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Nikolay Nekrasov

Nikolay Nekrasov

Nikolay Alekseyevich Nekrasov was a Russian poet, writer, critic, journalist and publisher. He was born in 1821 in Nemirov, Ukrain. Nekrasov studied at St. Petersburg University, but his father’s refusal to help him forced him into literary and theatrical work at an early age. His first book of poetry was published in 1840. Nekrasov’s work centred on the theme of compassion for the sufferings of the peasantry. He also sought to express the racy charm and vitality of peasant life in his adaptations of folk songs and poems for children. An able businessman, he published and edited literary miscellanies and in 1846 bought from Pyotr Pletnev the magazine Sovremennik (“The Contemporary”), which had declined after the death of its founder, Aleksandr Pushkin. Nekrasov managed to transform it into a major literary journal, despite constant harassment by the censors. Both Ivan Turgenev and Leo Tolstoy published their early works in Sovremennik, but after 1856, influenced by its subeditor, Nikolay Chernyshevski, it began to develop into an organ of militant radicalism. It was suppressed in 1866, after the first attempt to assassinate Alexander II. In 1868 Nekrasok took over Otechestvenniye zapiski (“Notes of the Fatherland”), remaining its editor and publisher until his death. Nekrasov had published numerous of poetry collections, one play and one unfinished novel. He died in Saint Petersburg in 1878.

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