The role of A. S. Pushkin is extremely prominent. It was due to him that thousands of people got the literature education... He was the first to give the Russian literature the status of the whole nation’s matter… He became the first poet, who in the eyes of Russian people took that high place, which a great poet should take in his country.
N. G. Chernyshevsky
On May 26 (June 6) 1799 in Moscow, in the German quarter was born the Great Russian poet, prose writer, playwright, publicist, critic, founder of the new Russian literature, Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin.
Father of Alexander S. Pushkin, Sergei Lvovich, descended from a distinguished noble family; his mother, Nadezhda Osipovna, born Hannibal, was a granddaughter of Abram Petrovich Hannibal — “Peter the Great’s Negro”.
Alexander Pushkin received his elementary education at home. In 1811 he entered the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoe Selo — a privileged educational institution, which following a special program prepared statesmen from children of the nobility. At the lyceum the future poet was noticed by G. R. Derzhavin, N. M. Karamzin, K. N. Batyushkov, V. A. Zhukovsky.
Already in 1814 the Moscow magazine “Europe’s bulletin” (“Vestnik Evropy”) published the first poem by Alexander Pushkin “To the Friend-poet”, and in 1815 about 18 poems by the young poet came out in the magazine “Russian Museum”.
In 1817 Alexander Sergeevich graduated from the Lyceum, moved to St. Petersburg and got a position at the Collegium of Foreign Affairs. The major poem “Ruslan and Ludmila”, published in 1820, arouse much controversy about its subject and style. Political poems by A. S. Pushkin (“Liberty”, “To Chaadaev”, “The Village”) became the reason of dissatisfaction of Alexander I and in May 1820, the poet was exiled from the capital. Pushkin travelled to the Caucuses, later to the Crimea, he lived in Kishinev and Odessa, where he met with future Decembrists – V. F. Raevsky, P. I. Pestel, M. F. Orlov and many others. During the “south” exile Pushkin wrote such romantic poems like “The Captive of the Caucasus”, “The Robber Brothers”, “The Fountain of Bakhchisaray”; in 1823 he started his work on the novel in verse “Eugene Onegin”.
In July 1824 due to complicated relations with the Count Vorontsov, who supervised Pushkin’s exile in Odessa, Pushkin was forced from the city, fired from the government service and exiled to his mother’s estate in Mikhailovskoe (near Pskov) “to the supervision of local authorities”. During the “north” exile Alexander Sergeevich continued his work on “Eugene Onegin”, wrote “Boris Godunov”, and many poems. It was in the Mikhailovskoe estate that Pushkin learnt about the Decembrist Uprising and Decembrists’ execution.
On September 8 1826 following the imperial command, Pushkin was delivered to Moscow and granted an audience with Emperor Nicholas I. The Emperor returned the poet from an exile and himself started censoring his works.
In 1830 Pushkin, who had been dreaming about the family, made a proposal to a young Moscow beauty Natalya Nikolaevna Goncharova. Before the wedding he had to go to the Boldino estate (Nizhny Novgorod) to deal with property issues, where he was detained due to the threat of cholera epidemic. During three months of the “Boldino autumn” (September 3 - November 30 ноября) the poet created about 50 works of different genres and completed “Eugene Onegin”.
On December 5 (17) 1830 Alexander Pushkin returned to Moscow, and on February 18 (March 2) 1831 took place his wedding ceremony with N. N. Goncharova. In May 1831 Pushkin’s family moved to Tsarskoe Selo.
At that time Pushkin displayed a keen interest to the history of Russia, reforms of Peter the Great, problem of the place and role of individual in the history of the country. Alexander Sergeevich spent much time in the archives, accumulating materials for the “A History of Peter”, “A History of Pugachev”, wrote historical works (“Notes on the Russian history of 18th c.”, “Poltava”, “Peter the Great’s Negro”).
In November 1836 Pushkin and some of his acquaintances received an anonymous libel, insulting the dignity of Pushkin’s wife and his own. Well-considered and treacherous intrigue resulted into a duel between the poet and his wife’s admirer, French emigrant Georges d'Anthès.
On January 27 (February 8) 1837 in St. Petersburg Pushkin was mortally injured and on January 29 (February 10) 1837 died. The poet was buried at the cemetery of the Svyatogorsky monastery not far from Mikhailovskoe estate.
On June 6 (18) 1880 during the holiday, dedicated to the poet’s birthday, the first monument in the honor of Alexander S. Pushkin in Russia, created by sculptor A. M. Opekushin was unveiled in Tverskoi Boulevard. In 1950 the monument was moved to the square, named after the poet.
Pushkin Day in Russia has been celebrated in our country annually from 1998 in accordance with the order of the President of the Russian Federation of May 21 1997 “On 200th birthday anniversary of A. S. Pushkin and Pushkin Day in Russia foundation”.
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