In his short life, lasted only twenty six years, Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov, was the most prominent figure in XIX. century Russian poetry after Alexandr Sergeyevich Pushkin and left hundreds of poetries, poems and prose works. Lermontov, one of the poets, who started the golden age of Russian literature, clearly reflected the pessimistic aspects of his life and epoch through the phenomenons such as death, loneliness, melancholy and iniquity. Adopting the artistic aesthetics and social views of the famous British poet Lord Byron, Lermontov was an intellectual as well as a passionate bard. Russian literary critic K.N. Leontiev’s the concept of optimistic pessimism helps us to understand Lermontov’s literary works at this point. Optimism and pessimism, which look like opposite poles, are actually two concepts that complement each other in abstract and concrete meanings. And Lermontov desires to highlight optimism in his works by drawing a pessimistic picture. The artist never lost faith in human being, underlined the need for changes in society and social order with his characters such as Pechorin, Demon and Mtsyri. However, the characters can not afford to do this separately. In this paper, supporting with the views of researchers of Lermontov, we aim to show the optimistic pessimism in his works.
Keywords: M.Yu. Lermontov, Optimistic pessimism, XIX. century Russian literature, Russian poetry