Aleksandr Ivanovich Kuprin (Russian: Александр Иванович Куприн; 7 September [O.S. 26 August] 1870 – 25 August 1938) was a Russian writer best known for his novels The Duel (1905) and The Pit, as well as Moloch (1896), Olesya (1898), “Junior Captain Rybnikov” (1906), “Emerald” (1907), and The Garnet Bracelet (1911) – the latter made into a 1965 movie.
Aleksandr Ivanovich Kuprin (Russian: Александр Иванович Куприн; 7 September [O.S. 26 August] 1870 – 25 August 1938) was a Russian writer best known for his novels The Duel (1905) and The Pit, as without difficulty as Moloch (1896), Olesya (1898), “Junior Captain Rybnikov” (1906), “Emerald” (1907), and The Garnet Bracelet (1911) – the latter made into a 1965 movie.
Alexandr Kuprin was born in Narovchat, Penza, to Ivan Ivanovich Kuprin, a government qualified in Penza Governorate. and Liubov Alekseyevna Kuprina, née Kulunchakova. His father was Russian, his mommy belonged to a noble Volga Tatar associates who had at a loose end most of their loads during the 19th century. Alexandr had two sisters, Sofia (1861–1922) and Zinaida (1863–1934).
In 1871 Ivan Kuprin, aged 37, died of cholera, and three years far ahead Alexander following his mother moved into the Widows’ Home in Kudrino, Moscow, a become old reflected in his tale “A White Lie” (1914). In 1876 he entered the Razumovsky boarding school, which caused him a lot of what he later referred to as ‘childhood grievances’, but then brought approximately his riotous plants and made him popular among peers as Good storyteller.
In 1880, inspired by Russia’s victory in the Russo-Turkish War, Kuprin enrolled into the Second Moscow Military High School, turned into the Cadet Corps in 1882. Several of Kuprin’s autobiographical stories, like “At the Turning Point” (1900), “The River of Life” (1906) and “Lenochka” (1910), refer to this period. “The memory of the birching at the Cadet Corps stayed similar to me for the descend of my life,” he wrote not long before his death. Yet it was there that he develop an engagement in literature and started to write poetry. Most of his thirty young person poems date from 1883 to 1887, the four years when he was in the Cadet Corps. During this grow old Kuprin as well as made several translations of foreign verse (among them Béranger’s “Les Hirondelles” and Heine’s “Lorelei”). According to the scholar Nicholas Luker, “perhaps the most interesting of Kuprin’s to the fore poems is the political piece “Dreams”, written upon 14 April 1887, the morning before sentence was passed upon the terrorists who had plotted to assassinate Alexander III in March of that year.”
In the autumn of 1888, Kuprin left the Cadet Corps to enter the Alexander Military Academy in Moscow. In the summer of 1890, he graduated from the Academy ranked sublieutenant and was posted to the 46th Dnieper Infantry Regiment (which he chose at random) stationed in Proskurov (now Khmelnitsky), where he spent the next-door four years.
In 1889 Alexander Kuprin met Liodor Palmin, an received poet who contracted for the notice in the Russian Satirical Leaflet of his debut sudden story “The Last Debut”, based on a real life incident, the suicide by poisoning upon stage of the singer Yevlalya Kadmina in 1881, a tragedy which furthermore inspired Ivan Turgenev’s tale “Clara Milich”. Some three years passed in the middle of the ventilate of “The Last Debut” and the statement of his second tale “Psyche” in December 1892. Like “On a Moonlit Night” which followed it, the fragment showed the aberrations of a deranged mind, investigating the skinny line amid fantasy and reality.
Kuprin’s few years of military service wise saying the message of a curt novel In the Dark (1893) and several quick stories, mostly the artful studies of unusual states of mind (“A Slav Soul”, “Madness” and “The Forgotten Kiss”, all 1894). Only “The Inquiry” (1894), his first message to madden critical comment, was concerned in imitation of the army, starting a series of Russian army-themes rapid stories: “A Place to Sleep” (1897), “The Night-shift” (1899), “Praporshchik” (1897), “The Mission” (1901) which finally resulted in his most well-known work, The Duel. Apart from his growing dissatisfaction in the circulate of army life, the pronouncement of “The Enquiry” was probably the major explanation for Kuprin’s resignation in the summer of 1894. “There can be no doubt that the vent of such a work, written by an supervisor and signed subsequently his full name, would have had unpleasant consequences for him,” Luker argues.
