Beliaev (Алекса́ндр Рома́нович Беля́ев IPA: [ʌlʲɪˈksandr rʌˈmanəvʲɪtɕ bʲɪlʲæjɪf] (1884–1942) is a Russian author of science fiction whose body of work from the 1920s and 1930s made him a highly regarded Russian author in that field. His published works include Professor Dowell's Head (Голова профессора Доуэля), Amphibian Man (Человек-амфибия), Ariel (Ариэль), and The Star KETs (Звезда Кэц; KETs are the initials of Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky), The Air Seller and many more.

Born in Smolensk, young Alexander dreamed of flying and one day climbed to the roof of a barn. In his leap from there, he severely injured his spine. By his mid-twenties, Beliaev suffered constant pain from the injuries and would become paralyzed for months at a time. In his convalescence, he turned to the work of Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and began to write novels in earnest.

Beliaev died of hunger in the Soviet town of Pushkin in 1942 while it was occupied by the Nazis. His wife and daughter, who managed to survive, were taken away to Poland by the Nazis.


Amphibian (1928), Moscow, Raduga Publisher, 1986. ISBN 5-05-000659-7
Professor Dowell's head (1979), New York, Macmillan, 1980. ISBN 0-02-508370-8
Struggle in Space

Andrei Bely

Andrei Bely (Андрей Белый) was the pseudonym of Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev (October 26 [O.S. October 14] 1880 – January 8, 1934), a Russian novelist, poet, theorist, and literary critic. His miasmal and profoundly disturbing novel Petersburg was regarded by Vladimir Nabokov as one of the four greatest novels of the twentieth century.

Boris Bugaev was born into a prominent intellectual family. His father, Nikolai Bugaev, was a leading mathematician who is regarded as a founder of the Moscow school of mathematics. His mother was not only highly intelligent but a famous society beauty, and the focus of considerable gossip. Young Boris was a polymath whose interests included mathematics, music, philosophy, and literature. He would go on to found both the Symbolist movement and the Russian school of neo-Kantianism.

Nikolai Bugaev was well known for his influential philosophical essays, in which he decried geometry and probability and trumpeted the virtues of hard analysis. Despite-- or because of-- his father's mathematical tastes, Boris Bugaev was fascinated by probability and particularly by entropy, a notion to which he frequently refers in works such as Kotik Letaev.

Bely's creative works notably influenced—and were influenced by—several literary schools, especially symbolism. They feature a striking mysticism and a sort of moody musicality. The far-reaching influence of his literary voice on Russian writers (and even musicians) has frequently been compared to the impact of James Joyce in the English-speaking world. The novelty of his sonic effects has also been compared to the innovative music of Charles Ives.

Bely's symbolist novel Petersburg (1916; 1922) is generally considered to be his masterpiece. The book is vivid and memorable, and employs a striking prose method in which sounds often evoke colors. The novel is set in the somewhat hysterical atmosphere of turn-of-the-century Petersburg and the Russian Revolution of 1905. To the extent that the book can be said to possess a plot, this can be summarized as the story of the hapless Nikolai Apollonovich, a never-do-well who is caught up in revolutionary politics and assigned the task of assassinating a certain government official—his own father. Nikolai is pursued through the impenetrable Petersburg mists by the ringing hooves of the famous bronze statue of Peter the Great.

In his later years Bely was influenced by Rudolph Steiner’s anthroposophy and became a personal friend of Steiner's.

Bely has been credited with foretelling in this novel, which some have called semi-autobiographical, the Russian Revolution, the rise of totalitarianism, political terrorism, and even chaos theory.

Bely was one of the major influences on the theater of Vsevolod Meyerhold.

1902 Second Symphony, the Dramatic
1904 The Northern, or First--Heroic
1904 Gold in Azure (poetry)
1905 The Return--Third
1908 Goblet of Blizzards--Fourth
1909 Ash
1909 Urn (poetry)
1910 Symbolism (criticism/theory)
1910 Green Meadow (criticism)
1910 The Silver Dove (novel)
1911 Arabeques (criticism)
1914 Kotik Letaev (novel based on his childhood)
1916 Petersburg (Revised edition published, 1922)
1917 Revolution and Culture
1918 Christ Has Risen (poem)
1922 Recollections of Blok
1922 "Glossolalia" (A Poem about Sound)
1922 The First Encounter (poem)
1926 The Moscow Eccentric (1st of trilogy of novels)
1926 Moscow Under Siege (2nd of trilogy of novels)
1927 The Baptized Chinaman (Translated into English as "The Christened Chinaman")
1931 Masks (3rd of trilogy of novels)
1930 At the Border of Two Centuries (1st memoir of trilogy)
1933 The Beginning of the Century (2nd memoire of trilogy)
1934 Between Two Revolutions (3rd memoire of trilogy)
1934 Rhythm as Dialectic in The Bronze Horseman (criticism)
1934 The Mastery of Gogol (criticism)

