Реферат: Pushkin's Biography

   Pushkin's Biography

Adapted fromJ.Thomas Shaw's biographical sketch in The Letters of Alexander Pushkin, Volume1

AleksandrSergeevich Pushkin was born in Moscow on May 26, 1799 (Old Style). In 1811 hewas selected to be among the thirty students in the first class at the Lyceumin Tsarskoe Selo. He attended the Lyceum from 1811 to 1817 and received thebest education available in Russia at the time. He soon not only became theunofficial laureate of the Lyceum, but found a wider audience and recognition.He was first published in the journal The Messenger of Europe in 1814. In 1815his poem «Recollections in Tsarskoe Selo» met the approval ofDerzhavin, a great eighteenth-century poet, at a public examination in theLyceum.

After graduatingfrom the Lyceum, he was given a sinecure in the Collegium of Foreign Affairs inPetersburg. The next three years he spent mainly in carefree, light-heartedpursuit of pleasure. He was warmly received in literary circles; in circles ofGuard-style lovers of wine, women, and song; and in groups where politicalliberals debated reforms and constitutions. Between 1817 and 1820 he reflectedliberal views in «revolutionary» poems, his ode «Freedom,»«The Village,» and a number of poems on Aleksandr I and his ministerArakcheev. At the same time he was working on his first large-scale work,Ruslan and Liudmila.

In April 1820,his political poems led to an interrogation by the Petersburg governor-generaland then to exile to South Russia, under the guise of an administrativetransfer in the service. Pushkin left Petersburg for Ekaterinoslave on May 6,1820. Soon after his arrival there he traveled around the Caucasus and theCrimea with the family of General Raevsky. During almost three years inKishinev, Pushkin wrote his first Byronic verse tales, «The Prisoner ofthe Caucasus» (1820-1821), «The Bandit Brothers (1821-1822), and»The Fountain of Bakhchisaray" (1821-1823). He also wrote«Gavriiliada» (1821), a light approach to the Annunciation, and hestarted his novel in verse, Eugene Onegin (1823-1831).

With the aid ofinfluential friends, he was transferred in July 1823 to Odessa, where heengaged in theatre going, social outings, and love affairs with two marriedwomen. His literary creativeness also continued, as he completed «TheFountain of Bakhchisaray» and the first chapter of Eugene Onegin, andbegan «The Gypsies.» After postal officials intercepted a letter inwhich he wrote a thinly-veiled support of atheism, Pushkin was exiled to hismother's estate of Mikhaylovskoe in north Russia.

 The next two years, from August 1824 to August1826 he spent at Mikhaylovskoe in exile and under surveillance. Howeverunpleasant Pushkin my have found his virtual imprisonment in the village, hecontinued his literary productiveness there. During 1824 and 1825 atMikhaylovskoe he finished «The Gypsies,» wrote Boris Godunov,«Graf Nulin» and the second chapter of Eugene Onegin.

 When the Decembrist Uprising took place inPetersburg on December 14, 1825, Pushkin, still in Makhaylovskoe, was not aparticipant. But he soon learned that he was implicated, for all theDecembrists had copies of his early political poems. He destroyed his papersthat might be dangerous for himself or others. In late spring of 1826, he sent theTsar a petition that he be released from exile. After an investigation thatshowed Pushkin had been behaving himself, he was summoned to leave immediatelyfor an audience with Nicholas I. On September 8, still grimy from the road, hewas taken in to see Nicholas. At the end of the interview, Pushkin was jubilantthat he was now released from exile and that Nicholas I had undertaken to bethe personal censor of his works.

 Pushkin thought that he would be free totravel as he wished, that he could freely participate in the publication ofjournals, and that he would be totally free of censorship, except in caseswhich he himself might consider questionable and wish to refer to his royalcensor. He soon found out otherwise. Count Benkendorf, Chief of Gendarmes, letPushkin know that without advance permission he was not to make any trip,participate in any journal, or publish — or even read in literary circles — any work. He gradually discovered that he had to account for every word andaction, like a naughty child or a parolee. Several times he was questioned bythe police about poems he had written.

 The youthful Pushkin had been a light-heartedscoffer at the state of matrimony, but freed from exile, he spent the yearsfrom 1826 to his marriage in 1831 largely in search of a wife and in preparingto settle down. He sought no less than the most beautiful woman in Russia forhis bride. In 1829 he found her in Natalia Goncharova, and presented a formalproposal in April of that year. She finally agreed to marry him on thecondition that his ambiguous situation with the government be clarified, whichit was. As a kind of wedding present, Pushkin was given permission to publishBoris Godunov — after four years of waiting for authorization — under his «ownresponsibility.» He was formally betrothed on May 6, 1830.

 Financial arrangements in connection with hisfather's wedding gift to him of half the estate of Kistenevo necessitated avisit to the neighboring estate of Boldino, in east-central Russia. WhenPushkin arrived there in September 1830, he expected to remain only a few days;however, for three whole months he was held in quarantine by an epidemic ofAsiatic cholera. These three months in Boldino turned out to be literarily themost productive of his life. During the last months of his exile atMikhaylovskoe, he had completed Chapters V and VI of Eugene Onegin, but in thefour subsequent years he had written, of major works, only«Poltava»(1828), his unfinished novel The Blackamoor of Peter theGreat (1827) and Chapter VII of Eugene Onegin (1827-1828). During the autumn atBoldino, Pushkin wrote the five short stories of The Tales of Belkin; the versetale «The Little House in Kolomna;» his little tragedies, «TheAvaricious Knight,» «Mozart and Salieri;» «The StoneGuest;» and «Feast in the Time of the Plague;» «The Tale ofthe Priest and His Workman Balda,» the first of his fairy tales in verse;the last chapter of Eugene Onegin; and «The Devils,» among otherlyrics.

