Ivan Savvich Nikitin (/m/08xddj)

Ivan Savvich Nikitin was a Russian poet. Born in Voronezh into a merchant family, Nikitin was educated in a seminary until 1843. His father's violence and alcoholism brought the family to ruin and forced young Ivan to provide for the household by becoming an innkeeper. After his first publications, he joined a circle of local intelligentsia that included his future biographer Mikhail De-Lupé. He taught himself French and German and read widely in world literature, and in 1859 he opened a bookstore and library that became an important center of literary and social life in Voronezh. His first poems appeared in 1849 and his first collection in 1856; his 1858 poem "Kulak" was his most successful with both critics and the public. A second collection came out in 1859, and a prose "Seminarist's Diary" was published in 1861. Some of his poems became the basis for popular songs, set to music by such composers as Vasily Kalinnikov, Eduard Nápravník, and Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. D. S. Mirsky wrote that his "principal claim to attention" was in "his realistic poems of the life of the poor":
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