Alexander Pushkin

Portrait of Alexander Pushkin

Alexander Pushkin was a Russian poet, playwright and novelist. He is seen as the founder of modern Russian literature. He was born in Moscow, Russia on 6th June 1799 and died in Saint Petersburg, Russia on 10th February 1837 aged 37.

Major Works

Ruslan and Ludmila” (1817-1820)
Eugene Onegin” (1823-1832)
Boris Godunov” (1825)
Little Tragedies” (1830)
Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin” (1830)
The Bronze Horseman” (1833)
The Queen of Spades” (1834)
The Captain’s Daughter” (1836)

Biography Timeline

Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin was born on 26th May 1799 in Moscow, Russia. His father Sergei was a minor nobleman and his mother Nadezhda was related to an African lord although the family were not wealthy.

1811: He attends a special school for privileged children of the nobility.

1814: He writes his first poems. 

1817: He leaves school but most of his many poems over the next few years were deemed not appropriate for publication due to their subject matter.

1820: He leaves St. Petersburg on 6th May as the political nature of most of his poems was deemed unacceptable by the state and he was banished to the south of Russia. In June however his first narrative poem “Russlan and Ludmilla” is published. Pushkin spent the years from 1820 to 1823 in various places in the southern part of Russia, including the Caucasus and the Crimea.Although happy at first he later became bored and took up drinking and gambling. He was consequently always short of money even though he had a job as a civil servant.

1823: He moves to Odessa which was a much larger city than he had been used to and more fun. 

1824: He then moves to Mikhailovskoye, a town to the north of Moscow where his family owned an estate. When Pushkin arrived there his relations with his parents, particularly his father, were not good, however they left in November and Pushkin found himself alone with only the family nurse. She told Pushkin many folk tales to pass the time and it is thought that instilled in him a feeling for country life that appears in many of his poems. This was a productive period during which he wrote the first three chapters of “Eugene Onegin”,and composed the tragedy “Boris Godunov”. Pushkin was eventually forgiven by the new Tsar Nicholas I on the understanding that all his new work should be passed by him first. Pushkin promised not to publish anything harmful to the state.

1830: He proposed to Natalya Nikolayevna Goncharova and managed to obtain money, and and a house from her parents. 

1831: He finally completes “Eugene Onegin”. He marries Natalya Goncharova on 2nd March when she was sixteen. Although they had three children together it was not a happy marriage as his pretty wife had many admirers.

1837: Things come to an head on 29th January when he challenged one of these admirers, Baron Georges d’Anthès, to a duel in St Petersburg `after he had heard they were having an affair. Pushkin is wounded and died on the same day. There was a great outpouring of grief at this news. The Tsar, fearing an uprising, had Pushkin buried in secret on 6th February next to his mother at Svyatogorsky Monastery, near Mikhailovskoye.