"The happiness of childhood is the Golden Age, and the recollection of it has power to move the old man's heart with pleasure and with pain. Happy the man who once possessed it and is able to recall the memory of it in later years!" Thus Sergei Aksakov recalls the "magic world" of youth, as he portrays the delights and tumults of Russian country life at the turn of the 18th century. In 1856 at the age of 64, Aksakov sat down to write the story of his long-ago student life. A Russian Schoolboy is the result. As the older man thinks back to that time more than fifty years earlier, unbidden memories come to him, some painful and others sweet. Under the spell of Aksakov's writing, we can imagine we are listening to the child himself as he suffers the anguished separation from his mother or thrills to his developing capacities as a student. We grow fond of the boy and dearly appreciate the man—and because these two happily share the stage, A Russian Schoolboy will please readers of all ages. Acclaimed for his realistic prose, Sergei Aksakov (1791–1859) captured the essence of Russian life in his trilogy of reminiscences—A Russian Gentleman, Years of Childhood, and A Russian Schoolboy. He also wrote literary sketches, and appreciations of hunting and fishing. Nikolai Gogol, a friend and correspondent, once wrote to Aksakov: "Your birds and fishes are more real than my men and women."