About the author
Natalya P. Generalova, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Makarova quai, 4, 199034 St. Petersburg, Russia
The paper analyses the text of Afanasy Fet’s memoirs about the early years of his life. The author of the article identifies people who had a huge influence on the poet in childhood (mother, uncle), discusses the role of a manuscript of poetic notebook in his formation; from that book Afanasy Fet’s acquaintance with Alexander Pushkin’s works began. The story of the Borisovs, which became akin family to Afanasy Fet, is told; after the death of his sister and her husband, it took care of his nephew. Turning to the word “Caesaria” mentioned by the old servant of Afanasy Fet’s own, the author of the article presents a fascinating investigation and draws a conclusion about the place of service of Afanasy Fet’s father and uncle — they served in East Prussia. Studying the details of the poet’s memoirs, the author demonstrates the attitude of Afanasy Fet and his father to the literacy of the people, shows the role of priests in the process of training peasants. Considering in the descriptions of Afanasy Fet’s landlord life the “bill by tags” as a peculiar form of fixing property relations, the author of the article draws interesting parallels of facts from folkish life noted by the poet.