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Sergei Yesenin (1895-1925) is a famous Russian poet. The beginning of his work was based on the new peasant lyrics, and later he began to create in the style of Imagism. Yesenin's life ended early, but turned out to be bright. He married the famous dancer Isadora Duncan and traveled with her to Europe and the United States. The poet's personal life was generally stormy - he married three times, left behind four children.
But Yesenin is remembered, of course, for his work, which significantly influenced Russian poetry. Thanks to him, there was a turn to the traditional classical style, which at the beginning of the century was considered already dead. Folklore images were later used by other Soviet poets who glorified national traditions, customs, and nature. Thanks to Yesenin, romance lyrics developed, his poems were in perfect harmony with the music.
The poet's life ended unexpectedly; according to the official version, he committed suicide on December 28, 1925 at the Angleterre Hotel in Leningrad. The most famous myths about Yesenin will be discussed below.
Yesenin was the last true village poet. The poet himself cultivated the myth of his peasant origin. But he varied the legend as needed. Sometimes he introduced himself as a boy from a simple peasant family, and when necessary, he said that he was the grandson of a rich old believer. The truth, as usual, was in the middle. The Yesenin family was, although a peasant, but of average income. There were no Old Believers in it. Nine-year-old Seryozha was able to be assigned to a zemstvo school after which he began to study at a parish school. After graduating from it, the 17-year-old boy went to conquer Moscow. And not only Sergei himself received education, but also his three sisters. For a peasant family, this was a great rarity.
Yesenin literally came to literature on foot. His fans simplify Yesenin's creative path. First there was youth in the native village of Konstantinovo, and then immediately and Petrograd. In this regard, Yesenin seems to be repeating the path of Lomonosov, who came to the capital in bast shoes straight from a remote village. However, Yesenin did not get to Petrograd immediately. From 1912 to 1915, the young man lived in Moscow. There he worked in the printing house of Sytin, became a volunteer at the Faculty of History and Philology of Shanyavsky National University, made acquaintance with poets and writers, got used to life in a big city. This period became very important in the formation of the personality of the beginning poet.
Yesenin was a student of a peasant poet. Eight years before Yesenin, another "peasant poet", Nikolai Klyuev, was already making a career for himself in St. Petersburg. Their literary images were similar, and their joint performances became scandalous. The similarity of the directions of creativity gave rise to the myth that Klyuev was Yesenin's teacher and his patron. In order for the young poet to find his niche in the complex literary world of Petrograd, he needed help. Yes, and Yesenin himself helped to create this myth. He himself frankly said that let anyone who wants to appropriate the laurels of the patron who introduced the poet to Russian literature. Yesenin himself was frankly all the same. But the story says that the first patron of the poet in Petrograd was Alexander Blok. Then they met Sergei Gorodetsky. It was they who introduced Yesenin to the right people, introducing him into the literary circle.
Yesenin spontaneously paid a visit to Blok. This myth was also generated by the poet himself. He told how his acquaintance with Blok took place. In this story, Yesenin appears as a village nugget who adores poetry, but awkward and unfamiliar with life in a big city. The poet appeared uninvited to the venerable master. Yesenin wrote that Blok was an icon for him. It was his first thing that the young man decided to find in Petrograd. And so Yesenin, with a chest in his hands, standing on the station square, was confused. Where to look for Alexander Blok in an unfamiliar city? Yesenin began to question the passers-by, eventually reaching the master's apartment. There he was met by the cook, leaving him to wait outside the threshold. Finally, a meeting took place with Blok, who took Yesenin at first for a novice writer-fellow countryman. But this myth is debunked by Blok himself, who meticulously described his meeting with Yesenin. He sent a note in the morning asking for a meeting at the appointed time. Yesenin wrote that he was disturbing Blok on an important matter, being unfamiliar to him. But the young man explained that his last name could be found in literary magazines. Blok left a comment on this note that on March 9, 1915, a meeting really took place with a 19-year-old peasant in the Ryazan province, whose poems were clean, fresh and wordy.
