Aleksandr Pushkin - Biography
Aleksandr Pushkin is considered Russia's greatest poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin was the first to use everyday speech in his poetry, fusing Old Slavonic with vernacular Russian. This blend gave his works their rich, melodic quality.
Aleksandr Pushkin was born in Moscow on 6 June 1799 into a cultured but poor aristocratic family, with a long and distinguished lineage. On his father's side, he was a descendant of an ancient noble family; his mother was a great granddaughter of Gannibal, the legendary Abyssinian, who served under Peter the Great. Pushkin's mother took little interest in the upbringing of her son, entrusting him to nursemaids and French tutors. Pushkin got acquainted with the Russian language through communication with household serfs and his nanny, Arina Rodionovna, whom he loved dearly and was more attached to than to his own mother.
In 1811, along with 30 other distinguished young men, Pushkin was admitted to the Lyceum, an exclusive school for the nobility, located outside St. Petersburg in Tsarskoe Selo. It provided the best education available in Russia at the time. An unofficial laureate of the Lyceum, in no time, Pushkin drew the acclaim of his teachers and peers for his poetry. His first publication appeared in the journal The Messenger of Europe in 1814. In 1815, at the public examination at the Lyceum, the audience was swept by his poem "Recollections about Tsarskoe Selo," which was highly praised by Gavriil Derzhavin, the most influential poet of the time. At the Lyceum, Pushkin formed rock solid friendships with many other students, and cherished this "Lyceum brotherhood" for the rest of his life.