Vissarion Belinsky

Life and Ideas
Although born in Sveaborg, Vissarion Belinsky was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was a respected critic and editor of two major literary magazines: Отечественные Записки (Notes of the Fatherland), and The Contemporary (also known as "Sovremennik"). In both magazines Belinsky worked with his apprentice Nikolay Nekrasov.

He was unlike most of the other Russian intellectuals of the 1830s and 1840s. The son of a rural medical doctor, he was not a wealthy aristocrat. The fact that Belinsky was relatively underprivileged meant, among other effects, that he was mainly self-educated, unlike Alexander Herzen or Mikhail Bakunin, this was partly due to being expelled from Moscow University for political activity. But it was less for his philosophical skill that Belinsky was admired and more for emotional commitment and fervor. “For me, to think, to feel, to understand and to suffer are one and the same thing,” he liked to say. This was, of course, true to the Romantic ideal, to the belief that real understanding comes not only from mere thinking (reason), but also from intuitive insight. This combination of thinking and feeling pervaded Belinsky’s life.

Ideologically, Belinsky shared, but with exceptional intellectual and moral passion, the central value of most of Westernizer intelligentsia: the notion of the individual self, a person (lichnost’), that which makes people human, and gives them dignity and rights. With this idea in hand (which he arrived at through a complex intellectual struggle) faced the world around him armed to do battle. He took on much conventional philosophical thinking among educated Russians, including the dry and abstract philosophizing of the German idealists and their Russian followers. In his words, “What is it to me that the Universal exists when the individual personality [lichnost’] is suffering.” Or: “The fate of the individual, of the person, is more important than the fate of the whole world.” Also upon this principle, Belinsky constructed an extensive critique of the world around him (especially the Russian one). He bitterly criticized autocracy and serfdom (as “trampling upon everything that is even remotely human and noble”) but also poverty, prostitution, drunkenness, bureaucratic coldness, and cruelty toward the less powerful (including women).

Belinsky worked most of his short life as a literary critic. His writings on literature were inseparable from these moral judgments. Belinsky believed that the only realm of freedom in the repressive reign of Nicholas I was through the written word. What Belinsky required most of a work of literature was “truth.” This meant not only a probing portrayal of real life (he hated works of mere fantasy, or escape, or aestheticism), but also commitment to “true” ideas--the correct moral stance (above all this meant a concern for the dignity of individual people): As he told Gogol (in a famous letter) the public “is always ready to forgive a writer for a bad book [i.e. aesthetically bad], but never for a pernicious one [ideologically and morally bad].” Belinsky viewed Gogol’s recent book, Correspondence with Friends, as pernicious because it renounced the need to “awaken in the people a sense of their human dignity, trampled down in the mud and the filth for so many centuries.”

Inspired by these ideas, which led to thinking about radical changes in society’s organization, Belinsky began to call himself a socialist starting in 1841. Among his last great efforts were his move to join Nikolay Nekrasov in the popular magazine The Contemporary (also known as "Sovremennik"), where the two critics established the new literary center of St. Petersburg and Russia. At that time Belinsky published his Literary Review for the Year 1847.

In 1848, shortly before his death, Belinsky granted full rights to Nikolay Nekrasov and his magazine, The Contemporary ("Sovremennik"), to publish various articles and other material originally planned for an almanac, to be called the Leviathan.

Belinsky died of consumption on the eve of his arrest by the Tsar's police on account of his political views. In 1910, Russia celebrated the centenary of his birth with enthusiasm and appreciation.

His surname has variously been spelled Belinskii or Byelinski. His works, in twelve volumes, were first published in 1859–1862. Following the expiration of the copyright in 1898, several new editions appeared. The best of these is by S. Vengerov; it is supplied with profuse notes.

