Alexsander Pushkin (1799 - 1837) was considered the founder of modern Russian literature and one of the greatest Russian poets in the genre of Realism. He was born into a noble family which, incredibly, ascended to that status just two generations earlier. His great-grandfather was brought as a slave from Africa and rose to become an aristocrat. Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and wrote his most famous play, Boris Godunov (1825) while under the surveillance of the Tsar's political police, which banned him from publishing it and other works.
Pushkin must have set a record among his peers for engaging in the most duels to defend his honor. His twenty ninth duel cost him his life by the fatal shot of Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d'Anthès, a French officer who tried to seduce Pushkin's wife who was considered one of the most beautiful woman at the imperial court in St. Petersburg. Pushkin's premature death at the age of 37 in 1837, was devastating to Russian literature. Certainly more dramatic than the infamous duel involving another "Alexander," the American Alexander Hamilton was mortally wounded by Aaron Burr in 1804.