From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (Russian: Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкин, (June 6, 1799 – February 10, 1837) was a Russian Romantic author who is considered to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature. Pushkin pioneered the use of vernacular speech in his poems and plays, creating a style of storytelling—mixing drama, romance, and satire—associated with Russian literature ever since and greatly influencing later Russian writers. He is best known for his novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, and is discussed at some length in Colin Wilson's The Misfits and The Outsider. He is also generally believed to be the author of Gavriiliada.
Born in Moscow, Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fourteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation. Pushkin gradually became committed to social reform and emerged as a spokesman for literary radicals; in the early 1820s he clashed with the government, which sent him into exile in southern Russia. While under the strict surveillance of government censors and unable to travel or publish at will, he wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov, but could not publish it until years later. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was published serially from 1823 to 1831.
Pushkin and his wife Natalya Goncharova, whom he married in 1831, later became regulars of court society. In 1837, while falling into greater and greater debt amidst rumors that his wife had started conducting a scandalous affair, Pushkin challenged her alleged lover, Georges d'Anthès, to a duel. Pushkin was mortally wounded and died two days later.
Because of his liberal political views and influence on generations of Russian rebels, Pushkin was portrayed by Bolsheviks as an opponent to bourgeois literature and culture and a predecessor of Soviet literature and poetry.