Afanasy Afanasevich Fet

Poems in this Collection

By life tormented, and by cunning hope.../Измучен жизнью, коварством надежды...
When you were reading those tormented lines.../Когда читала ты мучительные строки...
While lounging in a chair, I looked up at the ceiling.../На кресле отвалясь, гляжу на потолок...
My face turned upwards to the sky.../На стоге сена ночью южной...
I have come to you with greetings.../Я пришел к тебе с приветом...
What grief! The alley's end.../Какая грусть! Конец аллеи...

Timeline for A. A. Fet





















Born to Afanasy Shenshin and Charlotta Foeth, who left her husband Johann Foeth and married the Russian nobleman. Because their marriage was not official until 1822, Fet was not able to assume the name Shenshin, was denied the rights of nobility and was forced to become a raznochinets, a fact that rankled Fet his whole life

After studying in a boarding school in Estonia, studies philology at Moscow University where he writes his first poems

Enters military service in an attempt to reclaim his noble rights

Publishes his first collection, The Lyrical Pantheon

Eighty-five poems appear in Notes of the Fatherland and Muscovite

Publishes his second collection, including love lyric "Whisper, timid breathing" which contained much of Fet's lifelong stylistic tropes: verse composed almost entirely of nouns and adjectives, limited and unconventional rhymes, natural, melodic rhythm, and an exceptional sense of mood - these qualities made him very popular among the later Symbolists like Bely, Ivanov, and Annensky

Transferred to the guards, and given the opportunity to associate with writers in Petersburg, namely Turgenev

Publishes his third collection, with an introduction by Turgenev; Writes "To Death" his first poem to make death seem attractive, the verse functions as a death wish (he writes another poem with this title in 1884)

Marries the sister of Critic V.P. Botkin; writes "Upon a Haystack on a Southern Night" (Leo Tolstoy's favorite poem)

Writes on Tyutchev in Russian Word, an essay that spells out Fet's philosophy on art, that is, that the artist's duty is only to serve the muse and the notion of beauty - ideology and social concerns were of no concern to him. This attitude brought the liberal critics Chernyshevsky, Dobrolyubov, Pisarev down upon him

Settles on a country estate to live life of squire

Writes "Tortured by life and the perfidy of hope," which contains the notion that all human experience is part of a dream; writes "Life flew by withut leaving a clear trace," which echoes Verlaine and contains the fallen leaf, a recurring Fet image

Tsar Aleksandr II rectifies the situation of Fet's nobility and he is given the rights and privileges of a hereditary nobleman

Begins friendship with Tolstoy, who shared Fet's distaste with the liberal critics; later introduces Tolstoy to the works of Schopenhauer

Buys a larger estate where he winters

Writes "Death" another of his death wish poems

Translates Schopenhauer into Russian

Awarded the court title of Kammerherr, which went further in righting the wrongs of having his title denied him

Dies in early winter