Zagoskin Mikhail Nikolayevich (1789 – 1852), prose writer, playwright.
Born July 14 (25 N. s.) In the village of Ramzai, Penza province in an old noble family. Childhood years passed in the parents’ estate, where there was a large library. I read a lot, preferring historical literature, and early showed interest in literary creation.
At the age of 13 he begins an independent life, determined by his father to serve as a petty official of the Petersburg Treasury, then until 1812 he changed his place of service several times, but did not make a career.
In 1812, having joined the militia, participated in the Patriotic War, served as an officer and in the battles near Polotsk was wounded in the leg. After the war he lived in his estate in the village of. Ramsay, where he wrote his first comedy “The Prankster” (1814), about which A. Shakhovskoy kindly responded, a member of the repertoire of the Directorate of the Imperial Theaters. Soon he wrote a new comedy “Lesson red tape”, staged in the theater and had success with the public.
In 1816 he marries, receives the post of an honorary librarian of the Imperial Public Library. The theatrical productions of Zagoskin’s comedies “The Provincial in the Capital” and “A Party of Scientists” are also a success. From 1817 he became a co-publisher of the journal “Northern Observer”, where he published his first prose
1818 – 20 – a fruitful period in his work: he writes several comedies, interludes, approaches the literary circle of the director of the public library A. Olenin (artist, historian, enlightened dignitary), dedicating to him the comedy “The Good Little”, which was compared at the time with “Sorrow of Wit” Griboyedov. Since 1823 he lives in Moscow, serves in the management of Moscow theaters, in 1831 appointed director of Moscow theaters.
In 1827 he again turned to prose and began work on the historical novel “Yuri Miloslavsky, or the Russians in 1612,” which brought him real fame and fame. A. Pushkin appreciated the novel. Of the subsequent historical novels, the most famous are “Roslavlev, or Russian in 1812” (1831), “Askold’s grave” (1833); the opera of the same name by A. Verstovsky in 1835). The creative activity of the writer does not weaken in the future: his pen belongs to collections of novels, short stories, historical novels. Shortly before his death, Zagoskin returned to the genre of comedy. He died on June 23 (July 5, current) in 1851 in Moscow. Buried at the Novodevichy Cemetery.
A short biography from the book: Russian writers and poets. A short biographical dictionary. Moscow, 2000.