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 Vasily Zhukovsky

Born:   February 9 [O.S. January 29] 1783
Deceased:   April 24 [O.S. April 12] 1852

Romantic poet, translator, classic of Russian literature.


Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky was born on February 9 (January 29), 1783 in the Mishensky Village of the Belevsky District, the Tula Province into the family of the landowner Bunin.

The mother of the future poet was a captured Turkish woman, brought by peasants from Bendery Fortress during the war and presented to Bunin.

Though Vasily was brought up in Bunin's family, he received his surname and patronymic from his godfather the poor nobleman Andrei Zhukovsky, who was staying in Bunins house. He first studied in Tula, in a private boarding school, and then in the Noble boarding school under the Moscow University. While still at school, he started to have his poems published, and gained popularity in 1802, when his free translation of Thomas Grays Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard came out.

Zhukovsky responded to Napoleon's invasion to Russia in 1812 with his patriotic poem The Singer in the Camp of Russian Soldiers. He was among the national levy and witnessed the Borodino Battle.

By 1815, when Zhukovskys first collection of poems was published, he was already considered the best Russian poet. At the same time Zhukovsky was appointed the teacher of the Russian language in the imperial family, and in 1826-1841 he was the tutor of the successor to the throne (subsequently Emperor Alexander II).

Zhukovsky was one of the founders of Russian romanticism. Zhukovskys elegies and ballads with extraordinary sincerity revealed the inner realm and all the shades of the poets soul movements. At the court the poet protected lots of figures persecuted by the tsar regime. His friend Alexander Pushkin and the Decembrists were under the poets protection.

Zhukovsky is famous as the classic of poetic translation; he acquainted the Russian public with the best paragons of world poetry. The poet spent the last years of his life abroad. His last work was the unsurpassed translation of Homers Odyssey.

Zhukovsky died on of April (12) 24, 1852 in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Tags: Vasily Zhukovsky Russian literature    

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