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 Samuil Marshak

Born:   October, 22nd, 1887
Deceased:   July, 4th, 1964

Russian poet, translator, and playwright.


Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak was born on October, 22nd, 1887 into a Jewish family in Voronezh. He got his initial education in a grammar school not far from Voronezh. Samuil Marshak wrote his first poems when a schoolboy yet. Well-known critic Vladimir Stasov after reading one of Samuil’s poetry notebooks helped him to enter a grammar school in St. Petersburg.

After meeting the writer Maxim Gorky in 1904, Samuil Marshak lived at Gorky’s summer residence in Yalta from 1904 to 1906. In 1907 he had his works published first – it was the collection “Sionidy”.

Samuil Marshak continued his education at a university in London. When living in England, Marshak started translating ballads into Russian. He returned to Russia in 1914, and in 1920 organized several drama institutions for children in Krasnodar. Throughout his life Samuil Marshak was writing and translating a lot of poems for children. Among them are the famous fairy tales “Twelve months”, “House that Jack built”, etc. For some time he also wrote in the genre of satire.

In spite of being mainly known as the children’s poet, Samuil Marshal throughout his literary career (for more than 50 years) kept writing both poetic feuilletons and serious "adult" lyrical poetry.

Samuil Marshak is the author of now classical translations of William Shakespeare’s sonnets, Robert Burns’ songs and ballads, and poems by William Blake, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Rudyard Kipling, Edward Lear, A. A. Milne, Jane Austen, as well as works by Ukrainian, Belorussian, Lithuanian, Armenian and other poets. He also translated Mao Zedong’s poems.

Samuil Marshak’s books have been translated into many languages of the world. For translations of Robert Burns he was awarded the title of the honourable citizen of Scotland.

Samuil Yakovlevich Marshak died on July, 4th, 1964 in Moscow. He was laid down to rest at the Novodevichy Cemetery (site 2).

Tags: Russian literature Russian writers literature for children   

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