(Born 1799, Died 1837)
Aleksandr Pushkin is, by common agreement -- at least among his own compatriots -- the greatest of all Russian writers. The major part of his lyrical poetry was written between 1820 and 1830, but some of his poetical masterpieces were composed in the last seven years of his life, when he was turning his attention to prose. He cleverly crafted a masterful blend of the three main ingredients of the Russian literary idiom -- the Church Slovanic, the Western European borrowings, and the spoken vernacular. Pushkin created the language of modern Russian poetry. His personal life was made difficult by his conflicts with the authorities who disapproved of his liberal views.
Not surprisingly, he was killed in a duel.