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Biography of Alexandre Sergueïevitch POUCHKINE

Alexandre Sergueïevitch POUCHKINE

Alexandre Sergueïevitch POUCHKINE
Born on 26/05/1799 (format : day/month/year)

Biography :

 Alexander  Sergueievitch Pushkin born on May 26, 1799- died January 29, 1837, was the patriarch of Russian literature.Pushkin is of immense importance not only in the history of Russian literature, but also in the history of Russian enlightenment. The author who often has been considered his country's greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. He established the norms of classical Russian versification, and he laid the groundwork for much of the development of Russian prose in the 19th century. His work is distinguished by brilliance of language, compactness, terseness, and objectivity. He pioneered the use of vernacular speech in his poems and plays, creating a style of storytelling-mixing drama, romance, and satire-associated with Russian literature ever since and greatly influencing later Russian writers.

The poet’s father, Sergey Lvovich Pushkin, came from an illustrious,noble family, one of the oldest lines of Russian family. . He was known for his wit, French library, and literary salons, in which he read Molière aloud. The poet’s mother Nadyezhda Osipovna, née Gannibal, was known as “la belle créole”. Her black grandfather, Ibrahim Gannibal, had been kidnapped in childhood from Central Africa, sold by slave traders to the Turks, and then bought and sent as a “gift” to Tsar Peter the Great.

Peter baptized the boy Abraham, raised him fondly, and sent him to study military engineering at Vauban’s academy in France. Abraham became Russia’s chief fortress builder, and wrote textbooks in French on military engineering. Proud of his African heritage, referring to it often in his lyrics. Pushkin himself had black hair and swarthly complexion.  Pushkin’s heritage was both a source of pride and pain. He was inordinately proud of his African heritage and often went out of his way to identify himself with black African cultural roots. To the contrary, he was also troubled by his looks, which  exhibited some traits of his African ancestry. His family reflected this same ambivalence; sometimes rejecting him and at other times embracing him for his accomplishments (Feinstein 1998, 2).

He was brought up in an atmosphere that was predominantly French, and at a very early age he became acquainted with the classic works of 17th-and 18th-century French literature. He learned Russian from household serfs and from his nanny, Arina Rodionovna. Pushkin started to write poems from an early age. His first published poem was written when he was only 14.

While still a student at the Lyceum, Pushkin wrote poetry that drew the acclaim of his teachers and peers. Around 1819-20, he fell under the spell of Byron's work, and he wrote a series of narrative poems that reflect this influence&endash;exotic Southern settings, tragic romantic encounters, etc. Some of his poetry seemed too liberal for Tsar Alexander I, and Pushkin was banished from the capital, first to the south of Russia, and later to Mikhailovskoe, an estate belonging to his mother. His years in Mikhailovskoe saw the maturation of Pushkin's talent, and he moved away from the sensuous, mellifluous poetry of his Southern poems toward a more austere and incisive form. Among the well-known poems he wrote in the mid to late 1820s were "The Prophet" and "The Poet." Also during these years he worked on a "novel in verse" that he had begun in 1823 &endash; Eugene Onegin. Written in iambic tetrameter, the novel provides a dazzling yet insightful portrait of a jaded young member of the nobility who fails to appreciate a woman's love until it is too late and she is married to another. Pushkin also tried his hand at drama, and in 1825 he wrote the sweeping tragedy, Boris Godunov.

In 1827 Pushkin was allowed to return to St. Petersburg. Two years later he met the beautiful Natalia Goncharova, whom he wished to marry. In the autumn of 1830, however, he was separated from Goncharova by a cholera epidemic and he was forced to remain at his estate in Boldino. There, during a period of incredible creativity, Pushkin finished Eugene Onegin, wrote four "little tragedies" in verse, and the cycle of short stories, The Tales of Belkin. Pushkin finally married Goncharova in 1831, but he was not entirely happy in his married life. They had four children together. Natalia was very popular at the imperial court, and Pushkin was forced to spend more time in the capital than he wished. His creative output began to diminish, although he wrote the witty short story "The Queen of Spades" and the dynamic narrative poem "The Bronze Horseman" in 1833, and the historical novel The Captain's Daughter in 1836.

By the mid-1830s, Pushkin was regarded by some readers and critics as old-fashioned, and this opinion rankled him. Then, he became the target of an even more personal insult&endash;a rumor that his wife had been unfaithful to him. Stung beyond the limit of his self-control, Pushkin provoked his presumed persecutor, Baron Georges d'Anthes, to challenge him to a duel. The event took place on January 27, 1837, and Pushkin was mortally wounded. He died two days later. Fearing a public outcry over the senseless loss of this great figure, the authorities falsely declared that a funeral service would be held in St. Isaac's Cathedral, but the real service was held in secret a day before the announced service was to have taken place, and Pushkin's body was smuggled out of the capital.

 Alexander Pushkin has been identified as the father of Russian literature and composed in Russian during an era when most Russian writers composed in French. The most distinguished Russian writers offer Pushkin effusive praise. Feodor Dostoevsky wrote that, “No Russian writer was ever so intimately at one with the Russian people as Pushkin.” Maxim Gorky wrote that, “Pushkin is the greatest master in the world. Pushkin, in our country, is the beginning of all beginnings. He most beautifully expressed the spirit of our people.” I. Turgeniev wrote that, “Pushkin alone had to perform two tasks which took whole centuries and more to accomplish in other countries, namely to establish a language and to create a literature.”


Last update : 04/19/2011

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