- 565 ratings
- July 31st 1989
by Oberlin College Press
(first published 1960)
- Date of birth: June 23, 1889
- Died: March 05, 1966
- Born: in Odessa, (formerly Russian Empire), Ukraine.
- Description: Also known as: Анна Ахматова, Anna Ahmatova, Anna Achmatowa
Pen name of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, a Russian modernist poet, credited as one of the most acclaimed writers in the Russian canon.
Akhmatova's work ranges from short lyric poems to universalized, ingeniously structured cycles, such as Requiem (1935-40), her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror. Her work addresses a variety of themes including time and memory, the fate of creative women, and the difficulties of living and writing in the shadow of Stalinism. She has been widely translated into many languages, and is one of the best-known Russian poets of 20th century.
In 1910, she married the poet, Nikolay Gumilyov, who very soon left her for lion hunting in Africa, the battlefields of World War I, and the society of Parisian grisettes. Her husband did not take her poems seriously, and was shocked when Alexander Blok declared to him that he preferred her poems to his. Their son, Lev, born in 1912, was to become a famous Neo-Eurasianist historian.
Nikolay Gumilyov was executed in 1921 for activities considered anti-Soviet; Akhmatova then married a prominent Assyriologist Vladimir Shilejko, and then an art scholar, Nikolay Punin, who died in the Stalinist Gulag camps. After that, she spurned several proposals from the married poet, Boris Pasternak.
After 1922, Akhmatova was condemned as a bourgeois element, and from 1925 to 1940, her poetry was banned from publication. She earned her living by translating Leopardi and publishing essays, including some brilliant essays on Pushkin, in scholarly periodicals. All of her friends either emigrated or were repressed.
Her son spent his youth in Stalinist gulags, and she even resorted to publishing several poems in praise of Stalin to secure his release. Their relations remained strained, however. Akhmatova died at the age of 76 in St. Peterburg. She was interred at Komarovo Cemetery.
There is a museum devoted to Akhmatova at the apartment where she lived with Nikolai Punin at the garden wing of the Fountain House (more properly known as the Sheremetev Palace) on the Fontanka Embankment, where Akhmatova lived from the mid 1920s until 1952.