(1809 – 1868)
Kukolnik Nestor Vasilyevich (1809 – 1868), prose writer, playwright.
He was born on September 8 (20th century) in St. Petersburg in the family of a professor at the Petersburg Pedagogical Institute. He studied at the Nezhin High School, where his father in 1820 – 21 served as director. At the same time, N. Gogol studied here, with whom Kukolnik played in the gymnasium. Already in the gymnasium he began to write poetry and drama.
After graduating from the gymnasium in 1829, he was a teacher in the Vilnius gymnasium, later served in St. Petersburg, without leaving literary activity. In 1833, Kukolnik’s dramatic fantasy “Torquato Tasso” was published, which was a great success and brought him fame. Inspired by success, the puppeteer wrote historical plays: “The Hand of the Most High Fatherland Saved” (1834), “Prince Mikhail Vasilievich Skopin-Shuisky” (1835), “Roksolana” (1835), etc. Both plays and stories on themes from Italian life not only did not have success, but also provoked disapproval reviews of criticism, although there was a vivid poem by which these works were written.
His stories and stories dedicated to the epoch of Peter the Great (“Two Ivan, two Stepanych and two Kostylkovs”, 1844, “Sentry”, “New Year”, etc.) and contemporary Russian life (Nadinka, 1843) were the most popular.
The puppeteer in his works aspired to a genuine nationality. He succeeded in dramas “Ivan Ryabov…”, “Boyarin Fedor Basenok”. Belinsky wrote about the first of them: “… the dignity… is the language of the people, brought to the extreme perfection and – under the Russian speech lies the Russian mind, the Russian soul.” Nekrasov called the poems of the second drama “beautiful, and drama” brilliant “in comparison with the then Russian dramaturgy.
Kukolnik’s surroundings were well-known cultural figures, he was friendly with Bryullov, Aivazovsky, many actors, composers. A close friendship connected him with Glinka, who put some of his poems on music (“Doubt”, “Skylark”, “Passage song”, etc.). Died N. Kukolnik December 8 (20 N. p.) 1868.
A brief biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.