The Most Remarkable Year in the Life of August Kotzebue, or His Incarceration in Siberia and Subsequent Return


August von Kotzebue (1761–1819) was a German author and dramatist who lived and worked in Germany and Russia in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He was the father of Otto von Kotzebue (1787–1846), a famous Baltic German explorer who charted Arctic routes to Alaska and the North Pacific for Imperial Russia in the first part of the 19th century. Dostopamiatnyi god zhizni Avgusta Kotsebu (The most remarkable year in the life of August Kotzebue) was written to chronicle a peculiar interlude in the life of the author — the period when he was arrested at the Russian border for his controversial political views and sent to the Siberian city of Tobolsk. A famous literary figure across Europe at the time, Kotzebue moved between Germany and Russia throughout his career. His writings tended to be inflammatory, and he occasionally fell afoul of political personalities in both countries. With encouragement from the Russian ambassador in Berlin, Kotzebue traveled to Russia in 1800 and was promptly arrested upon entry. Emperor Paul I (1754–1801) allowed him to return from Siberia and, on the basis of his literary talents, appointed him head of the German theater in Saint Petersburg. The tsar later bestowed on him an estate in Estland (Estonia), the Baltic German stronghold then on the western border of the Russian Empire. The book captures the often inexplicable situations in which Kotzebue found himself and illustrates the essential arbitrariness of Russian rule in this period. Otto von Kotzebue lived in Reval (Tallinn) for many years. He joined the Imperial Russian Navy, a career choice that took him to Alaska and beyond.

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Subject Date

Publication Information

Kryazhev and Mei, Moscow


Title in Original Language

Достопамятный годъ жизни Августа Коцебу, или заточенiе его въ Сибирь и возвращенiе оттуда. Описанное имъ самимъ

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Physical Description

2 volumes in 1 book ; 22 centimeters

Last updated: June 9, 2017