Nekrasov, Nikolai Alekseyevich

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Nikolai Alekseyevich Nekrasov (nyĬkəlī´ əlyĬksyā´yəvĬch nyĬkrä´səf), 1821–78, Russian poet, editor, and publisher. Nekrasov began writing poetry when he was seven. Disowned by his brutal father for entering the university, he lived in poverty for many years. The critic Belinsky befriended him and thereafter Nekrasov had brilliant success as an editor and publisher during a period of severe censorship. He discovered and published Leo Tolstoy, Goncharov, and Dostoyevsky. He bought (1846) and edited Pushkin's literary review The Contemporary, making it the finest review of its day. Nekrasov sought to improve social conditions in Russia and his powerful verses were used as slogans by revolutionaries. He made original use of the prosaic diction and rhythms of peasant oral literature. His major works include The Red-nosed Frost (1863, tr. 1887), the tragic poem Russian Women (1867), and the satirical portrait of feudal Russia, Who Is Happy in Russia? (1873–76, tr. 1957). His literary collaborator for many years was his mistress, Avdotya Panaeva.

See study by S. S. Birkenmayer (1968).