Sunday, June 15, 2014

A.A. Foethe (Fet), Russian Poet, 1820-1892

Some of his best poems don't use any verbs. Like this one:

Чудная картина,
Как ты мне родна:
Белая равнина,
Полная луна,

Свет небес высоких,
И блестящий снег,
И саней далеких
Одинокий бег.

Young Fet once asked the historian and publicist Pogodin to read his poems and tell him what he thought. This was in late 1839 or early 1840, when Nikolai Gogol was living at Pogodin's house in Moscow, as freeloading boarder. Fet would have been only about twenty years old.

Pogodin said, "Ja vashu tetradku, pochtennejshij, peredam Gogolju. On v etom sluchae luchshij sud'ja (I'll pass your notebook, my most esteemed dear fellow, on to Gogol. In this case he's a better judge than me.)"

Just imagine the trepidation on the part of Fet, while he waited for the verdict from the man who at that time was the most famous writer in Russia.

And just imagine the joy, the untold bliss when the verdict  came back: "Gogol skazal, eto--nesomnennoe darovanie (Gogol said that this poet is indubitably talented)."

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