It is a known fact that Pushkin disliked Alexander I, calling him a “nomadic despot" and “bald dandy.” But he was willing to forgive much of his transgressions for two memorable successes. One, “he took Paris.” And two, “he founded the Lyceum.” These lines quoted above are from Pushkin's poem “October 19.” In our time, according to the New Style calendar, the Lyceum Day, on which the Imperial Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum was opened in 1811, is celebrated on October 31. More lyceums opened in later years, but only this one became known at the Lyceum with a capital L, alma mater for Delvig, Küchelbecker, Mei, Grot, Saltykov-Shchedrin, and for its most famous alumnus, Pushkin. So what is the Lyceum? Let us quote the answer given by a respected man, Count Miloradovich. “It is not a university; not a cadet corps, not a gymnasium, nor a seminary, it is... The Lyceum!” And there is no way to put it better.
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