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Deržavin und seine Marmorbüste

Joachim Klein

Pages 190 - 206


This paper deals with Deržavin’s autobiographical poetry as exemplified by his poem "My Bust". A marble bust which Deržavin had ordered for himself is a source of hope and self-doubt for his lyrical speaker. Does he actually deserve the honour represented by this sculpture and, if so, on which grounds? Accordingly, the lyrical monologue turns into a sequence of sharply contrasting moods of confidence and self-deprecation, which is unique in eighteenth-century Russian poetry. The dramatism of this monologue calms down at the end of the poem in a spirit of Horatian wisdom. The poem is remarkable for its self-critical and self-ironic character. The article closes with a reflection on Deržavin and his claim of eternal fame.


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