November 01, 2002

Enriching the Russian Language

On November 22, 1887, Samuil Marshak was born. A poet, translator, playright, dramatist, literary critic and editor, Marshak was born in Voronezh and began writing poetry at a very early age.

When he was just 15, Marshak’s family moved to Petersburg, where he came into contact with Vladimir Stasov and, through him, Fyodor Shalyapin and Maxim Gorky, who all took an active interest in his future. Stasov arranged for Marshak, the son of a Jew from the Pale of Settlement, to be enrolled in a gymnasium, an exceptional accomplishment at that time. Following that, Marshak lived for two years in Yalta, financed by Shalyapin and Gorky, then returned to Petersburg, where he began to be published in Satirikon, one of the most popular Russian journals of humor.

From 1912-1915, Marshak lived in England and studied at the University of London. In the years that followed, he saw published his first translations into Russian of poems by Burns, Blake, Wordsworth and others.

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