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Yevgeny Baratynsky

(1800-1844)


"It is a little cup, but it is nay own," thus might Baratynsky sum up the small perfection of his art. He belonged to Pushkin's school, but was not eclipsed by the master. His oeuvre consists of one slender volume of lyrics. These are marked by the originality of the discriminating eclectic, by a strong conscience for form, and by the obtruding intellection of a born pessimist.

Like most of the Russian littérateurs of the first half of the nineteenth century, with which he was born, Baratynsky belonged to the kept classes. An infringement of the eighth commandment while he was at school (the Corps of Pages) reduced this son of a senator to a mere private. The experience may have accented his gloomy temperament. Aside from this, the outward circumstances of his life, including his marriage, were happy, and therefore have no history. His last years, however, were saddened by the consciousness of estrangement from the rising generation.

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