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 Nikolay Nekrasov


Born:   December 10 [O.S. November 28] 1821
Deceased:   8 January 1878 [O.S. 28 December 1877

Russian poet, writer and publicist

      

Nikolay Alexeyevich Nekrasov was an illustrious Russian poet, writer, editor and critic, one of the greatest classics of world literature, whose profound works full of compassion to common people of Russia made him a hero of Russian liberals. 

He was born into the family of a small estate nobleman in the Nemirov town of the Podolsk Governorate. The future poet spent his childhood in the village to Greshnev, in the patrimonial estate of his father, who was a person of despotic character. Nikolay’s loving and caring mother was a well-educated woman and as his first teacher cultivated love of literature and the Russian language in him. 
 

In 1832-1837 Nikolay Nekrasov studied at a classical grammar school in Yaroslavl and it was in that period when he started writing poetry.  In 1838 the future poet moved to St. Petersburg, where against the will of his father, who wanted him to pursue a military career, switched from a military academy to St. Petersburg University. The 16-year-old poet failed to enter, but still was a non-matriculated student and a lecture goer at the philology faculty for two years. Since his father stopped supporting Nikolay after his shifting from the military to philology, the beginning poet lived under very hard conditions, (even in a homeless shelter for some time!) and yet he managed to author his first collection Dreams and Sounds with romantic lyrical poems. It was supported by the poet Vasily Zhukovsky, but run down by Vissarion Belinsky, one of the most important critics of that epoch.
 
From 1841 he started contributing for the Notes of the Fatherland magazine headed by Vissarion Belinsky, whose ideas got home to the poet. It was time for Nikolay Nekrasov’s first realistic verses, with the first of them On the Way (1845) highly appreciated by the critic. 
 
In 1847-1866 Nekrasov was the publisher and the actual editor of The Contemporary (aka Sovremennik) magazine, which rallied the best literary forces of that time. It became a loud-hailer of revolutionary-democratic powers. After the events of 1861, when leaders of revolutionary democracy were arrested, Nikolay Nekrasov visited his home grounds, Greshnev and Abakumtsevo. There he wrote the philosophical and lyrical poem The Knight for an Hour (1862), which came to be one of his favourites. In the same year Nekrasov acquired the Karabikha Estate near Yaroslavl town, where he came every summer to spend time in nature and communicate with his peasant friends. After the closing of The Contemporary magazine Nikolay Nekrasov got the right for publishing the Notes of the Fatherland that the last ten years of his life were associated with. In those years he worked on one of his most remarkable poems Who is Happy in Russia? In this famous work with a notable rhyme scheme resembling that of Russian folk song, seven peasants ask this question to various representatives of rural population. Another significant work of that time is Russian Women telling the real life story the princesses Ekaterina Trubetskaya and Maria Volkonskaya, who followed their husbands, participants of the Decembrist revolt of 1825, to exile in Siberia. This poem, just like lots of other works by Nekrasov, conveys his profound and subtle empathy to women. In that period he also created a series of satirical works topped with the poem Contemporaries (1875). Nekrasov’s late poems are notable for their elegiac motives. 
 
Nikolay Alekseevich Nekrasov died (on December 27, 1877) on January 8, 1878 in Petersburg.
Lots of libraries and other cultural and educational institutions, as well as streets in numerous cities of Russia and other countries are named after him. There are Nekrasov Museums in St. Petersburg, Chudovo town of the Novgorod Region and in Karabikha Estate.


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