Boris Almazov

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Boris Almazov
Алмазов Борис Николаевич.jpg
Born (1827-11-11)November 11, 1827
Vyazma, Smolensk Governorate, Russian Empire
Died April 15, 1876(1876-04-15) (aged 48)
Moscow, Russian Empire
Pen name Erast Blagonravov, B. Adamantov
Genre poetry, literary criticism, translations
Spouse S. Z. Voronina

Boris Nikolayevich Almazov (Russian: Бори́с Никола́евич Алма́зов; IPA: [bɐˈrʲis nʲɪkɐˈlajɪvʲɪtɕ ɐlˈmazəf]; November 11 [O.S. October 27] 1827, Vyazma, Smolensk Governorate, Russian Empire, - April 15 [O.S. April 3] 1876, Moscow, Russian Empire) was a Russian poet, translator, writer and literary critic. During his career, he generally lived and worked in Moscow, the center of literary culture.[1]


Boris Almazov was born in Vyazma, Smolensk Governorate, the son of a retired military man and heir to an old noble Moscow family. He spent his childhood years in his parents' village of Karavayevo, where he received his primary education at home.[1]

In 1839 Almazov joined the 2nd class of the First Moscow gymnasium, then was transferred to a boarding school. In 1848 he enrolled in the law faculty of Moscow University but failed to graduate due to financial difficulties.[1]

In the early 1850s Almazov joined the young staff of the magazine Moskvityanin, alongside Alexander Ostrovsky, Apollon Grigoriev, and Lev Mey. He and Aleksey Pisemsky had a great friendship that lasted decades.[1]

Almazov first was known for his humorous sketches, signed with the pseudonym "Erast Blagonravov." His pieces on the Sovremennik magazine, then led by Nikolai Nekrasov and Panayev, caused exchanges of caustic remarks. One of Erast Blagonravov's best known articles, "Dreaming of a Comedy," dealt with Alexander Ostrovsky's debut play It's a Family Affair-We'll Settle It Ourselves, which had been recently published and promptly banned by the government. Blagonravov thought the sharply negative reviews of the play by Sovremennik and Otechestvennye Zapiski were critically inadequate. Then He changed his own writing style, making them less frivolous and more didactic and began to support the more traditional, patriarchal type of prose.[1]

In 1853 Almazov married S. Z. Voronina, whom he had tutored. The marriage proved to be a happy one, but they had financial difficulties. Voronina came from a poor family, and Amazov was characterized by friends as an impractical man.

To gain a more steady income, in 1854 Almazov joined the Moscow educational chancellery, a position he held until 1861. In 1857 he began working in the office of the publishing house of the Russian Synod. In 1859 he contributed two major articles to the almanac Utro (Morning), compiled by Mikhail Pogodin, including "On Pushkin's Poetry" and "A Review of Russian Literature, 1858". Scholars later noted that, as Almazov was a proponent of the "art for art's sake," as well as sympathetic to champions of more socially aware writing, his approach was paradoxical. He criticized Afanasy Fet for "vagueness" and lauded Mikhail Saltykov-Schedrin's satires. Almazov's "personal tastes and sensibilities proved to be more democratic than the doctrines he tried to promote." His contemporaries generally did not see this, and Nikolay Dobrolyubov's review of the almanac subjected both of Almazov's essays to devastating criticism.[1]

In the 1860s and 1870s, Almazov concentrated on writing and translating poetry. He contributed to The Russian Messenger (1861-1864, 1871-1872), Razvlechenye (1859-1866), Iskra (1861-1862) and Zanoza (1863) among others, publishing mostly humorous verses and social parodies under the pseudonym of "B. Adamantov." He satirized police interference in people's private lives, the inconsistencies of the liberals, and the ideology of serfdom. Almazov was credited with being highly skilled in making verses, and some of his pieces were very popular.

His serious poetry, philosophical and religious, styled after his hero Schiller, was less successful. Poems such as "Rus and The West", "The Old Russian Party" and "To the Russian Tsar," have been regarded as typical Slavophile pieces of Russian poetry.

Almazov also published translations, of which the best known was his version of the French The Song of Roland (published in 1869 in Moscow as Roland). He also translated the works of Goethe, Schiller, and Chénier among major contemporary writers, as well as works from the Middle Ages, and works by other French and Spanish authors.

Poems (Moscow, 1874) was Almazov's conclusive compilation, collecting nearly every poem he had written. Critics ignored it. Alexey Pisemsky was the only person who tried to promote the book, expressing his delight in it. That year Almazov's wife died, and he suffered her loss greatly.[1]

In 1875 he published the novella, Katenka, a work in the natural school mode. He died heart-broken and destitute on November 11, 1876, at Sheremetiev's clinic in Moscow.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Voynalovich, E.V., Karmazinskaya, M.A. (1990). "Almazov, Boris Nikolayevich". Russian Writers. The Biobibliographical Dictionary. Vol I. Ed. P. A. Nikolayev. Prosveshchenye Publishers. Retrieved 2011-06-01.