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Main body 4
1) Griboyedov’s first steps in his career 4
2) Literature 9
3) Poems 14
4) The death of Alexander Griboyedov 16
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The poem “The Brigands of the Chegem” is based on a happening on the frontier line. Several days before Griboyedov’s arrival at the fort, a raiding party of two thousand Kabardin and Chechen horsemen had fallen on a nearby Cossack settlement, killing 10 people and kidnapping over a hundred more. After driving off all the cattle and horses, they had set fire to the village, retreating with their captives to the impenetrable fastness of Chegem, close to Mount Alborz.Griboyedov rode out with Velyaminov to survey the smoking village, and to try in vain to catch up with the perpetrators, but it is clear from the tone of the poem that his sympathies were largely on the raiders’ side.The poem is written in short staccato couplets, which makes it a thrilling dispatch from the front line. It describes the return ride of the tribesmen throughthe misty invisibility of treacherous valley paths and precipices, catching their feelings of defiance as they stumble through rocks and ravines, rollingaway obstructive stones into the tumbling river below.These stones and cliffs are ours! O Russians, why do you struggleto acquire these age-old heights?The cry is not only rhetorical, but also conclusive in its certainty that the Russians will not win. For a moment, they will think they have won, and then their enemy will melt away again, to snipe at them from the mist. The Russians’ target is invisible, as nature itself comes to the tribesmen’ help.Griboyedov’s language is full of local color: he evokes the stallions, the moonless nights, the sound of the river, the whistle of blizzards, the roar of the waterfalls, the massive glaciers, the golden-fleeced sheep and roaming boars and wolves who share the raiders’ bivouac. The final scenes of the poem, after the perilous return journey to Chegem has been negotiated, show a grand feast in their mountain stronghold, where they celebrate their victory and divide the spoils. Griboyedov reveals a close knowledge of the raiders’ psychology and customs indescribing the division. The youngest girls would go to the bravest cavaliers, the boys would be re-educated by the Holy Men (kadis) and thus, in due course, provide the tribe with further warriors and leaders (uzdens). As for the rest, they would either become slaves, or be ransomed for the best price. Any jewellery or precious stones would go to the wives, the horses and cattle would be shared amongst the warriors.4) The death of Alexander GriboyedovThe aftermath of the Decembrists revolt of 1825 was gruesome for Griboyedov. Not only his dearest friends were prosecuted and exiled to Siberia, but he himself fell under investigation. On 31 May 1826, on the advice of the commission, his file was finally minuted by the Tsar Nicholas I: “Release him with a certificate of innocence”. Thus, Griboyedov was freed of all suspicion, and hadbeen granted the necessary funds to rejoin his post, namely the chancery of the GOC in Tiflis, where he had the honor to serve asdiplomatic secretary.Griboyedov returned to Tiflis, where he spent six months in 1826-27. During the 1826-28 Russo-Persian war , General Yermolov was replaced by Paskievich as Commander-in-Chief. Griboyedov acted as Paskievich’s adviser and interpreter in the peace negotiations, and dealt with the ensuing mass of paper. He negotiated the armistice in 1828 in Tabriz along with Prince Menshikov, who was the new Tsar’s ambassador to the Shah.On 9-10 February signing of the Treaty of Turkmanchai was held. The Treaty, which was in fact negotiated by Griboyedov, was of enormous significance for the Russian Empire. It marked a major Russian triumph and also released much-needed troops for the impending war with Turkey. Griboyedov’s efforts were fully recognized in St. Petersburg.After short time in the capital, Griboyedov was sent back to Tehran to impose the Treaty’s terms on the Persians in 1828. He fought against the appointment as best he could. The