Lermontov was born in Moscow on 15th October 1814 to a retired army captain and his wife. At the age of three Lermotov's mother died and he was sent to live with his grandmother on her estate in Penzenskaya province. Here, the natural and at times exotic beauty of the area formed a lasting impression on him, as did the customs and ceremonies of the time and the stories, legends and folk songs that he heard.

In 1827 he moved with his grandmother to Moscow and attended boarding school. There he began to write poetry and study painting. Lermontov, like many other young writers at the time, was influenced heavily by English poet Lord Byron, as was shown by his first two poems Cherkesy and Kavkazsky Plennik (1928).

His first published verse, Vesna the followed in 1830.

Also in 1830, he entered Moscow Univeristy and studied alongside such democratically minded representatives of nobility as Aleksandr Herzen and Nikolay Platonovich Ogaryov. Students regularly discussed political and philosophical problems and it was in this atmosphere that Lermotov wrote a number of longer, narrative poems and dramas. For example, his drama Stranny Chelovek (A Strange Man)(1831) reflected the attitudes current among members of student societies: hatred of the despotic tsarist regime and of serfdom.

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