(1820 – 1892)
(1820-1892) – poet, prose writer, publicist, translator.
The life path of Fet began with a severe test. His mother Karolina Charlotte Fet in 1820 left Germany with a Russian nobleman retired captain A. N. Shenshin. Soon Athanasius was born, whom Shenshin adopts. Fourteen years later, the illegality of the metric record was discovered, and Russian nobleman Athanasius Shenshin turned into a raznochintsy – “foreigner Afanasy Fet,” who managed to obtain Russian citizenship only in 1846. Fet experienced all that happened as a tragedy. He sets a goal to return to the noble womb of the Shenshins and with fantastic perseverance achieves it.
From 1838 to 1844, Fet studied at the verbal department of the Faculty of Philosophy of Moscow University. There he studies the history of world culture and continues to write poetry, which he began to take a great interest in youth.
In 1840, the first collection of his poems “The Lyrical Pantheon” was published, and since 1842 Fet’s poems regularly appear in the pages of journals. “From living in Moscow poets all the gifted Mr. Fet” – wrote in 1843 Belinsky.
In 1845, the budding poet became a non-commissioned officer in the provincial regiment, since the first officer’s rank entitles him to obtain hereditary nobility. In 1853, he manages to go to the privileged Guards Regiment, quartered not far from the capital. Fet establishes ties with St. Petersburg writers.
In 1850, the second collection of poems by the poet was published in Moscow. In 1856 in St. Petersburg published a third attracted the attention of connoisseurs and lovers of poetry.
In 1858, Fet retired. Nobility was not received, and in 1860 the poet acquires a plot of land, becoming a landlord, raznochinetsem. This still prejudices his attitude to the world: the status of a landlord, a nobleman, is inaccessible to him. And he almost does not write poetry, does business, acts as a publicist-conservative. Democratic criticism is hostile to the two-volume collection of his lyrics of the 1940s and 1950s (1863).
From 1862 to 1871 in journals were published two of the largest prose cycles of Fet: “From the village” and “Notes on Free Work.” The defining beginning in the cycles is journalism, but at the same time it is the real “village” prose: cycles consist of essays, short stories and even novels. Poetry and Feta’s prose are artistic antipodes. The author himself insistently delimited them, believing that prose is the language of ordinary life, and poetry expresses the life of the human soul. Everything that was rejected by Fet’s poetry was adopted without strains by his prose. Hence the duality of his poetics: in Fet’s poetry follows the romantic tradition, and in prose – realistic.
The diverse publicistic prose of Fet in many ways prepared the final stage of his poetic work (1870-1892).
Having become a rich landowner, Fet also engages in charitable activities: helping relatives, organizing a literary evening in Moscow for the benefit of the hungry, bothering about the arrangement of the hospital, “doing a lot of good to neighboring peasants.” It is characteristic that in those years, as if against the well-being achieved, Fet’s feelings of longing and discontent with themselves erupt. In one of his letters he writes:
“I’m freezing now, like the earth in the fall,” while in another I complain about “almost absolute solitude.” The only joy Fet finds in poetry. The creative upsurge of the early 80’s continues until the end of life. He publishes four issues of the poem “Evening Lights”, he is engaged in translation work, which is marked by the Pushkin Prize.
Even during the poet’s lifetime, Feta, the master of the poetic word, was seen in him, on the one hand; on the other – Shenshin, prudent landowner and conservative publicist. The opposition of Fet – Shenshin became familiar.
Fet is a romantic. It is no accident that back in the 1850s, criticism noted his gift of “catching the elusive”, fixing “ethereal shades of feeling.”
In the lyrics of the poet occupy the most important place, often intertwining with each other,
Fet is expressive and accurate when painting nature’s paintings in different seasons, in each of which he finds a unique charm. Even in pictures of a fading nature, the poet sees beauty, which gives rise to bright, life-affirming feelings. It is felt in such poems as “The Sad Birch…”, “Dog Hunt”, “Shivering sheets, flying…”, etc. Nature in Fet is inhabited by living beings, not only traditional for poetry (nightingale, eagle, swan), but, perhaps, for the first time in the lyrical landscape (chibis, kulik). Precision, specificity of landscapes is largely due to the achievements of Russian realistic prose (Turgenev and L. Tolstoy in the first place).
Poetization of the beauties of nature is one of the merits of Fet-lyric poetry before Russian literature. Fet’s poetry about nature has long become a textbook.
Another, not less significant merit of Fet is the image of a deep love feeling. His love lyrics are characterized by tragedy and profound psychology. In this case, the characters and heroines are deprived of Fet’s socio-household certainty. It’s not for nothing that the style of his love poems is so characteristic of a reception when a portrait or psychological detail acts as part of a whole.
“Left parting parting,” “child’s tears,” “non-handmade features,” “the curves of a soul close,” “the torment of the soul is sinless,” “the instantaneous image” are signs of the heroine.