(1882 – 1969)
Chukovsky Kornei Ivanovich, real name Korneichukov Nikolai Vasilyevich (1882 – 1969), poet, prose writer, translator.
Born March 19 (31 N. s.) In St. Petersburg. When he was three years old, his parents divorced, he stayed with his mother. Lived in the south, in poverty. He studied at the Odessa gymnasium, of the fifth grade which was expelled, when, under a special decree, educational institutions were “released” from children of “low” background.
From his youthful years he led a working life, read a lot, studied English and French with his self-taught. In 1901 he began to publish in the newspaper “Odessa News”, as a correspondent which was in 1903 sent to London. For a year he lived in England, studied English literature, wrote about it in the Russian press. After his return, he settled in St. Petersburg, engaged in literary criticism,
In 1905 he organized a weekly satirical magazine “Signal” (financed by his singer of the Bolshoi Theater L. Sobinov), where cartoons and poems of anti-government content were placed. The journal was repressed for “reproaching the existing order,” the publisher was sentenced to six months in prison.
After the 1905-1907 revolution, Chukovsky’s critical essays appeared in various publications, later they were collected in the books From Chekhov to Our Days (1908), Critical Stories (1911), Faces and Masks (1914), and others.
In 1912 settled in the Finnish town of Kuokkola, where he made friends with I. Repin, V. Korolenko, L. Andreev, A. Tolstoy, V. Mayakovsky and others.
Later he will write memoirs and art books about these people. The many-sided nature of Chukovsky’s interests was expressed in his literary activity: he issues translations from W. Whitman, studies literature for children, children’s verbal creativity, works on the legacy of N. Nekrasov, his favorite poet. He published the book “Nekrasov as an Artist” (1922), a collection of articles “Nekrasov” (1926), a book “The Skill of Nekrasov” (1952).
In 1916, at the invitation of Gorky, Chukovsky directed the children’s department of the publishing house Parus and began writing for children: the poetic fairy tale Crocodile (1916), Moydodyr (1923), Mukha-zokotukha (1924), Barmaley (1925) , “Aibolit” (1929), and others.
Chukovsky owns a whole series of books on the skill of translation: “Principles of artistic translation” (1919), “The art of translation” (1930, 1936), “High art” (1941, 1968). In 1967 the book “About Chekhov” was published.
In the last years of his life he appeared with articles-essays about Zoshchenko, B. Zhitkov, A. Akhmatova, B. Pasternak and many others.
At the age of 87 K. Chukovsky died October 28, 1968 in Kuntsevo. He was buried in Peredelkino, where he lived for many years.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.