(1778 – 1830)
Merzlyakov Alexey Fedorovich (1778 – 1830), poet, critic.
Born March 17 (28 N.) in the city of Dolmatovo, Perm province in the family of a merchant. He studied at the Perm National School, then for successes in literary creativity was transferred to the Moscow University Gymnasium (wrote an ode, published in the magazine “Russian Shop”, 1792).
In 1795 – 99 he studied at Moscow University, graduating with a gold medal. From 1804 to 1830 he was a professor at the university in the department of Russian eloquence and poetry.
Merzlyakov’s work was influenced by his communication with V. Zhukovsky and A. Turgenev, A. Kaisarov and A. Voeikov (1790) and participation in the “Friendly Literary Society” (1801), defining the combination of civic-mindedness with the people. “Ode to the destruction of Babylon” (1801), the hymn “Glory” (1799 – 1801), translations from the Tirtha (1805) had an impact on the development of Russian civil poetry of the pre-Decabrist era.
In collaboration with the serf composer D. Kashin wrote several songs on folk motifs (“Among the valley are even…”, “Not a curly-haired girl…”, “Black-browed, black-eyed…”, etc.) time.
Merzlyakov made many translations of Greek and Roman poets. Being an acknowledged poet, he was also an authoritative critic and theoretician of art. He develops his ideas in two of his university courses “Theory of Fine Arts” (1812) and “Critics” (1816). Was a popular lecturer. Among his listeners and students were P. Vyazemsky, F. Tyutchev, M. Lermontov, etc.
An outstanding theoretician and teacher, Merzlyakov was skeptical about the authority of Russian classicism of the eighteenth century, but, demanding from poetry of civicism and heroism, did not accept Romanticism (this led to break the friendship with Zhukovsky).
With his songs, romances and translations, Merzlyakov contributed to the democratization of Russian literature, appearing as a poet of Koltsov’s predecessor.
Merzlyakov died on July 26 (August 7, current month).
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.