Biography of Vladímir Galaktiónovich Korolenko (1853-1921)

Russian writer, born in Zhitomir (now, in territory of Ukraine) in 1853, and died in Poltava in 1921. Born in the bosom of a family of Ukrainian society high - his father was judge of provinces, received a careful education in particular, at the time that attended his secondary education at the Institute of letters of Rovno. His academic brilliance was truncated when he began his university studies, sometimes due to the lack of economic resources, and more, because of its decided character, which led him to organize continuous riots in protest against the academic authorities. Thus, he studied at the school Superior of technology of St. Petersburg (1871-1873), in the Escuela Superior de Ingenieros Agrónomos and forestry of Moscow (1874-1876), and at the school of mines of St. Petersburg (1877-1878), but it did not conclude any of these races.

Soon began to suffer reprisals derived from its nature revolutionary, always ready to action of protest and agitation citizen: in 1879 was banished to the small town of Glazov (in Vyatka), where it was forced to ply the humble trade of Shoemaker; five months after he was deported to a remote village, which soon became the city of Tomsk (in Eastern Siberia); Subsequently, he was transferred to Perm, where, under a severe supervision, was allowed to work as a clerk in the railway company. But in 1881 it flatly refused to swear loyalty to the Tsar Alejandro III, so it was again deported to Eastern Siberia (this time, the city of Yakutia), in where he remained for three years.

He regained his freedom in 1885, year in which was installed in Nizhniy Nóvgorod to engage in political activity, the journalistic profession and to literary creation. Flooded items his main publications of its environment, and, already converted into a respected figure among the Russian intelligentsia, in 1893 moved to the United States of America to visit the Universal Exposition in Chicago. On his return, gave printed numerous stories, including anger at home (1984), fighting with the Devil (1895), the factory of death (1895) and without language (1895).

After an attempt to settle in court in 1896, he left disillusioned society that surrounded him in Petersburgo, so he decided to settle, from 1900, in his native Ukraine. There, in the city of Poltava, lived some more calm, delivered to the culture of journalism and literary creation and criticism, but without neglecting its status of political publicist. In those years the recognition came official of fellow writers, who named him academician in 1900 (However, Korolenko abandoned this institution after two years, in the company of Chekhov, since authorities banned entry therein of Maxim Gorky).

From his country retreat, continued excelling in the defence of public interests: criticized anti-Semitism that was spreading among his countrymen (House No. 13), and spoke against the death penalty and the indiscriminate wave of executions by the military (fatal road and characteristics of military justice, 1910). Compulsive writer, he left a correspondence of more than ten thousand Epistles which, written over forty years, not only show the style and thought of this exceptional man, they constitute a fresh monuments of culture, politics and Russian society in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th. In addition, he cultivated literary criticism, in which left keen observations about some Russian authors of the calibre of Chejov, Gorki, Tolstoy and Gogolwith fervor. This extraordinary information about his country and his compatriots are admirably enriched with the publication of his autobiography, story of my contemporary, which, in four volumes, was appearing from 1906 until 1922 (year in which saw the light, posthumously, the fourth installment of this great work).

The dense, varied and voluminous production of Vladímir Korolenko - which, in the edition of his complete works, occupies more than fifty volumes - stands out by the large number of issues that collects and entertaining diversity of genres in which these were dumps. Between his stories of fiction, it is bound to start citing his early stories (fight in house of Apraxia, 1878, and episodes from the life of a seeker, 1879), who followed the strange (1880), the dream of Makar (1885), brood of Falcon (1885), the old Bell-ringer (1885) and, among other many titles, the murmur of the forest (1886). In 1886 appeared his first great novel, the blind musician, which was followed by a first collection of his prose fiction, stories and narrations, publication that received a magnificent reception by critics and readers. Worthy of mention, in his short stories, the inspired by the characters, the situations or environments that Korolenko met when he was deported in Siberia; they are stories as en-Davan (1892), temptation (1891), Frost (1901), emails from the Czar (1901) or the feudal (1904), in which the harsh geographical conditions is also reflected in the characters on it.

Without leaving the narrative field, Korolenko also cultivated with great success the historical novel, as the Muse of Arzamas (1923) and the painter Alymov (1923); In addition, was the author of several works of allegorical, like the story of Floro, Agrippa and Menahem, son of Jehuda (1886) - in which refuses to accept that "nonresistance to evil" proclaiming Tolstoy, and proposes the combativity-exercise, and the Sea (1886), showing favour of risking their lives when it comes to defending freedom.

In the essay genre, Korolenko left a so extensive and varied production. After actively intervening in a campaign to help the hungry in the region of the Volga (1891-1892), picked up his observations and thoughts in a series of essays entitled year of hunger, which was followed by sacrifice in Multan (1895), based on the pagan sacrifices carried out in a Mongolian people, text that helped exonerate most of those accused of practicing these rituals. Along with these contemporary issues, history occupies a prominent place among the matters addressed in the essay of Korolenko work, as reflected in the history of the institutions dead (1768-1771) (1892), village de Dios (1894), Russian torture in ancient times, the legend of the Tsar and the Decembrist, etc. In addition, its numerous travel books, among which stand deserted places (1890), between Cossacks (1901), in Crimea (1914) and Nirvana (1914), may include within the work of thought of Vladímir Korolenko.


SANCHEZ PUIG, MARIA. Dictionary of Russian authors. SS. XI-XIX (Madrid: Ediciones del Orto, 1996).

J.R. Fernández Cano.