Sergei Yesenin (1895-1925) – the famous Russian poet. The beginning of his work was based on the new peasant lyric poetry, and later he began to create in the style of Imagism. Yesenin’s life ended early, but it turned out to be bright. He married a famous dancer Isadora Duncan and visited with her in Europe and the US. The poet’s personal life in general was turbulent – he married three times, left four children after him.
But Yesenin is remembered, of course, for his work, which greatly influenced Russian poetry. Thanks to him there was a turn to the traditional classical style, which at the beginning of the century was considered already dead. Folklore images later used also other Soviet poets, glorifying national traditions, customs, nature. Thanks Yesenin romance lyrics developed, his poems perfectly in harmony with music.
The poet’s life ended abruptly, according to the official version, he committed suicide on December 28, 1925, at the Angleterre Hotel in Leningrad. The reason was depression after treatment in a psychoneurological clinic. The poet’s personality, his life and creativity are still the subject of discussions. In addition, he himself liked to embellish his biography. The most famous myths about Yesenin will be considered below.
Yesenin was the last true village poet.
The poet himself cultivated the myth of his peasant origin. But, as necessary, he varied the legend. At times he appeared to be a boy from a simple peasant family, and when necessary he said that he was the grandson of an Old Believer rich man. The truth, as usual, was in the middle. The Esenin family was, although a peasant, but of an average prosperity. There were no Old Believers in it. Nine-year-old Sergei was able to identify in the zemstvo school after which he began to study in the parish school. Having finished it, the 17-year-old boy went to conquer Moscow. Yes, and education was not only Sergei himself, but also his three sisters. For the peasant family, this was a great rarity.
Yesenin literally walked into the literature. Esenin’s creative path is simplified by his fans. At first there was a youth in the native village of Konstantinovo, and then immediately and Petrograd. In this regard, Yesenin seems to repeat the path of Lomonosov, who came to the capital directly from a remote village in bast shoes. However, Esenin did not get to Petrograd at once. From 1912 to 1915, the young man lived in Moscow. There he worked in the printing house of Sytin, became an auditor of the historical-philological faculty of Shanyavsky People’s University, got acquainted with poets and writers, got used to living in a big city. This period has become very important in the formation of the personality of the beginning poet.
Yesenin was a pupil of a peasant poet.
Even eight years before Yesenin, another “peasant poet”, Nikolai Klyuyev, had already made his career in St. Petersburg. Literary images of them were similar, and joint performances became scandalous. The similarity of the directions of creativity gave rise to the myth that Klyuev was Esenin’s teacher and his patron. In order for the young poet to find his niche in the complex literary world of Petrograd, he needed help. Yesenin himself helped to create this myth. He himself frankly said that let anyone who wishes take the laurels of the patron who introduced the poet into Russian literature. Esenin himself was frankly all the same. But history says that Alexander Blok was the first patron of the poet in Petrograd. Then an acquaintance with Sergei Gorodetsky took place. It was they who introduced Yesenin to the right people, introducing him into the literary circle.
Yesenin spontaneously went to visit Blok.
This myth was also engendered by the poet himself. He told how his acquaintance with Blok took place. In this story Yesenin appears as a village nugget, adoring poetry, but awkward and unfamiliar with life in a big city. The poet unintentionally appeared to the venerable master. Yesenin wrote that Blok was for him an icon. It was his first business that the young man decided to find in Petrograd.And Yesenin, with a chest in his hands, standing in the station square, was confused. Where to look for Alexander Blok in an unfamiliar city? Yesenin began to ask passers-by, eventually reaching the master’s apartment. There he was greeted by a cook, leaving to wait outside the threshold. Finally, a meeting with Blok took place, which took Yesenin first for the beginning literary countryman. This is the only myth that debunked Blok himself, who pedantically described his meeting with Yesenin. That morning he sent a note, asking for a meeting at the appointed time. Yesenin wrote that he was worried about Blok on an important matter, being unfamiliar to him. But the young man explained that his name could be found in literary magazines. Block left a comment to this note that on March 9, 1915, a meeting with a 19-year-old peasant from the Ryazan province, whose verses were clean, fresh and verbose, was indeed held.
Yesenin was a naive and inexperienced person.
