Biographies Russian Writers Nikolai Gumilyov

Nikolai Gumilyov

Born: 1886, Kronstadt
Died: 1921, Berngardovka (near Petrograd)

Poet, writer, playwright, critic, translator. Born in the town of Kronstadt on Kotlin Island (1886) in the family of naval physician Stepan Gumilyov (1836–1920) and Anna Lvova (1854–1942). Lived in St Petersburg (from 1895). Studied at the Tsarskoe Selo Grammar School (from 1903). Befriended Osip Mandelstam, Georgy Ivanov and Anna Akhmatova, who later became his wife (1910–18). Studied French, literature and painting in Paris (1906–08) and law, history and the arts at St Petersburg University (from 1908). Published poems, stories and articles in such periodicals as Libra, Spring and Russian Thought. Awarded his own column in Apollo (1910s), later forming the basis for his book Letters on Russian Poetry (1923). Founding member of the Guild of Poets (1911), a group of Acmeists who made their debut at the Stray Dog cabaret bar in St Petersburg (1912). Published the first Acmeist book An Alien Sky in St Petersburg (1912). Travelled across Africa and the orient. Donated his African collection to the Museum of Ethnography in St Petersburg (1913). Married Anna Engelhardt (1918). Lived in the House of Arts on the River Moika, one of the centres of intellectual life in Petrograd. Published a collection of poems on Africa (1921). Arrested in connection with the Professor Tagantsev conspiracy and imprisoned on Shpalernaya Street (1921). Executed near Berngardovka station and allegedly buried in the Kovalevsky Forest outside Petrograd (1921).

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