Kozma Prutkov. Whom was he, the official - the thinker?
B 50 - 60 years of the 19th century were published in Iskra and Sovremennik magazines the popular derisive verses, aphorisms and satirical miniatures convicting government of the tsar Nicholas I and bureaucracy. All these works belonged to a certain Kozma Prutkov`s feather, the employee of Assay Tent.
When in crowd you will meet the person,
Which is nude;
Whose forehead is more gloomy than foggy Kazbek,
Neroven a step;
of Whom of a vlasa of a podjyata in a disorder;
Who, crying out,
Always shivers in a nervous attack, - Know
: it I!
of Whom needle with rage eternally new,
From generation to generation; the crowd a wreath its laurel
C of whom;
Who before anybody backs does not drive flexible, - Know
: it I!.
In my lips a quiet smile,
In a breast is a snake!
(“Being intellectually limited, he gave advice of wisdom; without being a poet, he wrote verses; believing to be a historian, he told jokes; without having any education and the slightest understanding of needs of the Fatherland, he composed for it laws“). For many years he was considered as the real character, and the unsophisticated reader, despite an obvious giperbolichnost and a parody of statements of Prutkov, accepted his works with absolute gravity. Actually, Kozma Prutkov was “a literary mask“ of brothers - poets Zhemchuzhnikov and writer Alexey Tolstoy.
Spending summer of 1849 in the ancient entail property by Pavlovke, the Oryol province, Alexander Zhemchuzhnikov occupied the leisure with the composition of comic fables (“Forget-me-nots and a back“, “A heron and running droshky“, “The conductor and a tarantula“). Such “hand-written nonsense“ very much was pleasant to brothers, and they continue to develop a series of naughty verses which begin to gain big irony.
Soon to Zhemchuzhnikov the cousin - Alexey Tolstoy joins. Originally works are published in the famous magazines without instructions of the author. In 1851 it is decided to publish compositions the separate collection, but what pseudonym to choose? Vladimir Zhemchuzhnikov suggested to attribute all creations to his valet Kuzma Prutkov:
- Kuzma, we wrote the book, give us for it the name as though you composed it. And everything that from it we will help out, we will give you.
- The book - that clever or not?
- Silly - very stupid.
- And if silly, I do not wish that my name under it stood. And money yours are not necessary to me.
Such answer of the old man Kuzma very much made laugh Tolstoy for what the valet also was awarded by 50 rubles. But the name all - was borrowed.
... Kozma Petrovich Prutkov in the village of Tenteleva near Solvychegodsk was born on April 11, 1803. Carried out all the life, except for children`s and boyish years, being in public service. In 17 years, for the purpose of receiving a uniform, came to Hussars (“If you want to be beautiful - arrive in hussars“). Military career lasted only 2 years.
In the night of April 11, 1823 the dream in which the naked brigade general conducted it dark long corridors on mountain top where took out and showed precious matters dreamed Kozma, and put some to Prutkov`s body. And suddenly “felt strong electric blow from which all woke up in a perspiration in all body... In the same morning, having hardly woken up, I decided to leave a regiment and resigned; and when there was a resignation, I was immediately appointed on the Ministry of Finance in Assay Tent where I will remain forever!“
So began civil service of Kozma Petrovich. The administration had a kind feeling and awarded it: served to the director of Assay Tent, received the Order of Saint Stanislaus 1 class. Quietly and slowly Prutkov`s life recovered by poetic overindulgence would flow if not the sudden death from nervous blow which comprehended the director of Assay Tent on the duty station what reports the Sovremennik magazine about.
The kingdom was decided to send Kozma Petrovich to Aidovo because of “lack of youth and cheerfulness of authors, and an ocherchennost of an image“ as reports in letters to A. Pypinu Vladimir Zhemchuzhnikov. But the classical image of the self-satisfied, loyal and silly office person did not sink into Stiks`s waters, Kozma Prutkov is living and until now. Do not lose popularity its brilliant aphorisms, and the parody to the statesman - topical character.