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V. O. Kluchevsky about the character of sadness in M. Yu. Lermontov’s philosophical lyrics

Liberal Arts in Russia. 2018. Vol. 7. No. 1. Pp. 38-44.
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Gorlanov G. E.
Penza State University
40 Krasnaya Street, 440026 Penza, Russia


The famous Russian historian V. O. Kluchevsky had been constantly interested in literature. In this article, the author considers Kluchevsky’s observations on M. Yu. Lermontov’s creativity through the analyses of sadness motives in the article “Sadness” published in the journal “Russian Thought” (1891). Kluchevsky tried to understand how sadness motives were appeared in the Russian literature and how these motives influenced Lermontov’s self-reflection. Literary analyses is constructed on famous Lermontov’s lyrics, such as “Sail”, “The golden cloud slept…”, “Dream” and “July the 11th of 1831”. Analyzing the lyrics “I go out alone on the road…” the author of this article paying attention to “hidden sadness”, which is expressed impressively in melodious Lermontov’s lyric without “arrangement for notes”. Kluchevsky had expressed it on the 50th anniversary of Lermontov’s death. The position of the historian reflected in his comparison of sad Lermontov with meek and devout Russian tsar Alexey Mikhailovich. For this comparison, he was reproached by writer and literary critic N. M. Mikhailovsky, but Kluchevsky thoroughly considered sadness motives in poet’s creativity based on examples from the lyrics and disagreed literary critic’s reproaches. The origins of sadness motives studied in the historian’s article are in lesser degree connected with the biography of young Lermontov and rooted in the “moral history” of all Russian society.


  • • Kluchevsky
  • • Lermontov
  • • sadness motive
  • • history
  • • lyrics
  • • self-reflection
  • • homeland


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