appointment, when announced, was scaled down to that of Resident Minister Plenipotentiary to the Persian court. Even so, it was a dazzling promotion for a diplomat.He left to Tehran in December, and was planning to return to Tabriz in late January 1829. The tragic events of those days never let that happen.While negotiations with the Shah and his ministers continued, public opinion was becomingincreasingly inflamed. The final straw came on 29 January when the mob burst into the saloon of the Russian embassy from the doorway and windows, yelling and brandishing swords and daggers. Griboyedov was last seen fighting desperately, though there were no witnesses to the moment of his death. Griboyedov's body, thrown from the embassy window, was decapitated. The mob dragged the corpse through the city's streets and bazaars, celebrating. The mutilated bodywas eventually abandoned on a garbage heap after three days of ill-treatment. It was identified only by a duelling injury to a finger. Griboyedov’s body was taken to Tiflis where it was buried. In retrospect, it is clear that Griboyedov had been given an impossible remit by his masters in St Petersburg, or set himself an unrealistic list of aims. The harshness of the terms he had to impose made him a hated figure from the start. He had been given no leeway in negotiating the payment of the indemnity, or in dealing with the demands for repatriation of those who claimed to be Russian subjects. Intensely proud of his position as the personal representative of the Tsar, he regarded it as asacred duty to enforce the terms of the Treaty, however dangerous in practice. Griboyedovwas a passionate and committed Russian patriot.ConclusionTo Griboyedov, his diplomatic achievements counted little beside his desire to write. He wrote to his friend after returning to St. Petersburg in 1828: “Everything which I have been doing up to now is of secondary importance as far as I am concerned. My vocation is at my desk, my head is full of ideas and I feel the need to write”. Therefore, it is not a surprise that in Russia he is best known for his literary legacy.Scores of phrases and aphorisms from the “Woe from Wit” have passed into everyday speech; according to a recent estimate, it is the most quoted single work in the language. References to “Woe from Wit” permeate Russian literature. Alexander Pushkin, quoting from it in “Eugene Onegin”, was the first of a long line of writers for whom it has been a touchstone.Here is Ivan Goncharov: The salt, the epigrams, the satire, the colloquial verse one feels will never die, any more than the sharp, biting, lively Russian intelligence which is sprinkled throughout them and which Griboyedov locked up, as a wizard might some spirit in his castle, where it bursts into peals of malicious laughter. It is impossible that speech should ever be more natural, more simple, more completely derived from life.Appearing a year before the failed Decembrist uprising of 1825, “Woe from Wit” has been taken as the manifesto of the doomed generation of liberal aristocrats to which Griboyedov belonged, notably by Alexander Herzen.For the twentieth-century poet Alexander Blok, Griboyedov was the most original and talented writer in the history of Russian drama. Fascinated by his character, he sees him as a divided personality, “on the one hand a Petersburg civil servant…an unlovable fellow with a cold expression, a poisonous mocker and sceptic”, on the other a subversive, whose hidden rebelliousness and restlessness force him into unceasing experiment aesthetically. In an essay in 1907, comingdown from the fence after an extended summary of all the critical literature on Griboyedov, he describes “Woe from Wit” as the “most magnificent creation of all our literature”. It is a bold claim, and one which will always be open to discussion. But Griboyedov’s place in the pantheon of Russian literature is secure. His epitaph remains as relevant as it was on the day his widow had it carved on his tomb: his spirit and his works live eternally in the memory of Russians.In the post-Decembrist blight which marked the opening years of Nicholas I’s reign, literary