Alexander Griboyedov Biography


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Alexander Sergeyevich Griboyedov was born in Moscow on January 15, 1795. His father, Sergey Ivanovich, was a retired captain of the dragoons. His mother, Nastasya Fyodorovna (née Griboyedova), was from a more prominent branch of the same family. Although not wealthy, the Griboyedovs were comfortable. They belonged to high society, and Alexander received a good education.

In accordance with the custom of the time, Griboyedov was taught at home by German tutors. His first tutor, Johann Petrosilius, was later the librarian at Moscow University, while a subsequent tutor, Johann Ion, had been a student at Göttingen University. Griboyedov spent several years in the University School in Moscow before entering Moscow University in 1806, when he was only eleven. He completed courses in literature and in law, studied physics and mathematics, and was ready to embark on a doctorate in 1812 when the Napoleonic invasion interrupted his studies. By this time, he was fluent in French, German, English, and Italian and was also a fine pianist.

Following limited service in the Napoleonic Wars, Griboyedov moved to St. Petersburg and entered the College of Foreign Affairs. A talented musician and a dandy, he spent considerable time with actors and playwrights, and it was at this time that he wrote, either alone or in collaboration with friends, the short comedies that were the precursors of The Mischief of Being Clever. He joined the same Masonic lodge, Des Amis Réunis (the assembled friends), to which the philosopher Peter Chaadayev and the future Decembrist Pavel Pestel...

(The entire section is 651 words.)