by Leonid Leonov
Leonid Maximovich Leonov (Russian: Леонид Максимович Леонов; 31 May 1899 — 8 August 1994) was a Soviet novelist and playwright. He has been dubbed the 20th-century Dostoyevsky for the deep psychological torment of his prose.
Leonid was born in Moscow in 1899. His father, Maxim Leonov, was a self-educated peasant poet who was at one time the chairman of the Surikov Literary and Musical circle (Surikov was also of peasant origin). Maxim Leonov later joined the Sreda literary group of Moscow, which counted Maxim Gorky, Leonid Andreyev, and Ivan Bunin among its members.
Leonid's earliest memory was of 1905, when Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia was assassinated by the terrorist Kalyayev. In the same year Leonid's father was arrested for two pamphlets that he had published. Leonid was taken twice by his grandmother to visit his father in prison. After serving 20 months, Maxim Leonov was exiled to Arkhangelsk. Leonid visited him there several times, and his impressions and observations were later reflected in many of his works, especially Sot.
He attended the Moscow Third gymnasium from 1910 to 1918. His first poems, reviews, and news reports were published in 1915 in the journal Severnoe Utro. He had intended to study medicine at Moscow State University, but his plans were disrupted by the outbreak of the Russian Civil War.
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