Odoevskii, Aleksandr Ivanovich
Born Nov. 26 (Dec. 8), 1802, in St. Petersburg; died Aug. 15 (27), 1839, in the fort of Psezuape, now the settlement of Lazarevskoe, near Sochi. Russian poet. A Decembrist. Descendant of an old, princely family from Chernigov. Educated by private tutors.
In many respects, Odoevskii’s literary views coincided with those of A. S. Griboedov, V. F. Odoevskii, A. A. Bestuzhev-Marlinskii, and K. F. Ryleev, who opposed the sentimental-melancholy tendencies in literature. In the winter of 1824–25 he was accepted into the Northern Society of Decembrists and affiliated himself with the society’s radical wing. He participated in the uprising of Dec. 14, 1825; after it was crushed, he was incarcerated in the Peter and Paul Fortress. He spent the years 1827–37 at hard labor in exile in Siberia; then, on the tsar’s order, he was sent as a common soldier to the action area in the Caucasus. There he became friends with M. Iu. Lermontov and N. P. Ogarev.
Virtually none of Odoevskii’s poems written before 1825 have survived. After 1825 he conveyed loyalty to his previous ideals in works such as the poem “Ardent Sounds of Prophetic Strings …” (1827; a reply to A. S. Pushkin’s famous poem “A Message to Siberia”). An emphasis on the moral and philosophical interpretation of the past is characteristic of the narrative poem Vasil’ko (1829–30), the poems “Zosima” (1827–29) and “The Old Prophetess” (1829), and other works that continued the traditions of Decembrist romantic poetry, which focused on national history. The strengthening of the philosophical principle in Odoevskii’s lyric poetry to a certain extent presaged the development of the Lermontov tradition in Russian poetry.
WORKSPoln. sobr. stikhotvorenii. St. Petersburg, 1883.
Poln. sobr. stikhotvorenii i pisem. Moscow-Leningrad, 1934.
Poln. sobr. stikhotvorenii. Leningrad, 1958.
REFERENCEBazanov, V. G. “A. Odoevskii.” In his book Ocherki dekabristskoi literatury: Poeziia. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.
E. M. PUL’KHRITUDOVA