Pushkin is the most important Russian writer of all time, like Shakespeare in England or Dante in Italy. Pushkin provided the standards for Russian arts and literature in the 19th century.
Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799 into an upper-class family. In 1811 he entered a lyceum at Tsarskoye Selo. The education offered at the lyceum shaped Pushkin’s life.
He graduated from the lyceum in 1817 and began to work in the foreign office in St. Petersburg.
In 1820 the foreign office transferred Pushkin to Ekaterinoslav, and later to Odessa for writing anti-tsarist poetry. In 1824, for his letter against the tsar, he was exiled to Mikhailovskoye. In 1824, Tsar Nicholas I allowed Pushkin to return to Moscow.
Pushkin felt in love with Natalya Goncharova, who was 16 then, and in 1830 they got married. His wife was suspected of an affair with Baron Georges d’Antes; this became the subject of gossip. Pushkin challenged d’Antes to a duel. Pushkin was wounded and died two days later.
Pushkin was the Russia’s greatest poet. In his works he was first influenced by 18th century poets, and then by Lord Byron. Finally he developed his own style, which was realistic but classical in form.
His earliest long poem was romantic “Ruslan and Lyudmila” . A series of verse tales followed “The Prisoner of the Caucasus”, “The Robber Brothers”, “The Fountain of Bakhchisarai”, and “The Gypsies”. They were inspired by Byron’s poetry.
In 1823 Pushkin began writing his masterpiece “Eugene Onegin”, a novel in verse. “Eugene Onegin” became the linguistic and literary standard. It is a commentary on the life of the early 19th century Russia. It is noted for brilliant verse.
He also wrote other long poems, including “Bronze Horseman” , the finest collection of lyrics in Russian literature.
Pushkin created also a number of masterpieces in drama and prose. “Little Tragedies” and “The Stone Guest” are among the best works in the world history of drama. Pushkin’s love to Russia’s past resulted in his historical drama, “Boris Godunov” . “Tales of the Late I. P. Belkin”, “Dubrovsky”, “The Captain’s Daughter” are the most important of his prose works. Pushkin’s use of Russian influenced the great Russian writers Turgenev, Goncharov, Tolstoy.
Pushkin’s early death shocked the country. Pushkin, called by many “the sun of Russian literature”, belongs among the foremost poets and writers of the world.