Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky 

Portrait of Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky

Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky was a Russian elegiac poet. He was born on 2nd March 1800 in Mara, Russia and died on 11th July 1844 in Naples, Italy aged 44.

Major Works

Eda” (1826)
Na Smert Gyote” (On the Death of Goethe) (1832)
“Don’t Imitate” (1828)
“You’re Useless, Day” (1840)

Biography Timeline

Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky (or Boratynsky) was born on 2nd March 1800 in Mara, Russia. He was a member of a noble family and was educated at the Page Corps military academy in St Petersburg.

1808: His father Abram Andreevich moves the family to Moscow.

1810: His father dies.

1812: He is sent to Petersburg to study at a German boarding school and then enters the Pages’ Corps.

1816: He is expelled from the military academy after stealing a snuffbox and five hundred roubles as a prank and the Tsar forbids him from entering the army at a higher rank than private.. He retreats to the countryside.

1818: He meets Alexander Pushkin. He joins the army as a private soldier.

1819: He meets the poet Anton Delvig who brings him out of depression and introduces him to poetry. Delvig publishes some of his early poems in his Literary Gazette.

1820:  He is promoted to a non-commissioned officer and posted to Finland where he stays for six years. 

1824: He is promoted to Lieutenant and returns to Moscow where he writes “Love”.

1826: In January he marries Nastasya Lvovna Engelhardt, the daughter of Major-General Gregory Englelhardt and retires from the army with the permission of the Tsar. He writes his first long narrative poem “Eda”.

1827: The first collection of his verse is published in Moscow. He works for the government as a land surveyor living in Moscow, Mara or on his wife’s family’s various estates.T

1828: Although his family life seems happy his work is still characterised by a sense of melancholy. He writes “Bal” (The Ball) and his longest work “The Gipsy” which is heavily influenced by Alexander Pushkin. The critics praise his work but it is not popular with the public and journalists of “plebeian party” openly criticise it. He publishes “Don’t Imitate” and “We Diligently Watch”. Alexander Pushkin describes him as Russia’s finest elegiac poet. He retires from his government post and writes for the “The Moscow Herald”.

1831: He writes “Nalozhnitsa” (The Concubine).

1832: He works “The European”, a journal with which aims to defend Russian culture from Western influences but it is shut down by the Imperial censor the following year. He writes his masterpiece “Na Smert Gyote” (On the Death of Goethe).

1834: He writes “A Bard’s Sweet Song”.

1835: His second collection of poems does not sell well.

1840: After managing his wife’s estate, for several years he returns to St Petersburg and meets old friends, such as Zhukovsky and Vyazemsky.

1842: He rewrites “Nalozhnitsa” and publishes it as “Tsyganka” (The Gypsy Girl) but it is panned by the critics as coarse and base. He writes “Dusk” which again is not popular.

1843: He travels to Paris and meets with the Russian emigre community.

1844: He lives in Naples in Italy where he has travelled to seek a warmer climate for his health.

Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky died on 11th July 1844 in Naples, Italy. His body is taken to St Petersburg in Russia in 1845 and reburied in the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Although he was not especially popular with his contemporaries, he was rediscovered by twentieth century Russian critics.