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Fyodor Ivanovich Tyutchev (December 5 [O.S. November 23] 1803 - July 27 [O.S. July 15] 1873) is generally considered the last of three great Romantic poets of Russia, following Alexander Pushkin and Mikhail Lermontov.
Tyutchev was born in an old noble family in Ovstug near Bryansk. His childhood years were spent in Moscow, where he joined the classicist academy of Professor Merzlyakov at the age of 15. His first printed work was a translation of Horace's epistle to Maecenas. From that time on, his poetic language was distinguished from that of Pushkin and other contemporaries by its liberal use of majestic, solemn Slavonic archaisms.
His family teacher was Semyon Raich, one of the first Russian experts in German philosophy; it was he who imparted to Tyutchev a taste for metaphysical speculations. In 1819–1821, Tyutchev attended Moscow University, where he specialized in philology. In 1822 he joined the Foreign Office and accompanied his relative, Count Ostermann-Tolstoy, to Munich. He fell in love with the city and remained abroad for 22 years.
In Munich he fell in love with Bavarian Countess Amalie Lerchenfeld. Tyutchev's poem Tears or Slyozy coincides with one of their dates, and most likely dedicated to Amalie. Among other poems inspired by Amalie are K N., and Ia pomniu vremia zolotoe… The published letters and diaries of Count Maximilian Joseph von Lerchenfeld illuminate the first years of Tyutchev as a diplomat in Munich (1822–26), giving details of his frustrated love affair for Amalie, nearly involving a duel with his colleague, Baron Alexander von Krüdener. After they both got married, they continued to be friends and frequented the same diplomatic society in Munich. In 1870, Tyutchev met Amalie again and her new husband, Governor-General of Finland Nikolay Adlerberg in Karlsbad resort. This resulted in the poem Ia vstretil vas - i vsio biloe titled K.B.. The poet later explained to Yakov Polonsky that the characters stand for Krüdener Baroness.
Their last meeting took place on March 31, 1873 when Amalie Adlerberg visited Tyutchev on his deathbed. Next day, Tyutchev wrote to his daughter Daria:
It was also in Munich that Tyutchev met his first wife, Bavarian countess and widow of a Russian diplomat Emilia-Eleonora Peterson, who maintained a fashionable salon frequented by the likes of Heine and Schelling.
After her death, Tyutchev married Ernestina Dörnberg, who had been his mistress for 6 years and had a child by him. Both of his wives didn't understand a single word in Russian. This is hardly surprising, given the fact that Tyutchev spoke French better than Russian, and all his private correspondence was Francophone. Ernestina Dornberg, the second wife
In 1836, the "Jesuit" Prince Gagarin obtained from Tyutchev a permission to publish his selected poems in Sovremennik, a literary journal edited by Pushkin. Although appreciated by the great Russian poet, these superb lyrics failed to spark off any public interest. For the following 14 years, Tyutchev didn't publish a single line of poetry. He wrote several political articles, though, which were published in Revue des Deux Mondes. These articles brought him in touch with the diplomat Prince Gorchakov, who would remain Tyutchev's intimate friend for the rest of his life.
In 1837, Tyutchev was transferred from Munich to the Russian embassy in Turin. He found his new place of residence uncongenial to his disposition and retired from service to settle in Munich. Upon leaving Turin it was discovered that Tyutchev had not received permission to leave his post, and was officially dismissed from his diplomatic position as a result. He continued to live in Germany for five more years without position before returning to Russia. Upon his eventual return to St Petersburg in 1844, the poet was much lionized in the highest society. His daughter Kitty caused a sensation, and the novelist Leo Tolstoy wooed her, "almost prepared to marry her impassively, without love, but she received me with studied coldness", as he remarked in a diary. Kitty would later become influential at Pobedonostsev s circle at the Russian court.
As a poet, Tyutchev was little known during his lifetime. His 300 short poems are the only pieces he ever wrote in Russian, with every fifth of them being a translation. Tyutchev regarded his poems as bagatelles, not worthy of study, revision or publication. He generally didn't care to write them down and, if he did, he would often lose papers they were scribbled upon. Nikolay Nekrasov, when listing Russian poets in 1850, praised Tyutchev as one of the most talented among "minor poets". It was only in 1854 that his first collection of verse was printed, and that was prepared by Turgenev, without any help from the author.
In 1846 Tyutchev met Elena Denisyeva, over twenty years his junior, and began an illicit affair with her. Having born three children to the poet, she succumbed to tuberculosis, but a small body of lyrics dedicated to Denisyeva are rightfully considered among the finest love poems in the language.
Written in the form of dramatic dialogues and deftly employing odd rhythms and rhymes, they are permeated with a sublime feeling of subdued despair. One of these poems, The Last Love, is often cited as Tyutchev's masterpiece.
In the early 1870s, the deaths of his brother, son, and daughter left Tyutchev partly paralysed. He died in Tsarskoe Selo in 1873 and was buried at Novodevichy Monastery in St Petersburg.
CHECK OUT When and where was he born? What was he? Which countries did he work in? How many children did he have? What’s the name of his first love? Who was his first wife? How did she die? Who was his second wife? What can you tell about Elena Denisyeva and her role in Tyutchev’s life? When and where did he die? 10. Are you fond of Tyutchev’s poems? What are they like?