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A Precocious Autobiography by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

A Precocious Autobiography by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

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A Precocious Autobiography

by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

translated from the Russian by Andrew R. MacAndrew

Collins and Harvill Press, 1963 [First English Edition], black and white photographic frontispiece, hardcover

Very Good Condition, some edge and shelf wear, some rubbing and bumping to edges and corners, previous owners inscription on front end-paper, mild foxing, mild markings to fore-edges (see photographs)

"In A Precocious Autobiography, the poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko gives an account of the first three decades of his life—hence, the title “precocious”—before most people, especially artistic creators, go through the most productive part of their life. The reason for the poet’s premature effort is undoubtedly his conviction that the experiences of his early years, coupled with important changes in the life of his country (the death of Joseph Stalin and the emergence of the postwar generation), are worth telling. He begins with the simple fact that both of his grandfathers were accused as “traitors” and “spies” and vanished in the concentration camps. His paternal great-grandfather was deported from Ukraine to Siberia for rebelling against his landlord. His maternal grandfather was born in Latvia. By stating that “revolution was the religion” of his family, Yevtushenko underscores the tragedy of the demise of his grandfathers, who were old revolutionaries.

The incompatibility of Yevtushenko’s parents—who met as students at the Geological Institute, married, but soon divorced—was another decisive factor in the poet’s life. He spent his childhood torn in his loyalty to his parents. This, along with the war, made his earliest years difficult, although he spent some happy days in his native Siberia, close to nature and to the simple, hardworking people. Yevtushenko grew up on the streets, fighting with his peers, doing poorly in school, and at times being expelled for speaking the truth, a habit that he inherited from his Siberian ancestors.

Yevtushenko discovered early that he liked writing poetry despite receiving bad marks in grammar. He also had a desire to become a professional soccer player. He published his first poem in the magazine Soviet Sport and celebrated it by getting thoroughly drunk. The next day, he had the first trial as a goalie for a soccer..." - <>

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