Derzhavin: A Biography (Wisconsin Center for Pushkin by Vladislav Khodasevich, Angela Brintlinger

By Vladislav Khodasevich, Angela Brintlinger

Russian poet, soldier, and statesman Gavriil Derzhavin (1743–1816) lived in the course of an epoch of momentous swap in Russia—imperial growth, peasant revolts, conflict with Turkey, and fight with Napoleon—and he served 3 tsars, together with Catherine the good. right here in its first English translation is the masterful biography of Derzhavin by means of one other acclaimed Russian guy of letters, Vladislav Khodasevich.             Derzhavin occupied a place on the middle of Russian lifestyles, uniting civic provider with poetic proposal and developing an oeuvre that at its essence celebrated the triumphs of Russia and its rulers, quite Catherine the nice. His biographer Khodasevich, in contrast, left Russia in 1922, not able to abide the more and more repressive regime of the Soviets. For Khodasevich, whose lyric poems have been as normal of their concentration as Derzhavin’s odes have been grand, this biography used to be in a feeling a rediscovery of a misplaced and idyllic period, a interval whilst it used to be attainable to aspire to the pinnacles of inventive fulfillment whereas nonetheless occupying a significant function in Russian society. Khodasevich writes with humor, intelligence, and realizing, and his paintings stands as a monument to the final 3 centuries of Russian heritage, lending prepared perception into Russia’s prior in addition to its current and destiny. “Khodasevich’s gentle narrative contact (as translated by way of Brintlinger) lends a novelistic caliber to the biography, making it a real travel de strength. All scholars and students – of heritage, literature, poetry, biography – will locate anything of curiosity here.”—Choice

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I have wanted to flee an hundred times And, steel’d to go, yet an hundred times returned. ” Although not completely without a backward glance. His Moscow passions still stirred. Repentance said one thing to his soul, but the devil said something else. It all began when, after only a hundred and fifty versts, Derzhavin met one of his Moscow friends in Tver and together they went through all his money. What could he do? He borrowed an additional fifty rubles from another traveler (a gardener who was transporting Astrakhan grape vines to the court), somehow escaped his friend, and continued on.

Helterhof promised Derzhavin an officer’s rank in the emperor’s favored Holstein army. It was just coming up on June. At the palace a periodic coup was brewing. At the head of the conspiracy stood Empress Catherine. The thief disappeared with the loot and Derzhavin was not himself all day. ” Derzhavin did not pay attention to these speeches: the loss of his money made him indifferent toward everything else. He was merely waiting until soldiers friendly to him returned so they might set out in pursuit of the thief.

The army grumbled at the Prussian uniforms he introduced, the Prussian drills, the daily changing of the guard. But more than anything they were annoyed by the fact that the emperor brought regiments from his native Holstein to Russia, quartered them at his own residence at Oranienbaum, and gave the Holsteiners clear preference over the Russian army. Derzhavin: A Biography  Derzhavin, of course, noticed this grumbling but kept his own counsel. His burning sense of resentment drowned out most everything else.

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