Biography of Fonvizin

Biography of Fonvizin

Fonvizin Denis Ivanovich – Russian writer, playwright, publicist, translator, representative of Russian classicism, the creator of the national household comedy. The author of the famous play “Nedorosl”.

Childhood and Education

Denis Ivanovich Fonvizin was born April 3, 1745 in Moscow in a noble family, which originated from the Livonian knightly clan. Primary education the future writer received at home. In the family of Fonvizin reigned patriarchal situation.

Since 1755, Denis Ivanovich studied in the nobiliary gymnasium at the University in Moscow, then at the Philosophy Faculty of Moscow University. In 1760 Fonvizin, among the “selected students”, left for St. Petersburg, where he met Lomonosov and Sumarokov.

The beginning
of the creative path

Since the 1760s Denis Ivanovich created his first works. The early work of Fonvizin was marked by an acute satirical orientation. In 1760, the so-called “early” Nedorosl was published in the Literary Succession. “In 1761, Fonvizin translated into Russian fables Holberg, in 1762 – the works of Terrasson, Voltaire, Ovid, Gresse, Rousseau.

Since 1762 Fonvizin works as an interpreter, and since 1763 – secretary of cabinet-minister Elagin in the college of foreign affairs. In 1769, Denis Ivanovich transferred to the service of Count Panin as a personal secretary.

In 1768, the writer creates a satirical comedy “Brigadier”. The play received a wide resonance and Fonvizina, whose biography was still unknown in the highest circles, was invited to Peterhof to read the work of the Empress Catherine II herself.

Government service. Mature creativity

From 1777 to 1778 Fonvizin stayed abroad, for a long time was in France. Returning in 1779 to Russia, Denis Ivanovich entered the service as an adviser to the Chancellery of the Secret Expedition. At the same time, the writer translates the book “Ta-Gio”. In 1783, Fonvizin creates one of the best works of Russian journalism – “Discourse on the indispensable state laws.”


1781, Denis Ivanovich took the place of the State Councilor. In 1782 he retired. In the autumn of the same year, the premiere of the most important work of the playwright – the comedy “Nedorosl” in St. Petersburg. In 1783 the play was staged in Moscow.

Disease. Last years

Since 1783, Denis Ivanovich travels to Europe, visits Italy, Germany, Austria. In 1785 the writer suffered a first apoplexy stroke. In 1787 Fonvizin returned to Russia.

In the last years of his brief biography Fonvizin suffered from a serious illness – paralysis, but did not stop to engage in literary activity. Despite the prohibition of Catherine II to publish a five-volume collection of works, Denis Ivanovich at that time creates a comedy “The Choice of a Tutor”, the feuilleton “Conversation with Princess Khaldina,” and works on the autobiography “Pure Recognition.”

December 1, 1792 Denis Ivanovich Fonvizin died. The writer was buried at the Lazarevsky cemetery of the Alexander Nevsky Lavra in St. Petersburg.

Interesting Facts
    During a trip to St. Petersburg in 1760, Fonvizin first attended the theatrical performance. It was Holberg’s play “Henry and Pernille.” What happened on the stage made an indelible impression on the writer, and he retained his passion for the theater for life. The success of the premiere of “Minor” during the premiere was so great that the audience, according to the custom at that time, threw the scene with purses with money. Fonvizin paid special attention to appearance, for which he was recognized as a dandy. The writer decorated clothes with fresh flowers, wore a sable coat and shoes with large buckles. Denis Ivanovich was married to Katerina Ivanovna Rogovikova, the daughter of a rich merchant.

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Biography of Fonvizin