Pushkin spent his schooldays at the Lyceum at Tsarskoe Seloe. The
school had 30 pupils and was inaugurated in October 1811 at a ceremony
attended by the Imperial family, where the boys were presented to
Tsar Alexander. Although originally designed for the education of
the Imperial family, the Tsar decide not to enrol his brothers Michael
and Nicholas, the future Tsar. In the aristocratic circles to which
the Pushkins belonged, Sergei Lvovich was regarded as impoverished,
but the ancient nobility of his ancestry, along with the distinction
of the Gannibals, meant that the family had an automatic entry to
the highest layer of society.
Appropriately, his son Alexander received the best education to
be had in Russia. The school was next to the Imperial palace. The
boys lived on the fourth floor, while below were classrooms, a physics
lab, a reading room with newspapers and journals, and a library.
The Lyceum was the scene of Pushkin’s greatest youthful triumph,
when at the age of 14 his first published work appeared in the journal
The Herald of Europe (1814). The following year he was
invited to perform after the end of term examinations. The event
was attended by various dignitaries, including the Minister of the
Interior, and the hugely respected poet Derzhavin. His poem, entitled
Reminiscences of Tsarskoe Seloe, was a great success, and
Derzhavin predicted that he would be replaced by the young poet.
This was the first scene in Pushkin’s life to be later immortalised
Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips
Next - 'Pushkin, poet and troublemaker - the early years'