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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


1870 August 26: Alexander Ivanovich Kuprin born in Narovchat, Penza Province. Father minor official, mother descended from Tatar princes.

1871 Father, Ivan Ivanovich Kuprin, dies of cholera, aged thirty-seven.

1874 Moves with mother to Widows' Home in Moscow.

1876 Enters Razumovsky boarding school, a charitable institution.

1880 Enters Second Moscow Military High School (Cadet Corps).

1883 Begins first poems and translations.

1888 Leaves Cadet Corps. Enters Alexander Military Academy.

1889 First tale, "The Last Debut" published in Moscow paper.

1890 Leaves Academy to join infantry regiment in Proskurov, southwest Ukraine.

1890-1894 Army service in southwest Russia. Leaves army in summer of 1894. Tale "The Enquiry" published. Begins work on Kiev papers.

1896 First collection of tales, Kiev Types, published. Travels in South Russia, works in foundry in Donbass. Tale Moloch published.

1897 Meets Bunin in Odessa. Many casual jobs: bailiff, hunter, fisherman, psalm reader. In Kiev works as laborer, studies dentistry. Second collection. Miniatures, published.

1898 Visits forests in Ryazan Province. Publishes Olesya. Works as actor in Poltava Province and as prompter in Kiev.

1900 Meets Chekhov and Gorky in Yalta. Tale "At the Turning Point" published. Works as forest surveyor in Ryazan Province.

1901 Summer: meets V.S. Mirolyubov, editor of Petersburg Journal for All. Meets members of Wednesday circle in Moscow. December: joins Journal for All as head of fiction section.

1902 February: Marries Maria Karlovna Davydova (1881-1966), adopted daughter of editor of God's World. Leaves Journal for All. Visits Crimea. Meets Tolstoy in Yalta. Tales "The Swamp" and "At the Circus" published.

1903 Daughter Lidia born.

1904 Ceases editorial work for God's World. Begins intensive work on The Duel.

1905 May 3: The Duel published. Autumn: stays in Balaklava, Crimea; sees mutinous cruiser Ochakov shelled in Sevastopol. December: expelled from Balaklava for sketch "Events in Sevastopol".

1906 "The River of Life" and "Gambrinus" published. Travels widely: Crimea. Petersburg, Helsinki.

1907 March 31: divorced from first wife. December: moves to Gatchina near Petersburg.

1908 Publishes Sulamith. April 21: second daughter, Ksenia, born.

1909 September 17: marries Elizaveta Moritsovna Geinrikh (1882-1943). October: awarded Pushkin Prize jointly with Bunin. Third daughter, Zinaida, bom. Dies in infancy.

1910 June 14: mother dies.

1911 Buys house in Gatchina. Tale "The Bracelet of Garnets" and Black Sea cycle The Lestrigons published.

1912 Visits southern Europe: Nice, Marseille, Venice, Genoa. Livorno, Corsica.

1913 Publishes "Anathema" and travel sketches. Cote d'Azur.

1914 August: opens military hospital in Gatchina house. Visits front. November: called up as lieutenant. Seven months' service in Finland.

1915 April: declared unfit for further military service. June: last part of novel The Pit published.

1916 Lecture tour of Caucasus. Falls ill with malaria.

1917 Late February: returns to Gatchina. From May edits Socialist Revolutionary paper Free Russia for two months.

1918 December 25: visits Lenin in Kremlin to discuss project for paper Land for peasantry.

1919 October: Gatchina taken by Whites. November: leaves Gatchina for Yamburg and Revel. December: leaves with family for Helsinki.

1920 January-July: works on paper New Russian Life in Helsinki. June: leaves by sea for Paris, arriving July 4.

1921 Works on Paris Russian emigre journal The Fatherland.

1924 Daughter Lidia dies in Moscow.

1928 Novel The Junkers begins in serial form in paper La Renaissance. September: visits Belgrade for congress of Russian writers. Travel sketches Yugoslavia published.

1929 Publishes Cape Huron cycle about stay in Provence.

1931 Edits Paris weekly Illustrated Russia for year.

1933 Publishes tale Jeannette.

1934 Russian library opened in Kuprin's flat and run by his wife.

1937 May 29: leaves Paris by train for USSR; arrives Moscow May 31. In June moves to Golitsyno outside city, in December to Leningrad.

1938 Goes to Gatchina for summer, but becomes seriously ill. August 25: dies of cancer of oesophagus. August 27: buried in Leningrad.

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