 Pushkin was married to Natalia Goncharova onFebruary 18, 1831, in Moscow. In May, after a honeymoon made disagreeable by«Moscow aunties» and in-laws, the Pushkins moved to Tsarskoe Selo, inorder to live near the capital, but inexpensively and in «inspirationalsolitude and in the circle of sweet recollections.» These expectationswere defeated when the cholera epidemic in Petersburg caused the Tsar and thecourt to take refuge in July in Tsarskoe Selo. In October 1831 the Pushkinsmoved to an apartment in Petersburg, where they lived for the remainder of hislife. He and his wife became henceforth inextricably involved with favors fromthe Tsar and with court society. Mme. Pushkina's beauty immediately made asensation in society, and her admirers included the Tsar himself. On December30, 1833, Nicholas I made Pushkin a Kammerjunker, an intermediate court rankusually granted at the time to youths of high aristocratic families. Pushkinwas deeply offended, all the more because he was convinced that it wasconferred, not for any quality of his own, but only to make it proper for thebeautiful Mme. Pushkina to attend court balls. Dancing at one of these ballswas followed in March 1834 by her having a miscarriage. While she wasconvalescing in the provinces, Pushkin spoke openly in letters to her of hisindignation and humiliation. The letters were intercepted and sent to thepolice and to the Tsar. When Pushkin discovered this, in fury he submitted hisresignation from the service on June 25, 1834. However, he had reason to fearthe worst from the Tsar's displeasure at this action, and he felt obliged toretract his resignation.

 Pushkin could ill afford the expense of gownsfor Mme. Pushkina for court balls or the time required for performing courtduties. His woes further increased when her two unmarried sisters came inautumn 1834 to live henceforth with them. In addition, in the spring of 1834 hehad taken over the management of his improvident father's estate and hadundertaken to settle the debts of his heedless brother. The result was endlesscares, annoyances, and even outlays from his own pocket. He came to be in suchfinancial straits that he applied for a leave of absence to retire to thecountry for three or four years, or if that were refused, for a substantial sumas loan to cover his most pressing debts and for the permission to publish ajournal. The leave of absence was brusquely refused, but a loan of thirtythousand rubles was, after some trouble, negotiated; permission to publish,beginning in 1836, a quarterly literary journal, The Contemporary, was finallygranted as well. The journal was not a financial success, and it involved himin endless editorial and financial cares and in difficulties with the censors,for it gave importantly placed enemies among them the opportunity to pay himoff. Short visits to the country in 1834 and 1835 resulted in the completion ofonly one major work, «The Tale of the Golden Cockerel»(1834), andduring 1836 he only completed his novel on Pugachev, The Captain's Daughter,and a number of his finest lyrics.

 Meanwhile, Mme. Pushkina loved the attentionwhich her beauty attracted in the highest society; she was fond of«coquetting» and of being surrounded by admirers, who included theTsar himself. In 1834 Mme. Pushkina met a young man who was not content withcoquetry, a handsome French royalist émigré in Russian service,who was adopted by the Dutch ambassador, Heeckeren. Young d'Anthes-Heeckerenpursued Mme. Pushkina for two years, and finally so openly and unabashedly thatby autumn 1836, it was becoming a scandal. On November 4, 1836 Pushkin receivedseveral copies of a «certificate» nominating him «Coadjutor ofthe International Order of Cuckolds.» Pushkin immediately challengedd'Anthes; at the same time, he made desperate efforts to settle hisindebtedness to the Treasury. Pushkin twice allowed postponements of the duel,and then retracted the challenge when he learned «from public rumour»that d'Anthes was «really» in love with Mme. Pushkina's sister,Ekaterina Goncharova. On January 10, 1837, the marriage took place, contrary toPushkin's expectations. Pushkin refused to attend the wedding or to receive thecouple in his home, but in society d'Anthes pursued Mme. Pushkina even moreopenly. Then d'Anthes arranged a meeting with her, by persuading her friendIdalia Poletika to invite Mme. Pushkina for a visit; Mme. Poletika left the twoalone, but one of her children came in, and Mme. Pushkina managed to get away.Upon hearing of this meeting, Pushkin sent an insulting letter to oldHeeckeren, accusing him of being the author of the «certificate» ofNovember 4 and the «pander» of his «bastard.» A duel withd'Anthes took place on January 27, 1837. D'Anthes fired first, and Pushkin wasmortally wounded; after he fell, he summoned the strength to fire his shot andto wound, slightly, his adversary. Pushkin died two days later, on January 29.

 As Pushkin lay dying, and after his death,except for a few friends, court society sympathized with d'Anthes, butthousands of people of all other social levels came to Pushkin's apartment toexpress sympathy and to mourn. The government obviously feared a politicaldemonstration. To prevent public display, the funeral was shifted from St.Isaac's Cathedral to the small Royal Stables Church, with admission by ticketonly to members of the court and diplomatic society. And then his body was sentaway, in secret and at midnight. He was buried beside his mother at dawn onFebruary 6, 1837 at Svyatye Gory Monastery, near Mikhaylovskoe.



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