After retiring from the service, without any definite plans for the future, or “any knowledge, academic or practical” (according to “Autobiography”), Kuprin embarked upon a five-year-long trip through the South-West of the country. He tried many types of job, including dental care, land surveying, acting, being a circus performer, psalm singer, doctor, hunter, fisher, etc., all of these taking into account reflected in his fiction. All the though he was engaged in self-education and entrÐ¹e a lot, Gleb Uspensky once his sketches becoming his favorite author.
In summer 1894 Kuprin arrived in Kiev and by September had begun lively for local newspapers Kievskoe Slovo (Kiev Word), Zhizn i Iskusstvo (Life and Art), and later Kievlianin. The qualities valuable for a good journalist, he believed, were “mad courage, audacity, breadth of view, and amazing memory,” gifts he himself possessed in full measure. While upon frequent journeys to Russia’s Southwest he contributed for newspapers in Novocherkassk, Rostov-on-Don, Tsaritsyn, Taganrog and Odessa.
Alongside feuilletons and archives Kuprin wrote small sketches, investigating particular environments, or portraying people of specific occupations or circumstances, gathered well ahead into a collection. March 1896 saw the publication of eight such sketches in a small edition entitled Kiev Types, Kuprin’s first book. In October 1897 his second collection Miniatures came out, one of his best known circus stories, “Allez!”, earning high compliment from Leo Tolstoy. In 1905 Kuprin described Miniatures as his “first childish steps along the road of literature”; they extremely marked a supplementary stage in his maturing as a writer, as capably as his “Industrial Sketches” made in 1896–1899 after his visit to the Donbass region.
In 1896 Russkoye Bogatstvo published Moloch, Kuprin’s first major work, a critique of the hurriedly growing Russian capitalism and a reflection of the growing industrial unrest in the country. Since after that only twice did he briefly returned to the theme, in “A Muddle” (1897) and “In the Bowels of the Earth” (1899). “On this basis one is tempted to conclude that his thing for the industrial worker in Moloch was little more than a passing phase,” Luker opines.
In 1897 Kuprin travelled to Volhynia to undertaking there as land manager, then went to Polesye area in Southern Belorussia where he helped to mount up makhorka. “There I absorbed my most vigorous, noble, extensive, and fruitful impressions… and came to know the Russian language and landscape,” he remembered in 1920. Three stories of his unfinished “Polesye Cycle” – “The Backwoods”, much acclaimed adore piece Olesya and “The Werewolf”, a horror story, – were published between 1898 and 1901. Moloch and Olesya did much to encourage Kuprin build his researcher reputation. In September 1901 Viktor Mirolyubov, the editor of Zhurnal Dlya Vsekh, invited Kuprin to belong to this popular Petersburg monthly, and in December he moved to the capital.
In Petersburg Kuprin found himself in the middle of Russian cultural life. He became connections with Anton Chekhov whom he regularly corresponded with up until the latter’s death in 1904, often seeking his advice. Kuprin’s friendship like Ivan Bunin would last not far-off off from forty years, continuing in emigration. Another important figure for Kuprin was the scholar and critic Fyodor Batyushkov of Mir Bozhiy; the 150 letters that are extant represent a pubescent part of their huge correspondence. Later Kuprin expressed much gratitude to Viktor Mirolyubov who, as well as Maxim Gorky, exerted strong influence upon his career.
In 1901 Kuprin joined the Moscow Sreda (Wednesday) literary activity which was founded in 1899 by Nikolay Teleshov and united mostly the young realist writers, among whom were Gorky, Bunin, and Leonid Andreyev. In February 1902 Kuprin married Maria Karlovna Davydova, the adopted daughter of Alexandra Davydova, the editor of Mir Bozhy. The latter died that same year, Maria Karlovna took greater than the revelation and soon Kuprin left Zhurnal Dlya Vsekh to head the fiction section of the magazine that his wife was now editing.
In February 1903 the Gorky-founded Znanye (Knowledge) published the amassing of eight tales by Kuprin, among them “The Enquiry” and Moloch. Leo Tolstoy praised the stock for its colorful language, and critics were around unanimous in their approbation, pointing to Kuprin’s closeness in themes and technique to Chekhov and Gorky. Angel Bogdanovich of Mir Bozhy (who in 1897 had written unflatteringly of Moloch) now praised Kuprin’s compact style and his expertise to convey a feeling of effervescent joie de vivre. Gorky himself, writing to Teleshov in March 1903, ranked Kuprin a third Russian author, next to Chekhov and Andreyev.
