Alexander Grin

Alexander Grin

Alexander Stepanovich Grinevsky – better known by the pen name Alexander Grin (1880-1932) – was a Russian writer and poet, notable for his romantic novels and short stories, mostly set in an unnamed fantasy land (which in time became known as Grinlandia) with a European or Latin American flavor. He was born into a family of exiles from Poland, in Slobodskaya Vyatka Province. In 1896 at age 16, Grin finished a four-year Vyatka college and left for Odessa. He ran away from home and lived as a tramp, worked as a sailor, and a fisherman, sought gold in the Urals, and later served the army, where he joined the Socialist revolutionary party. However, his lush and romantic tales which transport the reader to exotic and refreshingly apolitical climes, worlds away from the author’s gloomy motherland, came to be in conflict with principles of the communist party. During his life he has been arrested for propaganda and sentenced to exile three times. The most notable of his novels include Scarlet Sails (1923) perhaps the most famous of Grin’s works, The Shining World (1923), The Golden Chain (1925), She Who Runs on the Waves (1928), Jessie and Morgiana (1929) and The Road to Nowhere (1930). Grin died of cancer, in poverty, at age 51 and his work was heavily censured by the communist party, but he remains a beloved literary figure in Russia. There are three museums dedicated to his legacy and every May 25 he is remembered in the graduation holiday “Scarlet Sails” (Aliye Parusa), considered one of the most beautiful holiday spectacles in Russia.

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