Biography of Anatoli Vasilievich Lunacharsky (1875-1933)

Playwright, essayist, critic, theatrical, political and diplomatic, Soviet, born in Poltava (Ukraine) in 1875, and died in Menton (France) in 1933. Remembered primarily for his theoretical studies of literary creation focused from a Marxist perspective, he/she was one of the writers and intellectuals most prestigious socialist realism and the literature of Communist indoctrination that flourished in the Soviet Union as a result of the Russian revolution. In addition, he/she distinguished himself in life in a fruitful political activity which led him to play senior positions of responsibility in the administration of their country.


Born into a military family - his father was army officer Ukrainian-, with only seventeen years of age acquired a pronounced political conscience that led him to become a revolutionary and participate in the principal popular uprisings that shook Eastern Europe at the end of the 19th century. Not neglected, therefore, his academic training, in the great intellectual gifts who had been from his childhood and completed with care in a boarding school of Zurich (Switzerland).

On his return to Russia in 1896, the young Anatoly Vasilievich Lunacharsky participated actively in numerous antizaristas skirmishes that earned him several periods of arrest, until, at the beginning of the 20th century, it intervened decisively in the first revolution of 1905, beside the Bolshevik faction of the Democrats Russians led by Lenin. However, the failure of this revolutionary movement led him to renege on their ideas and viciously criticize Marxism, which came to brand religious stream in one of its early printed books.

Already in full maturity, assisted with amazement to the revolution of 1917, and again thrilled with Marxism, acceded again to the Bolshevik forces. In reward for his ardent support of intellectual, he/she was appointed Commissioner of the people for education, who initially tried to reject the overwhelming destructive machinery before it was launched during the first uprisings of November. Apparently was the own Lenin who claimed his contest and persuaded Lunacharsky to take a charge of as much responsibility, equivalent to the Minister in Western Governments. This insistence, the writer, and Ukrainian politician he/she held such Commissioner of education from 1917 until 1929, in a lengthy period of twelve years, which were in practice the major school reforms proposed by the revolution, most of which were inevitably doomed to failure. However, Lunacharsky was not discouraged by the difficulties found in its arduous task as the ruler, and from the height of his position, despite the noisy raised controversies between creators and intellectuals, supported with courage the development of literature and avant-garde art. Indeed, it was one of the decisive figures in the triumph of aesthetics and thinking futuristic in the Soviet Union, and showed a clear enthusiasm towards the theatre of Meierhold, the literary group Serapion and the film work of Sergei Mikhäilovitch Eisensteinbrothers.

However, his greatest successes as Commissioner of education in the first stage of the Soviet Union were reflected, rather than in the support and encouragement offered to the great literary and artistic figures of the country, in their zealous efforts to preserve the cultural riches of the old Russia during the revolutionary and post-revolutionary period. Thus, Lunacharsky got to preserve free many popular libraries, art galleries, and buildings notable, that, in the dessert - next to his theoretical writings - can be considered the greatest contribution of the Ukrainian humanist culture of the nascent Soviet Union.

In the Decade of the 1930s, Lunacharsky was appointed Ambassador of his nation in Spain. On his way to the diplomatic delegation in Madrid, death surprised in the French city of Menton, at the age of fifty-eight.


In his facet of writer, Anatoli Vasilievich Lunacharsky produced a series of plays that, designed from a few overly academic, scholastic and stuffy approach, do not constitute in any way his best intellectual legacy. Among the most outstanding titles of creative dedication to the dramatic genre, it should be recalled the works of Faust and the city (1918), Cromwell (1920) and Thomas Campanella (1920-21).

However, his theoretical contributions to the development of the artistic and literary criticism are, from a Marxist perspective, one of the major contributions of Soviet thought, until the end that still today constitute mandatory consultations in the main University classrooms around the world. Between these theoretical essay of Lunacharsky, is obliged to mention some titles as relevant as literary profiles (1923-1925), theater and Revolution (1924) and critical studies (1925).

J. R. Fernández Cano