(1817 – 1903)
Sukhovo-Kobylin Alexander Vasilyevich (1817 – 1903), playwright, prose writer.
Born September 17 (29 N. p.) In Moscow in an old noble family. Received a good home education.
At age 17, he entered the Moscow University at the Physics and Mathematics Department of the Faculty of Philosophy. In his student years he became acquainted with A. Herzen and N. Ogarev, K. Aksakov, became friends with them. He was fond of theater. In 1838 he graduated from the university and continued his education in Germany.
For four years he studied philosophy at the Berlin and Heidelberg universities, showing a special interest in the philosophy of Hegel.
In 1850, a long, seven-year process begins, during which Sukhovo-Kobylin was twice imprisoned. He was suspected of murdering his mistress, Frenchwoman Louise Simon-Demansch. The investigation could not prove his guilt, but the murderer was not found, the case was terminated, but rumors and gossip pursued the writer all his life.
After all the experiences associated with bureaucratic arbitrariness and the judicial process, Sukhovo-Kobylin turned to literary activity. In 1852 – 54 the first play was written – the comedy “The Wedding of Krechinsky”, the main theme of which was the moral degradation of the nobility, and the name of Rasplyuev “… it was done… by the same name”.
In 1856 – 61 he worked on the satirical drama “Delo”, in which many details of the author’s trial were reproduced. Censorship did not let this play on stage for more than 20 years.
In 1869 he finished the last play of the trilogy – “The Death of Tarelkin”, in which the object of satirical exposure was the main support of the state – the police. This play has been banned by censorship for more than 30 years.
After the completion of this work, Sukhovo-Kobylin took up philosophy: he translated Hegel, wrote his own “philosophy of Vsegomira.”
In recent years he wrote two satirical pamphlets, for the stage not intended: “Quartet” and “Solemn agreement of the priest with the world…”.
Died Sukhovo-Kobylin March 11 (24 N. p.) 1903 in Beaulieu (France).
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.