Kuprin Alexander Ivanovich (1870-1938) the prose writer.
Alexander Ivanovich Kuprin is a talented writer of the early twentieth century.
Kuprin was born in the village of Narovchatov in the Penza region in the family of a clerk.
The eventful life of Kuprin, his diverse creativity – all this was an extremely complicated picture. Its fate is astonishing and tragic: early orphanhood (father died when the boy was a
year), continuous seventeen-year retreat in state institutions (orphanage, military gymnasium, cadet corps, cadet school).
But gradually Kuprin has a dream to become a “poet or novelist.” There are poems written by him at the age of 13-17 years. The years of military service in the province gave Kuprin the opportunity to learn the everyday life of the tsarist army, which he subsequently described in many works. In the story “In the Dark,” the stories “Psyche”, “Moonlit Night” written in these years, still dominate the artificial plots. One of the first works based on personally experienced and seen, was a story from the army’s life “From a remote past” (“Inquiry”) (1894).
From the “Inquiry” begins a chain of works by Kuprin associated with the life of the Russian army and gradually leading to the “Duel”: “Overnight” (1897), “Night shift” (1899), “Ensign Army”
In August 1894, Kuprin retired and went on a pilgrimage to the south of Russia. At Kiev docks discharges barges with watermelons, in Kiev organizes an athletic society, in 1896, several months working at a plant in Donbas, in Volhynia serves as a forest observer, estate manager, a psalmist, engaged in dental work, plays in a provincial troupe, works as a land surveyor, with circus performers. Kuprin’s observations are supplemented by persistent self-education and reading. It was during these years that Kuprin became a professional writer, gradually publishing his works in various newspapers.
In 1896 the novel “Moloch” was printed, based on the Donetsk impressions. The main theme of this story – the theme of Russian capitalism, Moloch, – sounded unusually new and significant. The author tried, with the help of allegory, to express the idea of the inhumanity of an industrial revolution. Almost to the end of the story, workers are shown as patient
victims of Moloch, very often they are compared with children. And the result of the story is natural – an explosion, a black wall of workers against the background of a flame. These images were designed to convey the idea of popular revolt. The story “Moloch” became a landmark work not only for Kuprin, but also for all Russian literature.
In 1898, the novel “Olesya” is printed – one of the first works in which Kuprin appears before the readers as a great artist of love. In the work of the writer, the theme of a beautiful, wild and majestic nature, close to him, firmly belongs. The tender, magnanimous love of the forest “witch” Olesya is contrasted with the timidity and indecisiveness of her beloved, “urban” person. (See “Olesya”).
In St. Petersburg journals, Kuprin publishes stories “The Swamp” (1902), The Horse-thieves (1903), The White Poodle (1904), etc. In the heroes of these stories, the author admires steadfastness, fidelity in friendship, incorruptible dignity of ordinary people.
In 1905 the novel “Duel” dedicated to M. Gorky was published. Kuprin wrote to Gorky: “
Attention to all manifestations of the living, the vigilance of observations is distinguished by Kuprin’s stories about animals: “Emerald” (1907), “Starlings” (1906), “Zaviraika” (1906), “Yu-yu”. About love that illuminates human life, Kuprin writes in the stories “Sulamith” (1908), “Garnet Bracelet” (1911), depicting the vivid passion of the biblical beauty of Sulamith and the gentle, hopeless and self-sacrificing feeling of the little official Zheltkov. (See “Garnet Bracelet”).
Variety of subjects told Kuprin his life experience. He ascends a balloon, in 1910 he makes a flight on one of the first airplanes in Russia, studies diving and sinks to the seabed, is proud of his friendship with the Balaklava fishermen. All this adorns the pages of his works with bright colors, the spirit of healthy romance. The heroes of Kuprin’s stories and stories are people of the most diverse classes and social groups of tsarist Russia, ranging from capitalists-millionaires and ending with tramps and beggars. Kuprin wrote “about all and for all” …
The writer spent many years in exile. He heavily paid for this mistake of life – paid a cruel yearning for his homeland and creative decline.
“The more talented a person is, the harder it is for him without Russia,” he writes in one of his letters. However, in 1937 Kuprin returned to Moscow. He publishes an essay “Moscow native”, he has new creative plans. But Kuprin’s health was undermined, and in August 1938 he was no more.