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Today in 1837: Great Russian Poet, Alexander Pushkin, Dies From Injuries Sustained in a Duel

10. February 2010 by Christy 0 Comments

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Hailed as Russia’s greatest poet as well as the founder of modern Russian literature, Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) was born in Moscow and published his first poem at the tender age of 15. He quickly earned a reputation as an accomplished writer and was well-known in literary circles by the time he graduated from the Imperial Lyceum in Tsarskoye Selo.


Though he occasionally wrote historical fiction, Pushkin mainly composed poems and plays. His works, a mixture of drama, romance and satire, had a great influence on later Russian writers.


Pushkin was dedicated to social reform and was exiled to southern Russia after a clash with the government in the early 1820s. While in exile, he wrote what many consider to be his greatest work: the famous play Boris Godunov. Due to government censorship, Pushkin couldn’t publish the poem until several years later (1831).


In 1831, Pushkin married a woman named Natalya Goncharova and the couple had four children. The oldest, Maria, is thought to be the inspiration for Leo Tolstoy’s main character in the novel Anna Karenina. Six years after marrying Natalya, Pushkin began to hear rumors of an affair and he challenged her alleged lover to a duel. The duel did not go well and Pushkin died from his injuries two days later. He was greatly mourned after his death.

 

Click to view a sampling Alexander Pushkin's works.

 

Alexander Pushkin After the Fatal Duel

 

Pushkin's Wife, Natalya Goncharova