Despite his hypothetical success, Kuprin’s first years in Petersburg were stressful. His employment taking into consideration the magazine left him Tiny time for his own writing, and next his play a part did appear in Mir Bozhy, rumour had it that he owed his triumph to his family connections. “Life is hard: scandal, gossip, envy, hatred … I feel no question lonely and sad,” he confessed to one of his Kiev friends in a letter.
Kuprin wrote less surrounded by 1902 and 1905 than he had in the provinces but, according to Luker, “if the sum of his writing was reduced – some twenty tales in all – its air was incomparably higher… More alive now of the blatant contrasts prevalent in Russian society, he turned his attention to the plight of the ‘little man’ thus bearing in mind the best traditions of Russian literature.” Among the noticeable stories were “At the Circus” (1902) praised by Chekhov and Tolstoy, “The Swamp” (1902), linked thematically in the same way as the Polesye cycle and “The Jewess” (1904), demonstrating Kuprin’s technical sympathy for this put out minority in Russian organization at the times considering pogroms were regular occurrences in the Russian South West. Other themes of Kuprin’s prose of this period improve hypocrisy (“A silent Life”, 1904; “Good Company”, 1905), bigotry (“Measles”, 1904) and the degeneration of the idle class (“The High Priest”, 1905).
In 1904 Kuprin started practicing on The Duel. This novel, conceived in his second year in the army, and commenting upon the “horror and tedium of army life,” was published on 3 May 1905. The introduction of this novel was a cathartic experience for Kuprin. “I must pardon myself from the heavy misfortune of impressions accumulated by my years of military service. I will call this novel The Duel, because it will be my duel … with the tsarist army. The army cripples the soul, destroys anything a man’s finest impulses, and debases human dignity… I have to write about all I have known and seen. And next my novel I shall challenge the tsarist army to a duel,” he informed his wife in a letter.
The Duel became the educational sensation of the year in Russia. In 1905 some 45.5 thousand copies were sold, a immense number for the prematurely 1900s. The controversy this novel caused continued until 1917. Critics of the left welcomed The Duel as “another nail in the coffin of autocracy,” while their conservative counterparts condemned it as “perfidious assault on the ruling order.” One commissioner even challenged Kuprin to a duel through a Petersburg paper, while a action of twenty officers sent Kuprin a letter in 1905, expressing their gratitude. The Duel, according to Luker, marked “the summit of Kuprin’s career… assuring him immortality in the annals of Russian literature.”
After the 1905 Revolution Kuprin became openly necessary of the regime. He customary links considering sailors of the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, and even attempted to enlist on the battleship Potyomkin, which mutinied in June 1905. Regarded as politically unreliable, he was put under secret police surveillance. In “Events in Sevastopol” he described the destruction of the cruiser Ochakov, which Kuprin witnessed in Balaklava. His far ahead tale “The Caterpillar” (1918) reveals that he helped to rescue several sailors who escaped from the afire cruiser. The Black Sea Fleet commander, Admiral Grigory Chukhnin, generally seen as answerable for the tragedy, ordered Kuprin to depart Sevastopol within 48 hours and instituted authenticated proceedings for defamation. In June 1906 Chukhnin was assassinated, but the combat was not closed and two years superior in Zhitomir Kuprin was sentenced to a fine and ten days’ house arrest.
Among his greater than before known stories of the mid-1900s were “Dreams”, “The Toast”, “Art” and “The Murderer”, the latter taking on the issue of use foul language that swept over Russia at the time. “Junior Captain Rybnikov” (1906) which told the tale of a Japanese spy posing as a Russian officer, was praised by Gorky. Much discussed were “An Insult” (1906) and “Gambrinus” (1907), an emotional summation of many motifs of his writing after 1905, echoing the declamatory declare of “Events in Sevastopol”, according to Luker.
From 1905 onwards, Kuprin once more became engaged in numerous non-literary fields. He put himself lecture to as an elector to the first State Duma for the city of Petersburg. In 1909–1910, he made an let breathe balloon flight similar to a renowned sportsman Sergey Utochkin, then ventured into the Black Sea depths as a diver and accompanied the airman Ivan Zaikin in his airplane trips. In 1907, he divorced his first wife and married Yelizaveta Geinrikh (1882–1943), who in 1908 gave birth to their daughter Ksenia.
