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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Oryol, Russian Empire [now Russia]
Died in Neivola, Mustamäki, Finland [now Gordovskoye, Leningrad Oblast, Russia]
Birth NameLeonid Nikolayevich Andreyev

Mini Bio (1)

Leonid Andreev was born on August 21, 1871 in Orel, Russia. His father, named Nikolai Ivanovich Andreev, was a member of the provincial Russian Nobility and worked as a land inspector for the government. His mother, Named Anastasia Nikolaevna Andreeva (Pazkovska) belonged to the Polish Nobility. Andreev graduated from the Orel Gymnasium, went to study law at the St. Petersburg University, and graduated from the Moscow University. His work as a crime reporter for "Moscovski Vestnik" (Moscow daily paper) provided material for his stories. He was fond of reading Fyodor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy, and Anton Chekhov. He also red then popular Friedrich Nietzsche and Schopenhauer. After the death of his father and a painful first love experience in 1894 he was depressed and tried to shoot himself in a suicide attempt. He survived and worked hard to support his mother and his two sisters and two younger brothers. He successfully passed the Russian Law Bar in 1897 and practiced law as an attorney for five years from 1897-1902.

Andreev published his first story "Bargamot and Garaska" in 1898. It was noticed by Maxim Gorky, who promoted Andreev to the circle of writers and publishers, called Znanie (Knowledge). In 1901 his first book of stories was published by Znanie. His story "Bezdna" (Abyss, 1902), about a teenager's experience with a prostitute ending in her murder and his suicide, was attacked by Leo Tolstoy. But Andreev became an instant celebrity in Russia. After his anti-war story "Krasny Smekh" (Red Laughter, 1904), written during the Russian-Japanese war, he got involved with anti-Czar revolutionaries. Andreev was arrested and jailed by the Czar's secret service in 1905, after that he emigrated to Europe and lived in Capri, Italy as a guest of Maxim Gorky. While developing his expressionist style, Andreev wrote a bluntly realistic anti-war story "Rasskaz o semi poveshennykh" (A Story About the Seven Hung, 1909) and a realist novel "Sashka Zhegulev" (1911). After the war and the first Russian revolution of 1905, Andreev was writing a play every year. His plays were staged at the Moscow Art Theatre and theatres in Vienna, Berlin, Odessa and Kazan by directors Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko and Vsevolod Meyerhold among others. His best plays "Anathema", "Tsar-Golod" (Czar-hunger), "Samson v okovakh" (Samson in Handcuffs, 1914) were banned by Russian censorship under the Czar. Andreev built a big villa in Kuokkala, Finland, where many Russian intellectuals lived, just 50 km. West of St. Petersburg. He was a regular member of the circle of Korney Ivanovich Chukovskiy and maintained friendship with Maxim Gorky. Leonid Andreev also was a friend of writers Aleksandr Kuprin, Vladimir Korolenko, Ivan Bunin, Vikenti Veresaev, and singer Feodor Chaliapin Sr.. During WWI he was a strong critic of German aggression. In 1917 he opposed the Bolshevik Revolution.

Leonid Andreev was the founder of the Russian Expressionism in literature. He modernized his style through experiments with spiritualism, symbolism, eroticism and mysticism, and also studied a range of occult and religious traditions. His literary parallel was the American writer H.P. Lovecraft. Andreev remained in his villa in Finland after it's separation from Russia during the Russian revolution of 1917. He was a staunch critic of the Soviet communism and wrote powerful articles about the atrocities of communists in Russia. He died on September 12, 1919, at his home in Kuokkala, Finland, at the age of 48. Some mystery was haunting his burial; his grave in Finland was later on the Soviet territory since WWII. His magnificent villa was destroyed. In 1957 Leonid Andreev's remains were exhumed and moved to the prestigious "Poet's Alley" at the "Literatorskie Mostki" (Literary burials) near the graves of Ivan Turgenev, Ivan Goncharov, Nikolai Leskov and other Russian cultural luminaries at the Volkovo Cemetery in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Steve Shelokhonov

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