Mirror of the Soul

A Life of the Poet Fyodor Tyutchev

By John Dewey
Shaftesbury (Brimstone Press), 2010, 547 pages
ISBN 978-1-906385-23-1

Tyutchev - Mirror of the SoulJohn Dewey's new biography — the first in English, and one of the most comprehensive to date in any language — has now been published by Brimstone Press. Providing a long overdue introduction to this major figure, it tells the story of a fascinating life and personality as reflected in the poems, presented here in the author's own verse translations.

Written with the general reader in mind, the book also makes important new contributions in the field of Tyutchev studies. For its account of Tyutchev's life it draws on an extensive range of sources, including much previously unpublished archival material. Datings, addressees and circumstances of composition are established for a number of the poems which have hitherto proved problematic in this respect. Tyutchev's poems, and his relationship to the major intellectual and political movements of his age, are subjected to detailed analysis and reassessment.

Mirror of the Soul has been acclaimed by the critics as a major new work in its field (see below).

John Dewey - specialist on Russian poet TyutchevAuthor - John Dewey

JOHN DEWEY has degrees in languages from the Universities of Cambridge and Nottingham, and for many years taught German and Russian in schools and colleges. His previous publications include translations of Russian poems, verse and prose, and articles on Russian literature.

Critical Responses

‘John Dewey’s magnificent book Mirror of the Soul embraces with equal depth and clarity Tyutchev’s extraordinary poetry, philosophy, love life and (un)diplomatic career. […] Mirror of the Soul is beautifully written and edited. It will be, for a long time, the standard work on Fyodor Tyutchev anywhere in the world.’ Donald Rayfield, Times Literary Supplement

‘This book is not only the first life of Tyutchev in English, it is by far the best and the most complete anywhere, including Russia.’   Stanley Mitchell, Literary Review

'It is John Dewey's accomplishment in his magnificent biography to cover all this ground with admirable thoroughness while still managing to keep the poetry very much in focus. […] The general reader for whom this book is intended […], and Slavists wishing to learn more about this complex and fascinating personality, will find before them a highly informative and richly rewarding volume.' Barry P. Scherr, Slavonic and East European Review

‘The exhaustiveness of the research is matched by the quality of the writing, and it is difficult to imagine that it will be surpassed in any language for many years to come. Not least impressive are the translations of Tyutchev’s lyrics which, unusually for a book of this kind, give the non-Russian speaker a real sense of the originals.’  Malcolm Jones, Emeritus Professor of Slavonic Studies, University of Nottingham

‘The author has convincingly resolved many of the unresolved questions of Tyutchev's biography. [...] With more than four hundred pages of impeccably produced text, plus photographs, copious notes, a comprehensive bibliography and three indexes, [...] this book constitutes excellent value for money.’  Michael Pursglove, East-West Review 


Mirror of the Soul is no longer in print, but may be downloaded free of charge as an e-book here.




Also available from Brimstone Press:


Fyodor Tyutchev

Selected Poems