Yesenin was a naive and inexperienced person. The poet himself made a lot of efforts to form the image of a naive and simple-minded shirt-guy, who attracted fans of creativity. But naivety was not his true quality. Prudence and thoughtfulness helped Yesenin make a career. Thanks to them, the aspiring writer was able to meet influential masters and start publishing in the best metropolitan magazines. Yesenin told his friends frankly that, having arrived in St. Petersburg, he specially dressed up in old clothes and put on red boots, which he had never worn. The young man told his acquaintances that he was passing through the city, and then he went to Riga to roll barrels. He is forced to engage in hard physical labor due to hunger. In St. Petersburg, he simply expects the formation of a party of loaders. In fact, Yesenin did not even think about barrels, wanting to achieve fame and recognition in the capital.
Yesenin was confident in himself, he was not interested in the opinion of others. It seemed that a naive, simple-minded, gifted poet should be superior to ungrateful critics and envious people. This gave rise to the myth of Yesenin's indifference to the opinions of those around him. However, the poet was very attentive to the criticism of his work, he even collected clippings from publications with reviews of his works. A couple of such notebooks have survived. And the poet even remembered the most flattering reviews, as well as offensive ones, by heart.
Yesenin was a drunkard and a hooligan, creating poetry while intoxicated. Often such epithets are adjacent to Yesenin's name, characterizing his personality. In the poet's life, drunken fights and scandals really happened often, becoming an integral part of everyday life. But it had nothing to do with creativity. Yesenin himself claimed that he had never written poetry while intoxicated. Yes, and his friends confirm this.
Yesenin became a victim of a conspiracy. Yesenin's death gave rise to many versions of what really happened. The murder of the people's poet was accused of Jews, Chekists, literary competitors, Trotsky personally .. The massacre turned out to be cruel and thoughtful. There is even a fantastic version about the murder of Yesenin with a pistol shot. The body, wrapped in a carpet, could not be taken out through the window; then they had to stage a suicide. Another version generally claims that the poet was killed elsewhere, and the dead body had already been brought to Angleterre. They say that Yesenin could first be beaten, and then, exhausted, hung up from a pipe. But all these versions disappear if you start looking at the facts. At the end of 1925, Yesenin developed a serious psychological condition. He spent a month in a Moscow psychiatric clinic, from where he fled to Leningrad. Before leaving there Yesenin for some reason visited all his relatives and said goodbye to them. The poet's first wife, Anna Izryadnova, recalled that he said he was not feeling well and was expecting his soon death. Yesenin asked not to pamper and take care of his son. And death is often mentioned in the poet's work in the last two years of his life, more than two hundred times. In this case, we are most often talking about suicide. Yesenin was experiencing a heavy addiction to alcohol, he was terrified of being alone, he developed a persecution mania. Inwardly, the poet felt that talent was leaving him, metaphors and improvisations were becoming more difficult. This negative background served as the basis for suicide.
Yesenin's last poem was forged. This myth is an invariable part of conspiracy theories about the death of the poet. It is known that shortly before the tragedy, he wrote a poem that began with the words: "Goodbye, my friend, goodbye ...". Yesenin addressed this to the poet Wolf Ehrlich, who is considered an agent of the GPU. Yesenin's friend is suspected of having participated in the murder, being assigned by the authorities to an objectionable writer. That is why the poem was shown not immediately, but after Sergei's death. Another version says that the Chekist Yakov Blumkin became the author of the poem and it appeared after Yesenin's death. But all these versions are just theories. The myth was finally debunked in the 1990s, when an examination proved the authenticity of Yesenin's handwriting.
Yesenin's work was under an unofficial ban in the Stalinist USSR. Today it has become fashionable to rank oneself or one's idols among the victims of the Stalinist regime. There are recollections that in the 1930-40s, the 58th article was relied on for reading Yesenin's poems. The authorities saw decadence in the poet's work, which negatively influenced the people. They began to say that no one in Russia was so banned or fought as against Yesenin. They poured mud on him and humiliated him. In fact, on the anniversary of the poet's death, an article about Yesenin's work was published in the Smena magazine. It was noted that this was a great talent, which, unfortunately, lost goals in life. Acquaintance with his work is mandatory for an educated person, you just don't have to get carried away with hooligan and depressing notes. The creators of the myth claim that for almost 30 years, from 1926 to 1955, Yesenin's works were not published. However, during this period, at least a dozen books were published in thousands of copies with his poems and about himself, with photographs and reviews. This is not at all like persecution and oblivion.