- Leo Tolstoy (1828 – 1910)
- Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821 – 1881)
- Nikolai Gogol (1809 – 1852)
- Ivan Bunin (1870 – 1953)
- Alexander Pushkin (1799 – 1837)
- Anton Chekhov (1860 – 1904)
- Mikhail Bulgakov (1891 – 1940)
- Vladimir Nabokov (1899 – 1977)
- Ivan Turgenev (1818 – 1883)
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918 – 2008)
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy or most often known as Leo Tolstoy in the Anglophone world, remains one of the best writers of all time. He began his carrier as a novelist and short story writer, but later in life he also wrote some plays and essays. His most celebrated works include ‘War and Peace’ and ‘Anna Karenina’. During different phases of his life, Tolstoy lived paradoxically. In his last days, he left home and became an ascetic, but soon died of pneumonia.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, one of the greatest writers from Russia, wrote novels and short stories that explore aspects of human psychology. Graduated as a military engineer, he resigned in 1844 and joined a group of utopian socialists. He was later captured by the police and sent to Siberia. This is where the real writer was born. He described his time spent in the prison in three different novels,’ The House of Dead’, ‘The Insulted and the Injured,’ and ‘Winter Notes on Summer Impression’. Apart from this, his most famous work includes ‘The Idiot’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’.
The Ukrainian born dramatist, short story writer and novelist, Nicolai Gogol is best known for the portrayal of real life characters in all his writings. He started his writing career with short stories, and later got immensely fascinated with the history of Ukrainian. Ultimately he obtained all the requisite information from the department of history, Kiev University. Counted among one of the greatest Russian writers of all time, he also translated his learning later into a novel, Taras Bulba.
The first Russian writer to be awarded with the Nobel Prize for Literature, Ivan Bunin was rightly considered by many as the heir to the legacy of realism by Tolstoy and Anton Chekov. His mostly widely acclaimed work includes short novels ‘The Village’ and the ‘Dry Valley’. His autobiographical account given in the novel ‘The Life of Arseniev’ was another of his works that became legendary and still inspire people all around the globe.
Alexander Pushkin rocked the Russian literary scenes with this romantic poets and novels. His first poem came at the tender age of 15, and soon he became a famous name in the Russian literature corridors. Being an emotional and sensitive person, he often gave into fights and duels. His fought almost 27 duels during his life. It was during one such duel against Georges Charles, who was trying to seduce his wife, that he lost his life.
Anton Chekov, a physician by profession, was more inclined toward writing. He initially began to write only for financial gains but soon he became more ambitious about writing seriously, while also pursuing his medical practice. To the surprise of many, this shy lad, eventually conquered the world of short stories and even today his works are taught all over the globe.
One of the most controversial writers of his time, Mikhail Bulgakov, practiced medicine as early career but when he moved to Moscow, he discovered the writer in him and soon became famous for his satires on the social conditions of people in the Soviet Union. He displeased the administration with his work and that’s why all of his plays were banned, and his unpublished work confiscated.
Vladimir Nabokov, most famously known for his novel ‘Lolita’, wrote in both Russian and English. His first 9 novels were in Russian, thereafter, he became more popular around the world, and so started writing novels in English. He wrote Lolita in English, and only after its huge success in Paris, he translated the book in Russian. One of the most seemingly controversial, and out of line novels, Lolita eventually attained the status of a classic and presented Nabokov as one of the greatest Russian writers of all time.
A contemporary with Leo Tolstoy and Alexander Pushkin, Ivan Turgenev remains widely acclaimed for his novel ‘Father and Sons’. He was also a short story writer and play writer. One of his most cherished short story collections is ‘Sportsman’s Collection’. Initially his work, Father and Son was denounced by people in Russia, which also led to his leaving the country, but today, it is considered as one of the best classics of all time.
Historian, novelist, and dramatist, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, was a Russian writer who created awareness about the Gulag, the Soviet Union government agency that administered the labor camps, and the suppression of people living in such camps throughout the Soviet Union. Two of his most famous works include ‘The Gulag Archipelago’ and ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’.