1944 Sc 851-852 Ivan Krylov Scott 957-958


1944. Ivan Krylov. Scott 957-958, Standard Collection cat 851-852.

Ivan Krylov Biography

Ivan Andreyevich Krylov (Иван Андреевич Крылов in Russian) (February 13, 1769 – November 21, 1844) was a famous Russian fabulist.

Ivan Krylov was born in Moscow, but spent his early years in Orenburg and Tver. His father, a distinguished military officer, died in 1779. Young Krylov was left with no fortune, only to be brought up by the exertions of a heroic mother. In the course of a few years his mother removed to St.Petersburg, in the hope of securing a government pension. There, Krylov obtained a post in the civil service, but he gave it up immediately after his mother’s death in 1788. Already in 1783, he had sold to a bookseller a comedy of his own composition, and by this means had procured for himself the works of Molière, Racine, Boileau; probably under the influence of these writers, he produced Philomela, which gave him access to the dramatic circle of Knyazhin. Several attempts Krylov made to start a literary magazine met with little success; but, together with his plays, they served to make the author known in society. For about four years (1797-1801) Krylov lived at the country seats of Prince Sergey Galitzine, and when the prince was appointed military governor of Livonia he accompanied him as official secretary. Of the years which follow his resignation of this post little is known, the common opinion being that he wandered from town to town under the influence of a passion for card-playing. Before long he found his place as a fabulist, the first collection of his Fables, 23 in number, appearing in 1809. From 1812 to 1841 he held a congenial appointment in the Imperial Public Library first as assistant, and then as head of the Russian books department.

Honors were showered upon Krylov while he yet lived: the Russian Academy of Sciences admitted him a member in 1811, and bestowed upon him its gold medal; in 1838 a great festival was held under imperial sanction to celebrate the jubilee of his first appearance as an author; and the emperor assigned him a handsome pension. Before his death about 77,000 copies of his Fables had found sale in Russia; and his wisdom and humor had become the common possession of the many. His fables for the most part struck root in some actual event, and they told at once by their grip and by their beauty. Though he began as a translator and imitator he soon showed himself a master of invention, who found abundant material in the life of his native land. To the Russian ear his verse is of matchless quality; while word and phrase are direct, simple and eminently idiomatic, color and cadence vary with the theme.

Krylov’s statue in the Summer Garden is one of the finest monuments in St.Petersburg.

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