(1732 – 1768)
Ivan Semenovich Barkov (1732-1768) – a noble son, a Russian poet and translator. He graduated from the seminary, then consisted consistently of the Russian Academy of Sciences: a student, a compositor, a copyist, and an interpreter. Barkov translated mostly ancient authors. I squandered my talent and strength with excessive drunkenness. In 1763-1764 he translated into Russian the satires of Horace, Fable of Fyodor. Barkov also wrote “The Life of Prince Antioch Dmitrievich Cantemir”, attached to his “Satires”, published in 1762. Barkov possessed a free, smooth and easy verse, not yielding in this respect even to the best poets of that time – Lomonosov and Sumarokov. Paying tribute to Barkov, as a poet and translator, it should be said that he acquired loud all-Russian glory for his own, in the words of Metropolitan Evgeny Bolokhvitinov, “shameful” unprintable works. These poems diverge all over Russia in the lists for about two centuries. Their glory is so great that a special term for works of this kind was born – “barkshchina”. Pushkin, later, noticed that Barkov was the first Russian poet to reject the archaic style and began to write in a living language. Characteristic of the “sham” Mask Barkov is given by A. S. Vengerov in his “Critical-Bibliographical Dictionary of Russian Writers and Scientists” (issue 25, St. Petersburg, 1890). Literary critics quickly disregarded this kind of literature, and to a certain extent it deserves attention, as it is very influential, for it has been very popular. It seems that only AS Vengerov tried to sort out the “barbovshchina”, but the profanity, which really equips the works of Barkov, crushed the researcher. The overwhelming majority of what is written in a foul language consists of the most crude tavern profanity, where all the salt is that every thing is called by its own name. Barkov, from the very first words, blurts out the entire arsenal of indecent expressions and, of course, he only has to repeat himself. For those unfamiliar with the dirty muse Barkov should be added that in his poems, devoid of any shade of grace and playfulness, there is also no pathological element that makes up the essence of the works of the famous Marquis de Sade. In Europe there are pornographers ten times more immoral and more harmful, but there is not one such foul language. However, in addition to profanity,
it should be noted in Barkov common folk humor, a realistic manner and a strong language. In that struggle, which was in the literature against the high style, Barkov also played a role. Died in a state of mental attack at the moment of drinking-bout, drowned in the toilet, before his death, noting his fate in the epitaph “lived sinfully and died funny.” “Works and translations” of it were published in St. Petersburg in 1872 under the editorship of S. Vengerov. The edition is strongly distorted by the omitted places. The full edition without notes and distortions was published in Riga in 1932. The full collection of Barkov’s unprinted works is kept in the public library of the USSR (and now Russia, although I do not know if there is such a writer to this day or not… – the author’s comment) named after V. Lenin and is called “The Girl’s Toy”.