Belinsky was an early supporter of the work of Ivan Turgenev. The two became close friends and Turgenev fondly recalls Belinsky in his book Literary Reminiscences and Autobiographical Fragments. The British writer Isaiah Berlin has a chapter on Belinsky on his 1978 book Russian Thinkers. Berlin's book introduced Belinsky to playwright Tom Stoppard, who included Belinsky as one of the principal characters (along with Alexander Herzen, Mikhail Bakunin and Turgenev) in his trilogy of plays about Russian writers and activists: The Coast of Utopia (2002)

[edit] References
Isaiah Berlin, Russian Thinkers, London, 1978
Alexander Herzen. My Past and Thoughts
A. Pypin, Belinsky: His Life and Correspondence, Saint Petersburg, 1876
Ivan Turgenev, Literary Reminiscences and Autobiographical Fragments, New York, 1958

[edit] External links
Longer biography
Letter to Gogol
[1] The Coast of Utopia at Lincoln Center]
Lincoln Center Theatre Review, Fall 2006
Retrieved from ""

Konstantin Batyushkov

Konstantin Nikolayevich Batyushkov Константин Николаевич Батюшков (1787, Vologda - July 7, 1855, Vologda) was an important precursor of Alexander Pushkin in the Russian poetry.

Batyushkov was brought up in the house of his uncle Mikhail Muravyov, who was reputed for his light and humorous poetry. At an early age he became fascinated with the Italian language and set out to Italianize Russian poetry. Batyushkov's most important poems were written between 1809 and 1812 and collected into a slender volume in 1817. We have Pushkin's copy of the book, with his curious remarks on the Italianate music and technique of Batyushkov's mellifluous verse.

About 1823 Batyushkov went mad. During the period of his mental illness, he still made weird attempts at versification. His rare poems from this period are impeccable metrically but do not make any sense, e.g., "I only wake to fall asleep / And sleep, to wake without end", his last lines from 1853. Such pieces fascinated the 20th-century poet Osip Mandelshtam, who repeatedly addressed Batyushkov's life and poetry in his essays and verse.

[edit] External link
Detailed biography in English
Retrieved from ""

Ivan Barkov

Ivan Barkov was born in 1732 in the family of an Orthodox priest. As a child he attended an Orthodox school, but at the age of 16 he won an admission to Moscow State University and scholarship. He liked language and poetry, which were his major fields of study. Still, he was notorious wild lifestyle, that lead to his expulsion from the University for fighting with police in 1751.

After expulsion, Ivan Barkov worked as a clerk and technical editor in one of the first Russian publishing houses. Although menial, this work gave him a lot of practice to perfect his language. After years of distinctive service he was promoted to an interpreter and translated some Greek poetry into Russian. Unfortunately, he died shortly afterwards under unclear circumstances. A widespread legend tells that he died in a fist fight in a brothel and managed to put the résumé of his life Жил грешно и умер смешно (lived sinfully and died absurdly). Another legend states that he, being dead-drunk has fallen into a privy hole and died there, and the known résumé is an epitaph he has written for a protagonist of one of his own poems.

Barkov was highly regarded as an able interpreter and a poet. Since poetry was his hobby more than his job, he could afford to use simpler language in his work. Most of his poems are outrightly obscene or even pornographic, although very funny. Written copies of his work circulated Russia since their creation.

Most works commonly ascribed to Barkov actually date from the 1840s. A major work from this corpus is Luka Mudischev (Лука Мудищев), a story of a low-life Russian dvoryanin from an old family which was given nobility due to the size of their penises (his last name Mudischev is derived from a highly obscene word муда́ meaning testicles). He is paid to have sex with a bored widow and kills her with his eight-vershok-long phallus in process. In the end, he and madame kill each other. However mundane the plot is, the poem manages to tell a lot about daily life of that time and place and is partially a satire directed towards odd nobility politics and social practices of that time.

Ivan Barkov had a major impact on Russian language and later literati. His name is being brought up in any dispute on introduction of slang words into language, and, although his verses were unpublished for a very long time for being immoral, written copies of his work could always be found in student environment.

Natalya Baranskaya

Natalya Vladimirovna Baranskaya (Russian: Наталья Владимировна Баранская; 1908-2004[1]) was a Soviet writer of short stories or novellas. She was born in 1908 in Russia, and graduated in 1929 from Moscow University with degrees in philology and ethnology. After the war, while she raised two children alone since her husband was killed in 1943, she attend post-graduate school part time and earned yet another degree. She spent the majority of her career working the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and did not begin the majority of her writing career after her retirement in 1966.

[edit] Published Works
“A Week Like Any Other” (1968)

Published in the Novy Mir in 1969. Not published in English until 1990.