protest was stifled, political conformity rigidly imposed. For Griboyedov, escape lay in the Caucasus and the civilized warmth of Georgia. Always intensely nationalistic, his patriotism could find an outlet in his diplomatic career, and expanding Russia’s territory at the expense of her Persian and Turkish neighbors. In the context of Russian imperialism, he was a maker of history; the Treaty of Turkmanchaiwas as important to the area as the Congress of Vienna of 1878 was to Europe,and (unlike the Congress of Vienna’s) the borders then established still hold.By conquering all the khanates beyond Georgia, from Erivan to Baku, and placing the Russian frontier along the Araxes river, the Russians had secured the country’s southern borders against invasion; the frontiers established at the treaty were to hold good until the break-up of the Soviet empire. Britain had been replaced by Russia as the major power in Persia, and would be forced to seek new buffer zones for India in Afghanistan and the Punjab.SourcesBrintlinger A. The Persian Frontier: Griboedov as Orientalist and Literary Hero // Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes. – 2003.– Vol. 45.– No. 3.– P. 371-393.Enikolopov I.K., Popova I.O. and ZaverinM. Griboyedov v Gruzii.Tblisi: ZaryaVostoka, 1954.158 p.Fomichev S.A. A.S. Griboyedov.Tvortchestvo, Biografiya, Traditsii. Leningrad: Nauka, 1977. 291 pFomichev S.A. Griboyedov.Encyclopedia.Saint-Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriya, 2007. 396 p.Griboyedov A.S. Polnoesobraniesochinenii v 3 tomakh / ed. N.K. Piksanov.Petrograd: Akademiianauk, 1917.Griboyedov A.S. Woe from Wit. A Comedy in 4 Acts. Play in Verse. Translated from the Russian by A.S. Vagapov // http://samlib.ru/a/alec_v/woehtm.shtmlHobson M. AleksandrGriboedov's Woe from Wit: a commentary and translation.Lewiston, N.Y. [u.a.] Mellen, 2005. 612 p.Kelly L. Diplomacy and Murder in Tehran: Alexander Griboyedov and Imperial Russia’s Mission to the Shah of Persia. London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2006. 368 p.NechkinaM.V. A.S. Griboyedov idekabristy. Moscow:AkademiaNauk, 1951. 626 p.Piksanov N.K. A.S. Griboyedov.Biograficheskyocherk.St Petersburg: Akademia Nauk,1911. 146 p.Polunov A.I.U., Owen Th.C.,Zakharova L.G. Russia in the Nineteenth Century: Autocracy, Reform, and Social Change, 1814-1914. Routledge, 2015.304 p.Tynyanov Y. The Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar // Tynyanov Y. Sochineniya. Т. 2. Leningrad: Khudozhestrennaya literature, 1985.
1. Brintlinger A. The Persian Frontier: Griboedov as Orientalist and Literary Hero // Canadian Slavonic Papers / Revue Canadienne des Slavistes. – 2003. – Vol. 45. – No. 3. – P. 371-393.
2. Enikolopov I.K., Popova I.O. and Zaverin M. Griboyedov v Gruzii. Tblisi: Zarya Vostoka, 1954. 158 p.
3. Fomichev S.A. A.S. Griboyedov. Tvortchestvo, Biografiya, Traditsii. Leningrad: Nauka, 1977. 291 p
4. Fomichev S.A. Griboyedov. Encyclopedia. Saint-Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriya, 2007. 396 p.
5. Griboyedov A.S. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii v 3 tomakh / ed. N.K. Piksanov. Petrograd: Akademiia nauk, 1917.
6. Griboyedov A.S. Woe from Wit. A Comedy in 4 Acts. Play in Verse. Translated from the Russian by A.S. Vagapov // http://samlib.ru/a/alec_v/woehtm.shtml
7. Hobson M. Aleksandr Griboedov's Woe from Wit: a commentary and translation. Lewiston, N.Y. [u.a.] Mellen, 2005. 612 p.
8. Kelly L. Diplomacy and Murder in Tehran: Alexander Griboyedov and Imperial Russia’s Mission to the Shah of Persia. London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2006. 368 p.
9. Nechkina M.V. A.S. Griboyedov i dekabristy. Moscow: Akademia Nauk, 1951. 626 p.
10. Piksanov N.K. A.S. Griboyedov. Biografichesky ocherk. St Petersburg: Akademia Nauk,1911. 146 p.
11. Polunov A.I.U., Owen Th.C., Zakharova L.G. Russia in the Nineteenth Century: Autocracy, Reform, and Social Change, 1814-1914. Routledge, 2015. 304 p.
12. Tynyanov Y. The Death of the Vazir-Mukhtar // Tynyanov Y. Sochineniya. Т. 2. Leningrad: Khudozhestrennaya literature, 1985.
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