January 01, 2010

Literaturnaya Gazeta

founded January 1830

“in russia, a poet is more than a poet,” Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote in 1964. Ever since, this phrase has been tossed about whenever poets are discussed in our country. In fact, until recently literature in Russia was surrounded by such an aura of sanctity that, like it or not, all writers — whether they wrote poetry or prose — had a certain reputation to live up to. In truth, no one had to be forced, since everyone, with varying degrees of success, sooner or later stepped beyond the bounds of being “just writers.”

In January 1830, two poets — Alexander Pushkin and his Lyceum classmate Anton Delvig — began to publish the descriptively named newspaper, the Literary Gazette (Literaturnaya Gazeta). The name suggested that it would be a newspaper about literature, and that was certainly the basic idea. Throughout 1830, Pushkin zealously threw himself into journalism. He wrote for the newspaper, helped assemble each issue, and contributed his poetry, excerpts from Eugene Onegin, and a chapter from his novel The Negro of Peter the Great. Literary Gazette was indeed looking rather literary.

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