Olga's Gallery

Nikolai Karamzin


Nikolai Mikhailovich Karamzin (1766-1826) - Russian writer, poet, translator, and historian. Born into the provincial gentry, Karamzin studied in Moscow and spent most of his life in that city. His enthusiasm for England and English literature was immense, he translated into Russian Shakespeare, Milton, Young, and Thomson. In 1781-1784, he was in military service, in 1789-1791 traveled abroad and in 1791 started publishing  his first novel The Letters of a Russian Traveler (1790-1792), in which he described his disillusionment with the English and their 'sluggish blood', but his fascination with English eccentricity. He wrote  several novels, including Poor Lisa (1792), which was very popular. From 1809, he studied old Russian chronicles and started to write his great work History of Russia (1816-1829), which became a manual for many following generations of Russians. His influence on Russian literature and language was considerable. He modernized literary Russian language, made it closer to the spoken language.
See: Vasily Tropinin. Portrait of the Writer and Historian N. M. Karamzin

    Alexey Venetsianov. Portrait of Nikolay Karamzin.

Poor Lisa is the main character of a sentimental novel by Karamzin. Lisa, a girl from a common family, was seduced by a gentleman. When he left her for an advantageous marriage, she committed suicide.
See: Orest Kiprensky Poor Lisa

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