Kornei Chukovskii

Чуковский, Корней Иванович


Born St. Petersburg, 31 March 1882

Died Moscow, 28 October 1969


Kornei Chukovskii, (pseudonym of Nikolai Vasilevich Korneichukov) was an illegitimate son of Ekaterina Korneichukov (a peasant girl from the Poltava region) and Emmanuil Levinson, a son of a wealthy Jewish family. Their marriage was prevented by the Levinson family and mother and son set out for Odessa. Because of financial difficulties (his natural father no longer paid for him) he had to obtain his secondary school and university diplomas through correspondence. He started working as a journalist for the Odessa Newspaper which sent him as a foreign correspondent to London where he taught himself English. Back in Russia he started translating literary works from Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman, Daniel Defoe, Rudyard Kipling and others. He became famous for his work on Russian literature and children’s language. He received the Lenin Prize for his life-time work on the works of the 19th century poet Nikolai Nekrasov, and an honorary doctorate of Oxford University in 1962.