Aleksey Apukhtin Biography

Aleksey Nikolayevich Apukhtin (November 15, 1840, Bolkhov – August 17, 1893, St. Petersburg) was a Russian poet, writer and critic.


Apukhtin came from an ancient noble family. While yet a child, he betrayed an astounding memory and a fondness for reading, especially of poetry. While yet under ten years of age, he knew by heart the works of Pushkin and Lermontov. Besides these his favorite poets and authors of later years were Griboyedov, Baratinski, Tyuchev, Fet, A. Tolstoi, L. Tolstoi, Turgenev, Dostoyevski and Ostrovski. He entered law school in 1852. In 1859, he graduated with distinction from the Saint Petersburg School of Jurisprudence where he was a class mate of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, who became a lifelong friend. Apukhtin dedicated several poems to Tchaikovsky.

After graduating from law school, he entered the civil service as a member of the Ministry of Justice. After two years retirement in the country (1862–64), he became associated with the Ministry of the Interior. Because of his obesity, which began developing in his youth, he kept away from society. He spent most of his life in St. Petersburg.


Following the traditions of amorous gypsy romance, he introduced into this genre much of his own artistic temperament. Many of his romances were set to music by Tchaikovsky and by other well-known composers (To forget so soon, Does the day reign, Nights of madness and others).

Apukhtin's reputation as a poet was further strengthened in 1886, when his Poems collection was published. In 1890 he published several prose works: Unfinished Story, Archive of the Countess D., Pavlik Dolsky's Diary. His prose was well regarded by Mikhail Bulgakov.