Her work captures the day-to-day activities of a typical Soviet woman though Olya. Baranskaya was applauded by many Soviet women who read her work. However Baranskaya never intended a week like any other to be a work of feminism. A married mother of two young children, Olya tries to balance her responsibilities to her career as a scientist and also to her family. Her daily life gives the readers some insight into the roll of women in the Soviet Union. After the revolution, women were expected to both maintain the traditional womanly duties of homemaker as well as furthering the Soviet society through managing a career. Baranskaya makes it clear that the husbands did not play a major role in the home. At one point, Dima, Olya’s husband feeds the two children bread and jam when Olya is not home in time to make a proper supper. While the women may have had the opportunity to leave the home for the work place, it seems more a sense of duty the Soviet Union, than a choice to explore non-traditional avenues.

Memorable Quotes

“We’ve done an enormous amount to liberate women, and there is absolutely no reason not to believe in the desire and will to do more.” –Maria Matveyevna.

“I’ve lost seventy-eight days, almost a third of my whole working time, in sick days and certificates. And all because of the children. Everybody copies out their days and so can see what everybody else has got. I don’t understand why I feel so awkward, even ashamed. I shrink, avoid looking at people. Why? I’m not guilty of anything.” –Olya

“As I pass by I say loudly: ‘Incidentally, I’ve got a degree as well, you know, I’m just as highly trained as you are.’ ‘Congratulations,’ Dima Replies.”

[edit] References
^ Natalya Baranskaya in Krugosvet Encyclopedia (Russian)
An Anthology of Russian Women's Writing, 1777-1992. Contributors: Catriona Kelly - editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of Publication: Oxford. Publication Year: 1998. p397.
Book Reviews: A Week Like Any Other: Novellas and Other Short Stories. By Natalia Baranskaya. Kueglman. Seattle, WA. Seal Press, 1989. pp93-94.
The Nation. Katrina Vanden Heuvel. "Glasnost for Women?" June 4th, 1990. p775.
Retrieved from ""

Evgeny Baratynsky

Evgeny Abramovich Baratynsky (Russian: Евгений Абрамович Баратынский, March 2, 1800 — July 11, 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 Anna Akhmatova and Joseph Brodsky as a supreme poet of thought

Of noble ancestry, Baratynsky was educated 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.

In 1820 the young poet made his acquaintance with Anton Delvig, who rallied his falling spirits and introduced him to the literary press. Soon Baratynsky was transferred to Finland, where he remained six years. His first long poem, Eda, written during this period, established his reputation. Through the interest of friends he obtained leave from the tsar to retire from the army, and settled in 1827 in Muranovo near Moscow (now a literary museum). There he completed his longest work, The Gipsy, a poem written in the style of Pushkin.

Baratynsky's grave in the cemetery of Alexander Nevsky LavraBaratynsky's family life seemed to be happy, but a profound melancholy remained the background of his mind and of his poetry. He published several books of verse that were highly valued by Pushkin and other perceptive critics, but met with the comparatively cool reception of the public, and violent ridicule on the part of the young journalists of the "plebeian party". As the 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, where he had gone in pursuit of a milder climate.

[edit] 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.

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.

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).

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.

[edit] Philosophy
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.

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

[edit] External links
Poems of Evgeny Baratynsky
Recordings of Evgeny Baratynsky's poems
Darkness and Light: The Life of Russia's Philosopher-Poet, Evgeny Abramovich Boratynski, by Grant Hayter-Menzies
Retrieved from ""

Konstantin Balmont

Konstantin Dmitrievich Balmont (Russian: Константин Дмитриевич Бальмонт) (June 15, 1867—December 24, 1942) was a Russian symbolist poet, translator, one of the major figures of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry.

He was born ito a noble family near Vladimir. In 1886 he entered the Moscow University, but was excluded the next year. He started poetic activity in the end of 1890s, and became famous in 1905 after having published several compilations of poems. In the end of 1905 he illegally left Russia for Paris, traveled extensively, and returned to Moscow only in 1916. He accepted enthusiastically the February Revolution, but was against the October Revolution of 1917, and left Russia for Germany, and subsequently for France in 1920. He spent the last 20 years of his life in emigration and in poverty. He died in 1942 in Noisy-le-Grand, a suburb of Paris.

Barque of Yearning
for Prince A. I. Urusov

Evening. Seashore. A sighing wind.
Majestic waves roar.
A storm is near. A black barque,
Stranger to charm, batters the shore.

Stranger to the pure charms of joy,
A barque of yearning, a barque of trouble
Quits the shore to battle the storm,
Searching for a palace of bright dreams.

It flies along the shore, it flies along the sea,
Surrendering to the will of the waves.
A matte moon observes it,
A moon full of bitter sorrow.

The evening is dead. The night blackens.
The sea rumbles. The gloom deepens.
The barque of yearning is seized by darkness.
The storm howls in the watery depths.

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