Alexander Pushkin is considered the father of Russian literature. He wrote his poems and stories in Russian, which was considered revolutionary at the time, because in 19th century Russia, aristocrats spoke French.
Pushkin was a member of the Decembrists, a group of noblemen who wanted to honor the people of Russia, particularly the peasants. Their goal was to write laws in a way that could be understood by everyone—in Russian.
Although Pushkin spoke French, he chose to write his poetry in Russian. By doing so, he made poetry and literature available to everyone, not just aristocrats. He was considered a national hero and was widely treated with respect by other Russian writers, such as Dostoyevsky and Turgenev.
Born in Moscow in 1799, Pushkin published his first poem at age 15. His family was cultured, but poor. He spent most of his youth with nursemaids and governesses. He was later sent to a school for children of nobility. He disliked most subjects, with the exception of French and Russian Literature. Between 1814 and 1817 he wrote over 130 poems, many of which were outspoken politically. He was exiled to the south of Russia. When Nicholas I came into power, Pushkin was invited back to the capital, but his work was scrutinized and censored.
After 1830, Pushkin focused less on poetry and more on the short story. He was married in 1831 to Natalya Goncharova. She was much younger than he was. She was also very beautiful, and she was fond of the attention of other men. Pushkin died in a duel trying to defend her honor in 1837.
Other sites offering biographical information include:
Pushkin’s most famous work was Evgenii Onegin, This was a novel in verse published in 1833. It’s widely considered to be the greatest masterpiece of Russian literature.
An English Translation of Eugene Onegin
Collection of Alexander Pushkin’s poetry by year
A detailed timeline of the poet’s life, along with his poetry in both English and Russian is available at Poet Page.
Other sites offering excerpts of Pushkin’s work include the following:
The following sites offer information on historical locations dedicated to Alexander Pushkin: