(1760 – 1837)
Dmitriev Ivan Ivanovich (1760 – 1837), a poet.
He was born on September 10 (21 N. s.) In a family estate in the village of Bogorodskoye, Kazan province, in an old noble family, leading his family from the princes of Smolensk. At the age of eight, he was sent to Mangenya Guesthouse in Kazan, where he studied French, arithmetic, and drawing. Then he studied at the boarding house Cabrith, where apart from French he taught German, history and geography, Russian spelling and mathematics. His father took him from the boarding house at the eleventh year of his life, taking his son’s education under his control at home. But the only thing that the future poet has always done with pleasure is reading novels, French and Russian. He knew the works of Sumarokov, Lomonosov, Derzhavin, Chemnitzer.
The family moved from the village to Simbirsk. At that time in the province there were no theaters, clubs, and all the entertainment consisted of home conversations and parties in the circle of good acquaintances. For a young Dmitriev, a new life began. But soon it again had to be abruptly changed: the Pugachev revolt that began, forced the family to leave for Moscow. The family was cramped in funds, home schooling ceased.
In 1774 his father took his son to St. Petersburg – according to the usual custom, the children of noblemen were registered in military service since childhood, Dmitriev was registered as a soldier in the Semenov regiment. In St. Petersburg he began to study at the regimental school – and this time not for long: Catherine II, going to Moscow, took with her one battalion from each regiment, and Dmitriev got to accompany the queen. After the completion of such a mission took an annual vacation and went home. Returning to Petersburg, he spent several years in a “boring non-commissioned officer’s service.”
From 1777 Dmitriev began to engage in literary activity, wrote poetry. In this year, N. Novikov began publishing the “St. Petersburg Scientists Vedomosti”, placing in the preface an invitation to cooperate. Dmitriev sent his poems there several times, but they did not have much success, so he abandons this activity for a while. In these years there is an acquaintance with Karamzin, who had a great influence on Dmitriev, and although they were rare, but for forty years they regularly corresponded.
In 1787 he was promoted to ensign, in 1788 participated in the war with Sweden, four months living a camp life on the border with Finland. Returning to St. Petersburg, he again intensively writes poetry, Derzhavin reads...
1794 was especially fruitful. Dmitriev spent it in his homeland, in Syzran, in wandering around this land. He wrote the best of his works: “Seekers of Fortune”, “To the Volga”, “Air Towers”, “Whore”, “Strange Good”, “Ermak”, “The Voice of the Patriot”. In 1795 published a collection of “And my trivialities” (after Karamzin’s “My trivialities”). Dmitriev was burdened by military service, therefore, having received in 1796 the last in the guard rank of captain, retired, and with the rise – in the rank of colonel. Gets a seat at the Chief Procurator’s table in the Senate. Soon he is appointed as a minister-comrade in the newly established department of affairs and the chief procurator of the senate. I gave all my abilities to this work.
He also renewed literary activity, and literary ties with M. Kheraskov, Vasily Pushkin, V. Zhukovsky and other writers. In 1796 he published his “Pocket Songbook, or a Collection of the Best Secular and Folk Songs.”
Under Alexander 1 “censorship promised not to be as strict as before” – there was a magazine “Herald of Europe” published by Karamzin. Dmitriev actively writes to him: in 1802 – 03 he places 10 fables. After 1805 almost did not write.
In 1806 he became a senator, in 1810 he was appointed minister of justice, actively opposed abuses in the production of goods, which leads to a conflict with the manager of the chancellery and other officials of the ministry. He resigns, in 1814 he moved to Moscow.
In 1816 he was appointed chairman of the commission for the benefit of the inhabitants of Moscow, who suffered from the invasion of the enemy. In 1820 his “Selected Songbook for Beautiful Girls and Gracious Women” was published. Later, when evaluating Dmitriev’s poetry, Belinsky wrote: “In Dmitriev’s poems, in their form and direction, Russian poetry has made a significant step towards rapprochement with simplicity and naturalness, in a word, with life and reality.” The last years of his life he lived in Moscow, surrounded by the respect of society, as one of the best writers of his time and as an honored statesman. Died Dmitriyev October 3 (15 N. p.) 1837 in Moscow.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.