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“In 300 lines of trimeter, they tell each other that, thank God! they are well…”

July 9, 2010

Two things I learned reading Fridman on Batiushkov:

1. Kiukhel’beker was not a fan of the friendly epistle: “sometimes in 300 lines of trimeter people tell each other that, thank God, they are well, and they are so terribly sorry it has been so long since they saw each other” (16).

2. Batiushkov’s Опыты в стихах и прозе was mostly praised when it appeared in 1817, but was parodied in a play by Katenin and Griboedov called Студент, also of 1817 (8).

This is in section 1 of chapter 1 of N. V. Fridman’s Поэзия Батюшкова (Moscow, 1971), pp. 7-20, which covers the reception of Batiushkov’s verse from about 1817-1831.  There is much on Pletnev and how he repeatedly offended Batiushkov, whom he admired, without meaning to. Fridman sets up a contrast between Pletnev, who underplayed the “social role” of Batiushkov’s art in favor of “an abstract normative aesthetics” and Decembrist critics, who did more or less the reverse (12).

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