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 Mikhail Yuriyevich Lermontov

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Mikhail Yuriyevich Lermontov

Poet. He was Russia's most important poet after the death of Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin up till his own premature death four years later. He was born into a governing family in the village of Tarkhany, and could trace his family's roots in Russia back to the early 17th century, when the Scottish Learmount clan immigrated. His parents, Yuriy Lermontov and Mariya Arseniyeva, were not to have a happy or long-lived marriage, as shortly after his birth his father and grandmother began having a lot of arguments and fights. This was too much for his mother to bear, and she died in 1817 due to all of the stress and conflict in her house. Following his mother's death, his grandmother, Yelizaveta Alekseyevna Arseniyeva, raised him and put her all into educating him and taking care of him, terrified that her son-in-law might decide to take the boy and run away eventually. Because of the coddling he received from his grandmother and the conflict that still raged in the house, the young boy acquired a bad temper, an arrogant streak, and a love of destruction, which he would take out on the family servants and the bushes growing in the garden. Originally his grandmother had hired a French tutor for him, but, unhappy with his teaching methods, she decided the boy would be better off in Moskva. In 1828 he entered the gymnasium, and proved to be a brilliant student. It was during his gymnasium studies that he began writing poetry. He was very influenced by Pushkin, Goethe, Schiller, Byron, and Vasiliy Andreyevich Zhukovskiy. Along with his budding poetic talents, he also was acquiring a great ability to draw caricatures that he often coupled with sardonic epigrams and a poisonous wit. In August 1830 Lermontov finished his gymnasium education and entered Moskva University, around the same time his father died. He was only to be a student at the university for a short time. Though he dutifully attended his lectures, he often read books during the lectures, and was remembered as being aloof, arrogant, and rarely going to student functions. Following his role in a very serious prank a number of the students played against a professor, he left the university. From 1830 till 1834 he continued his education at the school of cadets in St. Petersburg, eventually becoming an officer in the guards. However, even as an officer he continued to play pranks on people, in addition to writing his poetry. In 1837, following the death of the poet Pushkin in a duel, Lermontov wrote a poem severely castigating the Tsar and Russian high society of having let Pushkin's death come about. He did not mince words, and as a result found himself sent to Transcaucasia as a dragoons officer. Far from being a humiliating punishment, he found it to be like coming home because of his happy childhood memories of Transcaucasia. Influenced by the natural surroundings, he wrote some of his most inspired poetry during this time, and also painted a number of landscapes. In 1838 and 1839 he visited St. Petersburg, where he was treated like a celebrity by certain parts of the population. His time spent there, and the observations he made about aristocratic society, formed the basis of his play 'Masquerade.' One of the many St. Petersburg women who was very taken with him was Varvara Lopukhina; his unrequited love for her influenced his unfinished novel 'Princess Ligovskaya.' He was returned to the Caucases following a duel with the son of the French ambassador. Once back in active duty, he won much praise and recognition for hand-to-hand fighting along the Valerik River. In 1839 he finished 'A Hero of Our Time,' the only he lived to complete. This novel contained an eerie foreshadowing of the duel that was shortly to take his own life. In July of 1841 he attended a party at a general's house, and one of the other soldiers, Nikolay Martynov, found himself at the receiving end of Lermontov's jokes and acidic wit. Martynov challenged him to a duel at the edge of a precipice. Lermontov was killed instantly when the duel took place two days later. He was twenty-six years old. Lermontov was initially buried in Pyatigorsk, but a year later, upon his grandmother's request, his ashes were moved to the family's estate in Tarkhany. In his lifetime only one slim volume of his poetry had been published; most of his work was discovered and published posthumously. Many Russians can quote his poetry by memory, and regard him as one of their most important national poets.

Bio by: Carrie-Anne





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Carrie-Anne
  • Added: 29 Dec 2005
  • Find A Grave Memorial 12817836
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Mikhail Yuriyevich Lermontov (14 Oct 1814–27 Jul 1841), Find A Grave Memorial no. 12817836, citing Lermontov Estate, Tarkhany, Lermontovo, Penza Oblast, Russia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .