Aleksandr Aleksandrovič Bestùžev -Marlinskij
Three short stories of Livonia
(Solfanelli Editore- Chieti)

Italian version by
Alfredo Bertollo & Pier Luigi Coda

The birth of the story

Livonia map

To Alfredo Bertollo and me the curiosity to know closely Aleksandr Aleksandrovič Bestùžev, came while we were working on the Italian version of the biographical novel of Ninel 'Ivanovna Podgornaja: "Puškin and the Baltics Countries" published by Solfanelli in 2011. Podgornaja presents Bestùžev among the friends of Pushkin's Decembrists who had relations with the countries of the Baltic region.


Here is how she describes him: "He dreamed of making the service in the Navy, but alas, poor knowledge of mathematics made ​​him a bad joke and became Junker in the regiment of the Guard ... He wrote a lot about the various branches of knowledge. He made a brilliant military career ... Along with Ryleev, Bestùžev published the almanac "Polar Star." He went into the secret society as a joke and he got twenty years of condemnation".

Polar Star

Bestùžev was nice, had a dizzying worldly success, the entire Russian society was reading his tales of Livonia. Puškin thought he was a fascinating person. In one of the letters to Puškin, Bestùžev wrote: "Hi, my poet, be yourself and remember friends who wish you happiness and glory."


Bestùžev - self-portrait

In fact, if the human relationships of friendship between Bestùžev and Puškin were very warm, so was not the literary vision. Bestùžev reproached Puškin do not read enough Byron and criticized the Eugene Onegin telling him not having been able to describe the true soul of Petersburg. Bestùžev could not see the irony and lightness that governs the work, his is the conception of a traditional romanticism, of commitment, purely ideal and utopian. In contrast Puškin reproached Bestùžev advising: "Stop writing fast Povesti (*) with romantic references: this is fine for a Byronic poem! The novel demands chatters, you must express everything in a forthright way. Your Vladimir speaks the language of the German drama, watching the sun at midnight, and so on. But the description of the Lithuanian camp and the conversation with the carpenter's sentinel are a delight, and even the final. "
* Short stories.

The Decembrists at the Senate Square in St. Petersburg in 1825 (Karl Kolman)

The Decembrist revolt in action
(Vasily Timm)

Anyway, apart from their literary skirmishes, it is certain that Bestùžev and Puškin, each with its own conventions and style, defined the cultural and social scenes of Russia in the early nineteenth century. Storms and life adventures they have in common: cheers and glory, tormented affections, convulsive friendships and days in chiaroscuro, especially delusions and convictions for having nurtured dreams of hope and justice.

The book by L. Bagby

To Puškin, Time distributed laurels and just recognition; against Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Bestùžev, perhaps, has yet to replace something. And that was the intent of Professor Lewis Bagby when he wrote his essay "Aleksandr Bestuzhev-Marlinsky and Russian Byronism": In this book I attempt to reestablish Bestuzhev's position in Russian cultural history while at same time introducing a forgotten literary icon to an audience not familiar with him. "

With this work, Alfredo Bertollo and I have tried to contribute, even in small part, to the knowledge and to love Aleksandr Aleksandrovič Bestùžev to Italian readers

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