(1855 – 1888)
Garshin Vsevolod Mikhailovich (1855 – 1888), prose writer, art critic, critic.
Born February 2 (14 N. p.) In the estate Pleasant Valley of Ekaterinoslav province in the officer’s family. Mother Garshin, “typical sixties,” interested in literature and politics, fluent in German and French, had a huge impact on her son. Zashadovsky, an activist of the revolutionary movement of the 1960s, was also the educator of Garshin. Later, Garshin’s mother would leave for him and accompany him to exile. This family drama affected the health and attitude of Garshin.
He studied at the gymnasium (1864 – 1874), where he began to write, imitating the “Iliad”, then “Notes of the hunter” I. Turgenev. During these years he was fond of natural sciences, which was facilitated by his friendship with A. Gerd, a talented teacher and popularizer of natural science. On his advice, Garshin goes to the Mining Institute, but listened with interest only to D. Mendeleyev’s lectures.
In 1876 he began to publish – an essay “The Genuine History of the Ensk Zemsky Assembly” written in a satirical spirit. Approaching the young artists of the Wanderers, he wrote a number of articles on painting, presented at art exhibitions. With the outbreak of the Russo-Turkish war, Garshin volunteered for the active army, participated in the Bulgarian campaign, impressions from which formed the basis for the stories “Four Days” (1877), “Very Short Novel” (1878), “Coward” (1879) and others In the battle of Aiaslar, he was wounded, treated in a hospital, then was sent home. After receiving an annual leave, Garshin goes to Petersburg with the intention of engaging in literary activity. Six months later,...he was promoted to the army, after the war he was fired into the reserve (1878).
In September, he became an auditor of the history and philology faculty of St. Petersburg University.
In 1879 the stories “Meeting” and “Artists” were written, posing the problem of choosing the path for the intelligentsia (the way of enrichment or full of hardships the way of serving the people).
The “revolutionary” terror of the late 1870s Garshin did not accept, events related to this, perceived very sharply. It became increasingly obvious that the Narodnik methods of the revolutionary struggle were untenable. In the story “Night” was expressed the tragic attitude of this generation.
In the early 1870s Garshin became mentally ill. In 1880, after an unsuccessful attempt to stand up for the revolutionary Mlodetsky and the ensuing execution, which shocked the writer, his illness worsened, and about two years he was in a psychiatric hospital. Only in May 1882 he returned to Petersburg, restoring his composure. He publishes an essay “Petersburg Letters” containing deep reflections on St. Petersburg as the “spiritual homeland” of the Russian intelligentsia. Enters the civil service. In 1883 he married the
N. Zolotilova, who worked as a doctor. He considers this period to be the happiest in life. Writes his best story “Red Flower”. But in 1887 another severe depression sets in: he is forced to quit his service, family quarrels between his wife and mother began-all this led to a tragic outcome. Garshin committed suicide on April 5, 1888. He was buried in Petersburg.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.