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Nicholas J. L. Luker

Alexander Kuprin

Alexander Kuprin
This monograph in the Twayne series surveys the varied life and work of Kuprin, who with Chekhov and Gorky was one of the best-known Russian prose writers of the early 1900s. Beside his contemporaries he has received scant critical attention, and within the limits imposed by the series, this study with its bibliography aims to redress the balance.
Boston, G K Hall, USA 1978


  1. About the Author
  2. Preface
  3. Chronology
  4. Biography and Literary Beginnings
  5. Kiev Years
  6. Petersburg
  7. The Duel
  8. 1905 and After
  9. War and Revolution
  10. The Twilight Years
  11. Epilogue
  12. Notes and References
  13. Selected Bibliography


This book attempts what is well-nigh impossible. In some two hundred pages it surveys the life and work of Alexander Kuprin, whose writings in their most recent collected form run to well over four thousand pages. My task is the more difficult because there is no published study of Kuprin available in English. Therefore, this monograph aims to be as comprehensive as the limits of space stipulated for this series allow.

With Chekhov and Gorky, Kuprin was one of the best known Russian prose writers of the early 1900s. Time, however, has wrapped him in obscurity, and while his more famous contemporaries are well known in the West, Kuprin has received scant critical attention here. This study aims to redress the balance somewhat, by tracing the events of Kuprin's life and examining his writing, paying particular attention to Moloch (1896) and The Duel (1905), in Chapters 2 and 4 respectively. At the same time an effort has been made to examine Kuprin's work as a journalist, especially in his early years in Kiev, since this aspect of his career in particular suffers from critical neglect.

There is no complete edition of Kuprin's works. By far the best edition currently available is the recent nine-volume Sobranie sochinenii (Collected Works), published in Moscow from 1970 to 1973. It is to this edition that reference is made in the text of this study. Where more than one quotation is given from the same page, only the first carries a reference in the text. All translations from Kuprin's Russian are my own, as are those derived from Russian critical sources.

I wish to thank the many staff of Nottingham University Library for their kind assistance, and in particular Garth Terry and Glenis Pickering for their tireless help in obtaining research material from abroad. My thanks must also go to Dorothy Honniball. who typed my manuscript with such cheerful application and exemplary accuracy. To my wife Patricia I owe an inestimable debt of gratitude. Without her constant encouragement and unremitting selflessness this study would never have been possible.

Nicholas Luker
Nottingham. England

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