In 1908, Kuprin connection with Gorky deteriorated and he quit Znanye. The similar year saying the notice of “Seasickness”, the curt story telling of the rape of a Social Democrat heroine and showing her chaotic husband in an unfavorable light, which Gorky regarded as a deliberate slur on the Russian Socialists. Among Kuprin’s supplementary works of the era are “Emerald” (1907), the most famous of his animal stories, “Sulamith” (1908), an ode to ‘eternal love’ closely based upon The Song of Songs, autobiographical “Lenochka” (1910), and The Garnet Bracelet (1911), his famous ‘doomed romanticism’ novella where hopeless adore finds its quietly tragic apotheosis. The Lestrigons (1907–11), a set of sketches upon the fishermen of Balaklava, provided a lyrical paean to the simple life and an epic worship of the virtues of its easy folk. In October 1909, Kuprin was awarded the Pushkin Prize, jointly considering Bunin.
In 1908, Kuprin started committed on The Pit, his most ambitious and controversial work. The first portion of this novelistic laboratory analysis of prostitution appeared in 1909, the second in 1914, and the third in 1915. Part I, as it came out, provoked widespread controversy, parts II and III were met with a propos universal indifference. Kuprin, who could not decide, apparently, whether his novel should be a documentary or fiction, either oscillated amid the two or attempted to add up them in an precious way. “He is more well-to-do when in documentary vein, and thus Part I, with its details of dynamism in the brothel, is by far the best,” argues Luker. The novel was criticized by some Russian critics and authors (Leo Tolstoy in the middle of them) for excessive naturalism; among those who admired it was the teenager Nina Berberova.
The Pit was Kuprin’s last major work, and to many, it signaled the fade away of his creativity. His best-known 1912–1914 stories are “Black Lightning” and “Anathema”, while his visit to the South of France together with April and July 1912 gave rise to “The Cote d’Azur”, the twenty sketches forming a cycle of travel impressions. In 1911 he moved his relations to Gatchina, near Saint Petersburg.
As World War I broke out, Kuprin opened a military hospital in his Gatchina home, then visited towns upon the Western front. Towards the fade away of 1914 he appealed through the press for grant for the wounded, and in December rejected the idea of celebrating the 25th anniversary of his speculative career. As a superiority officer, he was called happening in November 1914, and commanded an infantry company in Finland till May 1915, when he was discharged upon grounds of sick health. That was the reason why he could not become a act correspondent, a career he aspired to during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905. Among his few stories that reflected the war, most notable were his satires (“Goga Veselov”, “The Cantaloups”, “Daddy”, “Grunya”), taking swipe at the cynics who were making fortunes upon the nation’s grievances.
The February Revolution found Kuprin in Helsinki, where he had gone on medical advice. Returning to Gatchina, he expressed his quickness at the collapse of tsarism in a series of articles and in May started editing the Socialist Revolutionary Party’s newspaper Svobodnaia Rossiya (Free Russia), contributing as a consequence to Volnost (Freedom) and Petrogradskii Listok (The Petrograd Leaflet). While friendly the freedom brought by the February Revolution, he foresaw the excesses that new upheaval might bring and warned neighboring Russia’s plunging into an orgy of bloodshed.
The October Revolution did Tiny to clarify Kuprin’s diplomatic position. In the articles, he contributed to various papers till mid-1918 – Petrogradskoe Ekho (Petrograd Echo), Vecherneye Slovo (Evening Word), and Zaria (Dawn) among them, – his attitude to the supplementary regime remained ambivalent. He ascribed the historical significance of the Bolshevik Revolution and admired Lenin as “an honest and courageous man,” stating that “Bolshevism constitutes a great, pure, disinterested doctrine that is inevitable for mankind.” Still, while vigorous for a brief time in the tell of Maxim Gorky at the World Literature publishing company, he criticized prodrazverstka and the policy of the War Communism, arguing that the Bolsheviks threatened Russian culture, and that their insufficient knowledge of the country had brought pain to peasants. In June 1918, Kuprin was arrested for a rapid time for an article in the paper Molva (Rumor) critical of the regime. One of his 1918 stories (“The Caterpillar”) praised the heroism of women revolutionaries, another (“The Ghost of Gatchina”) was an anti-Bolshevik parable of the despotism of Russia’s additional masters.
