Fedor Ivanovich Tyutchev (1803-1873)

Fedor Ivanovich Tyutchev is a great Russian poet-philosopher. His art, romantic in its aspirations and ideals and tragic it its world-view became a necessary link between classical poetry of the first half of the XIX century (Y.A.Baratynsky, A.S.Pushkin, M.Y.Lermontov) and XX century poetry, its Blok's decade. Tyutchev's multifaceted poetry comprises philosophical, landscape and love lyrics, political poems, epigrams, translations.

He belonged to an old noble family. His childhood and youth were spent in the family estates Ovstug in Orel (now Bryansk) Region and Troitskoe of Moscow Region as well as in Moscow. Tyutchev received thorough home education under the tutorial, since 1813, of S.E.Raich, poet and translator. Tyutchev began to write poetry in the early age, and at twelve successfully translated Horace. When he was 14, he entered the Society of Lovers of Russian Letters and in 1819 his first publication appeared in the «Works» issued by the Society - a free translation of «Epistle from Horace to Maecenas».

The specificity of Tyutchev's poetic career was to a large extent determined by the fact that he spent his youth and a good part of mature life away from Russia. After graduation from Moscow University Tyutchev for long years served at Russian diplomatic missions in Munich (1822-1837) and Turino (1837-1839). In Germany he was on friendly terms with a famous philosopher F.Schelling and poet H.Heine, whose verses alongside with poems of other German writers (F. Schiller, J.-W.Goethe, J.-G.Herder) he translated into Russian that gave marked originality to the style of his own lyric. Tyutchev finally returned home only in 1844.

As a poet Tyutchev was formed in the late 1820s - early 1830s. He won initial fame in the world of literature with a selection of twenty-four «Poems Sent from Germany» that was published in Pushkin's «Contemporary». P.A.Pletnev testified that A.S.Pushkin, the editor of the magazine, accepted these poems «with awe and delight». The second discovery of Tyutchev-the poet was made by N.A.Nekrasov, who in 1850 devoted to Tyutchev's poetry an article where he positioned him next to M.Y.Lermonov and listed Tyutchev's poetic gift among «the first-rate Russian poetic talents».

Tyutchev's first book entitled «Poems», which was prepared for publication by I.S.Turgenev, N.A.Nekrasov and I.I.Panaev, appeared in 1854. It was welcomed by critics belonging to various literary parties and brought the poet well-deserved general recognition. L.N.Tolstoy left reminiscences about his first impression of Tyutchev's lyrics: «When I read <it> I was just struck by the greatness of his creative talent». Later he would say about Tyutchev, without any exaggeration: «One cannot live without him». Dostoevsky called him «a mighty and profound Russian poet, one of the most outstanding and original continuers of Pushkin's epoch».

Already in his mature age being married for the second time after the death of his first wife, Tyutchev experienced deep mutual and dramatic love to a young maiden - Elena Aleksandrovna Denisieva, who bore him three children and was repudiated for this by her family and the society. Their relations lasted for fourteen years. In 1864 Denisieva died. Tyutchev's late love lyric is one of the summits not only of Russian but of the world psychological poetry. «Denisieva Cycle» became the poet's tragic diary.

Tyutchev had been in service during all his life: he was a diplomat, an official of exalted rank - from 1858 he was the head of the Committee of Foreign Censorship. At the same time he led dissipated life and, as I.S.Turgenev had put it, as if between times «created the words that were destined to live forever».

Tyutchev treated his manuscripts with absolute negligence, never collected or preserved them. It is known that out of sheer absent-mindedness he burnt a major part of his Munich poems that never reached the public. Various funds and collections of Pushkinsky Dom Manuscript Department preserve primarily the poet's epistolary exchange with his relatives and friends. Among the most valuable autographs one should mention «The wind has faded… breathes easier…», «How unexpectedly and brightly…», «Now matter how separation depresses us…», «Whatever life teaches us…», «Joy and grief in lively rupture…» (from Goethe's «Egmont», in Russian and German), «Not flesh but spirit has been depraved these days…», «To the Slavs», «When compassionately to our word…». Also interesting from historical point of view are copies made in the poet's lifetime by his close relatives and friends.

One of the treasures among relics is Tyutchev's goose-quill with traces of dried ink - it was presented to the Literature Museum of Pushkinsky Dom by the poet's grandson N.I.Tyutchev on November 5, 1926. Besides, in the funds of the Literature Museum there are preserved unique photographs of F.I.Tyutchev himself, his daughters and second wife Ernestina Fedorovna, of Elena Alexandrovna Denisieva with her daughter Elena, of the poet's son-in-law I.S.Aksakov, an aquarelle and a colored daguerreotype with representation of E.A.Denisieva. Also historically valuable is a watercolor representation of the Tyuthcevs coat of arms with the legend of its symbols.

Researchers invariably turn to these materials when working on editions for such series as «The Poet's Library», «Literature Monuments», «Literary Heritage» as well as 6-volume Complete Collection prepared to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the great Russian poet.

T.S.Tsarkova