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Famous Like Me > Writer > C > Kornei Chukovsky

Profile of Kornei Chukovsky on Famous Like Me

Name: Kornei Chukovsky  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 31st March 1882
Place of Birth: St.Petersburg, Russia
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Mayakovsky's cartoon of Korney Chukovsky

Korney Ivanovich Chukovsky (Russian: Корней Иванович Чуковский, March 31 NS 1882 - October 28, 1968) is probably the most popular poet for children in the Russian language. His poems about Doctor Aybolit, Barmaley, the Giant Roach, the Nile Crocodile and Wash'em'clean have been favourites with many generations of Russophone children. He also was an influential literature critic and essayist.

Early life

His real name was Nikolay Vasilyevich Korneychukov, which he humorously reworked into his now familiar pen-name while working as a journalist in Odessa News in 1901. He was an illegitimate son of Ekaterina Osipovna Korneychukova by Emmanuil Solomonovich Levinson (grandfather of mathematician Vladimir Abramovich Rokhlin). He studied in Odessa gimnasium, with Zeev Jabotinsky as a classmate. Later Nikolay was expelled from his gymnasium for his "low origin". He had to get his secondary school and university diplomas by correspondence.

In 1903-05, he lived as a correspondent in London, where he learnt to admire the verses of Walt Whitman, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. Back in Russia, Chukovsky started translating from English and published several analyses of contemporary European authors, which brought him in touch with leading personalities of Russian literature and secured the friendship of Alexander Blok. His influence on Russian literary society of 1890s is immortalized by satirical verses of Sasha Cherny Korney Belinsky (allusion on the famous critic Vissarion Belinsky). Later the publications of the time was published in the books From Chekhov to Our Days (1908), Critique stories (1911), Faces and masks (1914). He also published a satirical magazine Signal (1905-1906) and was arrested for six months for anti-government publications.

Later life and works

It was at that period that Chukovsky produced his first fantasies for children. As the 2004 Encyclopedia Britannica put it, "their clockwork rhythms and air of mischief and lightness in effect dispelled the plodding stodginess that had characterized prerevolutionary children's poetry". Subsequently, they were adapted for theatre and cartoons, with Chukovsky as one of collaborators. Sergei Prokofiev and other composers even adapted some of his poems for opera and ballet. His works were popular with the emigre children as well, as Nabokov's complimentary letter to Chukovsky attests.

Boris Pasternak and Korney Chukovsky (on the background) at the first Congress of the Soviet Union of Writers in 1934.

During the Soviet period, Chukovsky edited the complete works of Nikolay Nekrasov and published From Two to Five (1933), a popular guidebook to the language of children. As his invaluable diaries attest, Chukovsky used his popularity to help the authors persecuted by the regime including Anna Akhmatova, Mikhail Zoshchenko, Alexander Galich and Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He was the only Soviet writer who officially congratulated Boris Pasternak on his having been awarded of the Nobel prize. His daughter Lydia Chukovskaya is remembered as a lifelong companion and secretary of the poet Anna Akhmatova.

For his life-time works on Nekrasov he got D.Sci in philology, Lenin Prize and an honorary doctorate of Oxford University in 1962.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Kornei Chukovsky