Sumarokov Alexander Petrovich (1717 - 1777)
He was born on November 14 (25th according to New Style) in Moscow in an ancient noblemen's family. Till fifteen he was educated and brought up at home.
In 1732 - 40 he studied at Land Polish gentry corps, where he began to write verses imitating Trediakovsky. Sumarokov served as aide-de-camp to counts G.Golovkin and A.Razumovsky and continued to write, at that time strongly influenced by odes of Lomonosov.
A bit later he finds his own genre - love songs, which were very popular with public. He develops poetic technique of portrayal of private life and psychological conflicts, which later he will apply in tragedies.
Lomonosov, a developer of civic consciousness subjects, disapproved of Sumarokov's lyrics. A polemic between Lomonosov and Sumarokov on questions of poetic style represented an important stage in the development of Russian classicism.
From love songs Sumarokov passes on to poetic tragedies - "Khorev" (1747), "Hamlet" (1748), "Sinav and Truvor" (1750). In these works for the first time in the history of Russian theatre achievements of the French and German enlightener dramatic art were used. Sumarokov combined in them personal, love themes with public and philosophical problems. The appearance of tragedies served as a stimulus for creation of Russian theatre, the director of which became Sumarokov (1756 - 61).
In 1759 Sumarokov published the first Russian literary magazine "The Industrious Bee", which was on the side of palace party that supported future empress Catherine II.
In the beginning of reign of Catherine II the literary glory of Sumarokov reached its zenith. The young satirists, grouping around N.Novikov and Fonvizin, supported Sumarokov, who wrote fables directed against bureaucratic tyranny, bribery, brutal treatment of serfs by landowners.
In 1770, after moving to Moscow, Sumarokov conflicted with Moscow commander-in-chief P.Saltykov. Empress took Saltykov's side, on what Sumarokov answered by a humiliating letter. All this worsened his public and literary position.
In the 1770s he created the best comedies ("Imaginary Cuckold", "Squabbler", 1772) and tragedies "Dmitry Impostor" (1771), "Mstislav" (1774). Sumarokov was a stage manager at the theatre of Moscow University, published poetic collections: "Satires" (1774), "Elegies" (1774).
The last years of his life were marked by material deprivations, loss of popularity that resulted in hard drinking. It also was the reason of Sumarokov's death on October 1 (the 12th according to New Style), 1777 in Moscow.