The poet himself made a lot of efforts to form the image of a naive and simple-hearted shirt-guy, which attracted admirers of creativity. But naivety was not his real quality. Yesenin’s career was helped by prudence and thoughtfulness. Thanks to them, the novice writer managed to get acquainted with influential maestros and start publishing in the best Moscow magazines. Friends Yesenin frankly told that, having arrived in Petersburg, he specially dressed in old clothes and put on red boots, which he never wore. Familiar young man told that in the city passing, and then goes to Riga to roll barrels. He is compelled to engage in heavy physical labor with hunger. In St. Petersburg, he simply expects the formation of a consignment of stevedores. In fact Yesenin did not think about barrels, wanting to achieve glory and recognition in the capital.
Yesenin was confident in himself, he was not interested in the opinion of others.
It seemed that a naive, simple-minded gifted poet should be above ungrateful critics and envious persons. This gave rise to the myth of Yesenin’s indifference to the opinion of others around him. However, the poet was very attentive to the criticism of his work, he even collected clippings from publications with reviews of his works. A pair of such notebooks has survived. And the most flattering reviews, as offensive, the poet even remembered by heart.
Yesenin was a drunkard and a bully, creating poems in a state of intoxication. Often such epithets coexist with Yesenin’s name, characterizing his personality. In the life of the poet drunken debauches and scandals really happened often, becoming an integral part of life. But this had nothing to do with creativity. Yesenin himself claimed that he had never written poems while drunk. Yes, and his friends confirm this.
Yesenin became a victim of the plot.
Yesenin’s death gave birth to many versions of what really happened. In the murder of the people’s poet, they accused Jews, Chekists, literary competitors, and personally Trotsky. The punishment turned out to be cruel and thoughtful. There is even a fantastic version about Esenin’s murder shot from a pistol. The body, wrapped in a carpet, through the window could not be carried, then it was necessary to stage suicide. Another version in general claims that the poet was killed elsewhere, and the Angleterre had already been brought into a dead body. It is said that Yesenin could first beat, and then, exhausted, hang it to the pipe. But all these versions disappear, if we start to consider the facts. At the end of 1925 Esenin had a difficult psychological state. He spent a month in a Moscow psychiatric clinic, from where he fled to Leningrad. Before leaving, Yesenin for some reason visited all his relatives and said goodbye to them. The first wife of the poet, Anna Izryadnova, recalled that he had declared that he was feeling ill and was waiting for his imminent death. Yesenin asked not to spoil and protect his son. Yes, and in the poet’s work in the last two years of his life, death is often mentioned, more than two hundred times. In this case, speech is most often about suicide.Yesenin was experiencing a heavy predilection for alcohol, he was panicked with loneliness, he had a persecution craze. Internally, the poet felt that he was losing his talent, more and more difficult metaphors and improvisations were given. This negative background also served as the basis for suicide.
Yesenin’s last poem was forged.
This myth is an invariable part of the conspiracy theories about the death of the poet. It is known that shortly before the tragedy, he wrote a poem beginning with the words: “Good-bye, my friend, good-bye …”. Yesenin addressed the poet as such to Wolf Ehrlich, who is considered an agent of the GPU. A friend of Yesenin is suspected of participating in the murder, being charged by the authorities to an unwanted writer. That is why the poem was shown not immediately, but after the death of Sergei. Another version says that the author of the poem was the Chekist Yakov Blumkin and appeared after the death of Esenin. But all these versions are just a theory. Myth was completely debunked in the 1990s, when the examination proved the authenticity of Yesenin’s handwriting.
Creativity Yesenin was under an unofficial ban in the Stalinist USSR.
Today it’s fashionable to rank yourself or your idols to the victims of the Stalin regime. There were memories of the fact that in the 1930s and 1940s, Article 58 was relying on Yesenin for reading poems. Authorities saw decadence in the poet’s work, which adversely affected the people. They began to say that no one in Russia was so forbidden and did not fight, as with Yesenin. He was watered with dirt and humiliated. In fact, on the anniversary of the death of the poet in the magazine “Smena” an article appeared about Yesenin’s work. It was noted that this was a great talent, which, unfortunately, lost goals in life. Acquaintance with his work is necessary for an educated person, just do not get carried away with hooligan and depressive notes. The creators of the myth assert that almost 30 years, from 1926 to 1955, Yesenin’s works were not published. However, during this period there were no less than a dozen books with thousands of copies with his poems and about him, with photographs and reviews. For persecution and oblivion, this does not seem to be the same.