A Science Not For the Earth
Published by Ugly Duckling Presse
It is only in the past quarter-century or so that Yevgeny Abramovich Baratynsky (1800–1844) has gained wide recognition in Russia as one of the great poets of the 19th century. While his psychologically acute love elegies and meditations written in the early 1820s earned him some fame during his lifetime, his later lyric verse was ignored or misunderstood by most of his contemporaries. Yet it is this body of work in particular, where he explores fundamental questions about the meaning of existence from an analytical epistemological perspective, that today seems remarkably modern.
The poet’s radical skepticism, as well as his increasing sense of isolation from the literary world, is reflected most profoundly in his lyric masterpiece, the book Dusk (Sumerki, 1842) — translated in its entirety in this volume — a work that is notable, among other things, for being the first collection of poems published in Russia as a coherent literary cycle (a practice that would become standard only 60 years later).