Vasily Zhukovsky

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Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky (; – ) was the foremost Russian poet of the 1810s and a leading figure in Russian literature in the first half of the 19th century. He held a high position at the Romanov court as the tutor to the Grand Duchess Alexandra Fedorovna and her son, the future Tsar-Liberator Alexander II.

Zhukovsky is credited with introducing the Romantic Movement into Russian literature. The main body of his literary output consists of free translations covering an impressively wide range of poets from Ferdowsi and Homer to his contemporaries Goethe, Schiller, Byron, and many others. Quite a few of his translations proved to be better-written and more enduring works than their originals.


Zhukovsky was born in the village of Mishenskoe, in Tula Oblast, Russia, the illegitimate son of a landowner named Afanasi Bunin and his Turkish housekeeper Salkha. The latter had been brought to Russia as a prisoner of war and was later christened into Orthodoxy as Elizaveta Demyanovna Turchaninova. The Bunin family had a literary bent and some 90 years later produced the Nobel Prize-winning modernist writer Ivan Bunin.

Although raised in the Bunin family circle, the newborn poet was not given his natural father's name but for reasons of propriety was formally adopted by an impoverished family friend named Andrey Zhukovsky. He was later ennobled in his own right under this surname and patronymic. From the early 1790s, he was educated at the Moscow University Noblemen's...
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