Iazykov, Nikolai Mikhailovich

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Iazykov, Nikolai Mikhailovich


Born Mar. 4 (16), 1803, in Simbirsk (present-day Ul’ianovsk); died Dec. 12, 1846 (Jan. 7, 1847), in Moscow. Russian poet. Brother of the geologist P. M. Iazykov.

Iazykov, the son of a landowner, studied at the philosophy faculty of the University of Dorpat (Tartu) from 1822 to 1829. In 1826 he came to Trigorsk as a guest of A. S. Pushkin, who on several occasions expressed enthusiastic praise for Iazykov’s poems. In 1831, Iazykov and P. V. Kireevskii began collecting Russian folk poetry. Iazykov became friendly with the Slavophiles, including the Aksakov family and A. S. Khomiakov. He lived abroad from 1838 to 1843, when he returned to Moscow. A brief acquaintance with P. Ia. Chaadaev, A. I. Herzen, and T. N. Gra-novskii ended in 1844 with a bitter falling-out and attacks on one another in print.

Iazykov’s first published works appeared in 1819. In the 1820’s, during his years in Dorpat, he portrayed an original, bright, and festive world of youthful libertinism and love of freedom. Daring and joy of life are evoked by the very rhythm of his light, impetuous verse, which, in the opinion of N. V. Gogol, “speeds like a ray of sun into the soul.” He was a “poet of joy and intoxification,” a bard of love, “revelry, and freedom.” This aspect of his character is revealed in the collection The Poems of N. Iazykov (1833).

By the late 1820’s, however, Iazykov experienced an inner change that he himself defined as “the path from the tavern to the church.” As his “youthful rebelliousness” subsided and his poetic sentiments became more intense and profound, the indomitable passion and the “rapture leading nowhere” (V. A. Zhukovskii) acquired a spiritual significance and a higher purpose (“The lyre asks for holy rapture”). The programmatic poems of these years of change include “After Psalm XIV,” “Halloo!,” and “To the Poet.”

Iazykov’s works in his second period, from the early 1830’s, vary widely in theme and quality. As depression caused by a severe illness sapped his bright, effervescent talent, he wrote many gloomy, lackluster poems. However, in moments of inspiration he composed his best works. He wrote majestic odes to the heroism of the people in the Patriotic War of 1812 (“Second Message to D. V. Davydov”), to salvation through faith (“The Earthquake”), and to the creative force of nature (“Sea Bathing” and “Spring”). Iazykov developed a triumphant dithyrambic style of light poetry.


Novye stikhotvoren. Moscow, 1845.
Poln. sobr. stikhotvorenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Stikhotvoreniia ipoemy. Leningrad, 1958.


Viazemskii, P. A. “Iazykov i Gogol’.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 2. St. Petersburg, 1879.
Shenrok, V. “N. M. Iazykov: Biografíen, ocherk.” Vestn. Evropy, 1879, books 11–12.
Kireevskii, I. V. “O stikhotvereniiakh g. Iazykova.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 2. Moscow, 1911.
Gogol, N. V. “V chem zhe nakonets sushchnost’ rus. poezii i v chem ee osobennost’.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 8. Leningrad, 1952.
Belinskii, V. G. “Rus. lit-ra v 1844 g.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 8. Moscow, 1955.
Sakharov, Vs. “Stikhov garmoniia i sila.” Nash sovremennik, 1978, no. 3.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.