Zhukovsky’s note from February 1821

I’ve come across an English translation of Zhukovsky’s comment on his 1821 poem, Lalla Rookh – not a Russian version of Thomas Moore’s long work but a lyrical essay on beauty and imagination. The brief prose note complements the poem.

The book is Russian Romantic Criticism: An Anthology compiled by Lauren G. Leighton, who taught Russian literature at University of Illinois at Chicago in 1978-1997. The translation is by J. Thomas Shaw of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “the doyen of Pushkin studies in North America for half a century.”

Zhukovsky first wrote down the comment on his own Lalla Rookh in his diary (pdf, heavy) on February 16, 1821 (p. 156. The dates are given as X(Y), where Y=X+12: X is Julian, Y is Gregorian.)  Three weeks earlier, on January 27, he wrote: “An incomparable feast.” No doubt it was this Festspiel mit Gesang und Tanz.

Apart from Zhukovsky’s poetry and observations, the diary is remarkable for its cast of characters. “I was supposed to dine at Hufeland‘s but ended up at the King’s.”


  1. I would have liked to have commented on a few of your recent posts but unfortunately I’m too busy in real life at the moment to do so properly. Nevertheless, if you keep writing, I’ll keep reading.

    • I appreciate your interest very much – I’m trying to keep writing at least two or three posts a week. It’s almost a habit now.

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