Anna Akhmatova Additional Biography


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

Akhmatova’s life and literary career illustrate the challenges that creative intellectuals faced under the restrictions imposed by the Soviet Union’s communist regime. Her poetry is introspective and personal, with unfulfilled love and strained relationships common themes throughout her graceful compositions. Her imagery contrasts hardship and disappointment with elements of tenderness and even optimism. She also occasionally addressed political themes. Her famous “Requiem” deals with the Stalinist purges of the 1930’s.

After Akhmatova published her earliest work between 1912 and 1922, she endured a literary hiatus until the early 1940’s, when she was allowed to publish A Selection from Six Books. In 1946, on the threshold of the Cold War, Soviet authorities branded Akhmatova’s poetry as “bourgeois” and expelled her from the Union of Soviet Writers. What little writing she did over the last twenty years of her life conformed to Communist Party rules.

Under the more open atmosphere of Mikhail Gorbachev’s regime during the 1980’s, Akhmatova’s writings were again published in the Soviet Union. Since the Soviet Union’s collapse in 1991, appreciation of her poetry has seen a renaissance, and Akhmatova has won recognition as one of the significant Russian poets of the twentieth century.


(World Poets and Poetry)

Anna Akhmatova—the pen name of Anna Andreyevna Gorenko—was born in a suburb of Odessa in 1889, into the family of a naval officer. Akhmatova began to write poetry when she was eleven, and her first poem was published in 1907. She achieved great popularity with her first books, Vecher and Chetki. After joining the literary movement called Acmeism, she played an important part in it together with Osip Mandelstam and with her husband, Nikolay Gumilyov, from whom she was later divorced. During World War I and the Russian Revolution, Akhmatova stood by her people, even though she did not agree with the ideas and methods of the revolutionaries. Never politically inclined, she saw in the war and the revolution an evil that might eventually destroy the private world in which she had been able to address herself exclusively to her own problems. When the end of that world came, she refused to accept it, believing that she would be able to continue her sequestered life. She also refused to emigrate, saying that it took greater courage to stay behind and accept what came.

The effect of the revolution on her life and creativity was not immediately evident, for she subsequently published two more collections of poetry. When her former husband and fellow Acmeist Gumilyov was shot, however, Akhmatova realized that the new way of life was inimical to her own. Compelled to silence, she ceased to exist publicly, instead remaining an inner émigré for eighteen years and occupying...

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(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Anna Akhmatova (ak-MAH-tuh-vah), the third child of Andrey and Inna Erazovna, was born Anna Andreyevna Gorenko on June 23, 1889, in Bol’shoy Fontan, Russia. Her mother and younger sister Irina suffered from tuberculosis; at four years of age Irina died from the deadly disease. Only a year older, Anna felt as if a great shadow covered her entire childhood as a result of the death of her younger sister.

Moving north eleven months after Anna’s birth, the Gorenkos settled in Tsarskoye Selo, the czar’s village, where Anna spent most of her childhood. The aspiring poet found little support from her father, who, when hearing of her poetry, asked her not to bring shame upon his name. Anna Gorenko therefore became Anna...

(The entire section is 807 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Anna Akhmatova is one of the major literary figures of the twentieth century because of her lyrical artistry and universal themes. Her own personal struggle to maintain artistic integrity and independence in the face of death embodies the spirit of the artist. Amanda Haight, her biographer, describes Akhmatova as “the instrument of a higher power” who accepted her function as poet to describe “this drama that is life.” With her death her work was completed, but the primary purpose for her life remains with readers forever in her poetry.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Anna Akhmatova (ak-MAH-tuh-vuh) was born Anna Andreyevna Gorenko on the Black Sea coast not far from the port city of Odessa. Her father, a retired naval engineer, soon resettled the family in the town of Tsarskoe Seko, a suburb of St. Petersburg where the Imperial Summer Palace was located. Even though her parents’ household had virtually no books, Anna had read Charles Baudelaire and Paul Verlaine and had written her first poems by the age of thirteen.{$S[A]Gorenko, Anna Andreyevna;Akhmatova, Anna}

Around Christmas, 1903, Anna met another teenage poet, Nikolay Gumilyov, who fell passionately in love with her; for the next fifteen years his poetry was obsessed with her. For several years, Gumilyov entreated her to...

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(Poetry for Students)

Anna Akhmatova was born on June 23, 1888, in the Russian town of Bolshoy Fontan, near the resort town Odessa. Her real name was Anna...

(The entire section is 323 words.)