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(May 29, 2007)
These fascinating programs tell the stories of Russia's greatest writers. These informative biographies present a revealing look into the events, people, and places that influenced the creation of the authors major works, and tell the story of the influence that Russia had on the history of western literature.
Alexander Pushkin, poet and author, founded the literature of the Russian language with epic and lyric poems, plays, novels, and short stories. Pushkin was born on June 6, 1799 in Moscow into a noble family. In 1817, he was taken into the ministry of foreign affairs and held various official posts. He demonstrated an early gift for writing poetry, and by 1820 he published his Ruslan and Ludmila, which earned him a reputation as being one of Russia's most promising poetic talents.
He began his most famous work, Eugene Onegin in 1823, hailed as the first of the great Russian novels (although in verse). Dismissed from government service in 1824, he wrote Boris Godunov, a Russian historical tragedy in Shakespearean tradition. Pushkin continued to draw upon Russian history in his poems, novels, and short stories. He provided a literary history for Russians whose native language had long been considered unfit for literature. He was also a versatile writer of great vigor and optimism who understood the many facets of the Russian character.
He died February 10, 1837 at only 38 years of age from wounds he suffered in a bloody duel in St. Petersburg. Pushkin's lyric poetry and vivid prose were invaluable models for the writers who followed him.