Magazine article Russian Life

Kozma Petrovich Prutkov

Magazine article Russian Life

Kozma Petrovich Prutkov

Article excerpt

January 13, 1863, saw the passing of the "eminent poet" KOZMA PETROVICH PRUTKOV, a product of the imaginations of Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoy and three of his cousins, the Zhemchuzhnikov brothers. The fictitious poet came to embody literary banality and pomposity, while offering his creators the opportunity to gambol through the fertile fields of literary parody, a genre that informed the obituary they wrote for him:

The family, friends, and all who were close to Kozma Petrovich Prutkov have been afflicted with a terrible grief, but more terrible is the grief that has befallen our national literature ... Yes, he is no more! He has passed on, my dear beloved uncle! That kind relative, that great thinker and most gifted of poets, that invaluable servant of the state, who always treated his subordinates fairly yet sternly, exists no more! ... My most treasured uncle Kozma Petrovich Prutkov always labored zealously, devoting most of his abilities and time to government service and assigning only his hours of leisure to learning and his muses, sharing with the public the fruits of these innocent labors. His superiors valued his zeal and rewarded him accordingly: having entered service in 1816 as a cadet in one of the finest hussar regiments, Kozma Petrovich Prutkov died with the rank of Actual State Councilor, with a seniority of 15 years and four and a half months, after irreproachably running the Assay Office for 20 years (beginning in 1841)! …

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