Pushkin, Aleksandr (Sergeyevich)

Pushkin, Aleksandr (Sergeyevich)

biographical name

(born June 6, 1799, Moscow, Russia—died Feb. 10, 1837, St. Petersburg) Russian writer. Born into an aristocratic family, Pushkin began his literary career while still a student at the Imperial Lyceum at Tsarskoye Selo (later renamed Pushkin). His first major work was the romantic poem Ruslan and Ludmila (1820). With his political verses and epigrams, he became associated with a revolutionary movement that culminated in the unsuccessful Decembrist revolt of 1825. Banished to several provincial locations, he produced a cycle of romantic narrative poems that confirmed him as the leading Russian poet of the day and the leader of the Romantic generation of the 1820s. He also worked on his important historical tragedy, Boris Godunov (1831), and his central masterpiece, the novel in verse Eugene Onegin (1833). After Nicholas I allowed him to return to Moscow in 1826, Pushkin abandoned his revolutionary sentiments, turning to the figure of Peter the Great in poems such as The Bronze Horseman (1837). Other works from this period include the classic short story “The Queen of Spades” (1834) and the drama The Stone Guest (1839). In his late works the motif of peasant rebellion is prominent. The object of suspicion in court circles, he died at age 37 after being forced into a duel. He is often considered his country's greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.

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