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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 enlargement, peasant revolts, struggle with Turkey, and fight with Napoleon—and he served 3 tsars, together with Catherine the good. the following 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 existence, uniting civic carrier with poetic thought and growing 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 usual 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 creative fulfillment whereas nonetheless occupying a principal 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 earlier in addition to its current and destiny. “Khodasevich’s gentle narrative contact (as translated by means of Brintlinger) lends a novelistic caliber to the biography, making it a real journey de strength. All scholars and students – of historical past, literature, poetry, biography – will locate anything of curiosity here.”— selection

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Extra info for Derzhavin: A Biography

Sample text

What else canst thou employ to rend my breast asunder? Already hast thou usurped my worldly goods. My happiness hast thou usurped as well. ) Destroyed my innocence! In splendid amusements Have I spoiled also my chaste disposition. Spoiled and depraved, I plunged into miserable darkness, Became a scapegrace, brawler, prodigal, and gambler; And though I should have bent my talent to the good, Instead destroyed it with my sinful ways: Scorned now by all and held, too, in contempt, By all, by all good people now disparaged.

Life was also wretched—a remote, garrison-style life. In addition, their income was small and their family was growing. Within a year after the first, a second son was born, and then a daughter, although she did not survive for long. The Derzhavins were people of limited education. Fyokla Andreevna was actually only semiliterate: it seems that she could do no more than sign her name. There was no talk of the arts or sciences in the house. Indeed, if not for their noble status, they might not have taught the children anything at all.

Having spent the summer and autumn with his family in Orenburg province, Derzhavin got ready to return to Petersburg. His leave was over. Finally he set off, taking upon himself two commissions: first, to accompany his brother to Petersburg and settle him in his regiment there; and, second, while passing through Moscow, to buy from some people named Taptykov a small village, comprising about thirty souls, located on the river Vyatka. His mother had given him money for this purpose. In Moscow a too common occurrence repeated itself: the completion of the deed of purchase with the Taptykovs was delayed.

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