In the fade away of 1918, Kuprin drew in the works elaborate plans for Zemlia (Land), a paper designed especially for the peasantry. His proposed program lively assisting the government in the ahead of its time transformation of rural life along lines not conflicting behind the principles of communism. Supported by Gorky and recognized by Lenin who met Kuprin on 25 December 1918, the project remained unrealized.
On 16 October 1919, Gatchina was taken by the White Army led by General Nikolai Yudenich. For a fortnight Kuprin was editing Prinevsky Krai (Neva Country), a paper published by Yudenich’s army headquarters. In October, as the Whites retreated westward, Kuprin traveled afterward them to Yamburg, where he united his wife and daughter. Via Narva, the intimates reached Revel in Estonia, and in December left for Finland. After half a year in Helsinki, they sailed for France, arriving in Paris in in advance July 1920.
The next seventeen years in Paris proverb the subside of Kuprin’s creativity and his succumbing to alcoholism. Grieved at his unfriendliness from Russia, he became lonely and withdrawn. The family’s poverty made the thing worse. “I am left naked … and destitute as a homeless passÐ¹ dog,” Kuprin wrote to Ivan Zaikin, an old friend. All this total to hinder his writing. “The more intelligent a man is, the harder is for him energy without Russia,” Kuprin told a reporter in 1925.
Kuprin’s nostalgia explains the retrospective atmosphere of his accomplishment in emigration. He returned to familiar themes from his earlier writing and dwelled on personal experiences linking him taking into consideration the homeland he has lost. His visit to southwest France in 1925 inspired “Crimson Blood” (1926), a luminous account of a bullfight in Bayonne, followed in 1927 by “The Blessed South”, four sketches upon Gascony and the Hautes Pyrenees. Then came the predominantly urban sketches made in Yugoslavia, the result of Kuprin’s visit to Belgrade in 1928 to attend a conference of the Russian writers in emigration. The three major works of Kuprin’s Parisian years were The Wheel of Time (13 sketches styled as a novel, 1929), autobiographical The Junkers (1932), and romantic “Jeannette” (1933), describing an elderly professor’s affection for a little woman in his neighborhood.
By 1930, Kuprin’s intimates was in poverty and debt. His theoretical fees were meager, heavy drinking dogged his Parisian years, after 1932 his sight began to deteriorate, and his handwriting became impaired. His wife’s attempts to avow a book-binding shop and a library for émigrés were financial disasters. A compensation to the Soviet Union offered the only answer to Kuprin’s material and psychological difficulties. In late 1936 he finally arranged to apply for a visa. On 29 May 1937, seen off forlorn by their daughter, the Kuprins left the Gare du Nord for Moscow. On 31 May they were met there by representatives of writers’ organizations and installed in the Metropole Hotel. In in front June they moved to a dacha owned by the Soviet Union of Writers at Golitsyno, outside Moscow, where Kuprin customary medical attention and rested till the winter. In mid-December he and his wife moved to an apartment in Leningrad.
Years in Paris had broken his health and transformed him into an antiquated man. The tragic fiddle with was noticed by the writer Nikolay Teleshov, his buddy of the forward 1900s. Visiting Kuprin shortly after his arrival, Teleshov found him confused, rambling, and pathetic. “He left Russia … physically extremely robust and strong,” he wrote later, “but returned an emaciated. … feeble, weak-willed invalid. This was no longer Kuprin – that man of outstanding talent – it was something… weak, sad, and visibly dying.” Later Bunin insisted that Kuprin’s role was purely passive: “He did not add Russia – he was taken there, very ill, already in his second childhood,” he wrote.
Kuprin’s compensation earned declaration of his works within the Soviet Union, but he wrote very nearly nothing other after that. In June 1937, to mark the first anniversary of Gorky’s death in June, Izvestiya published Kuprin’s “Fragments of Memoirs”. In October the sketch “My Native Moscow” came out. The writer’s general admission to what was happening as regards him was far-off from euphoric. In her account of Kuprin’s last months, the writer Lydia Nord painted a portray of a disillusioned archaic man who felt he was a stranger in his original country.
In January 1938 Kuprin’s health deteriorated. By July his condition was grave; already misfortune from a kidney sickness and sclerosis, he had now developed cancer of the oesophagus. Surgery did little to help. Alexander Kuprin died upon 25 August 1938, and was interred in Volkovo Cemetery’s Literaturskiye Mostki (Literary Bridge) in Leningrad two days later.