Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin was a Russian author of the Romantic era who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.
According to Vladimir Nabokov,
"Pushkin's idiom combined all the contemporaneous elements of Russian with all he had learned from Derzhavin, Zhukovsky, Batyushkov, Karamzin, and Krylov; these elements are: 1. The poetical and metaphysical strain that still lived in Church Slavonic forms and locutions; 2. Abundant and natural gallicisms; 3. The everyday colloquialisms of his set; and 4. Stylized popular speech. He made a salad of the famous three styles (low, medium elevation, high) dear to the pseudoclassical archaists, and added to it the ingredients of Russian romanticists with a pinch of parody."
Born into the Russian nobility in Moscow, Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo.
While under the strict surveillance of the Tsar's political police and unable to publish, Pushkin wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was serialized between 1825 and 1832.
Notoriously touchy about his honour, Pushkin fought a total of twenty-nine duels. At the age of thirty-seven years, however, Alexander Pushkin was fatally wounded in such an encounter with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès. D'Anthès, a French officer serving with the Chevalier Guard Regiment, had been attempting to seduce the poet's wife, Natalya Pushkina. Pushkin's early death is still regarded as a catastrophe for Russian literature.
In 1937, the town of Tsarskoe Selo was renamed Pushkin in his honour. In more recent years, his life has inspired the film Pushkin: The Last Duel.
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