Born April 15 on Kronstadt Island naval base in the Gulf
of Finland, the son of a Russian naval doctor, Stepan Yakovlevich,
and his second wife, Anna Ivanovna, who was also the daughter
of an admiral.
Family moves to Tsarskoe Selo.
Family lives in St. Petersburg.
Family lives in Tiflis (Tbilisi, Goergia) in the Cuacasus.
A Georgian newspaper publishes Я в лес бежал из городов
("I fled to the forest from the cities"), Gumilev's
first to appear in print. Little of the future poet's Acmeistic
or Symbolistic characteristics are apparent here, but it
displays the poet's great admiration for the Romanticism
of Lermontov and Nadson.
Family returns to Tsarskoe Selo. Gumilev graduates from
the town's famous secondary school at the relatively old
age of 20. While Gumilev attends the school, Innokentii
Annensky is its director and Anna Andreevna Gorenko,
who would later change her last name to Akhmatova,
was a fellow student. Gorenko and Gumilev fall in love.
Gumilev publishes Путь конквистадоров (Path of the Conquistadors).
Here the influence of Symbolists such as Blok,
and especially Bely is rather too
obvious, but the volume does contain the earnestness and
Lermontovian Romanticism that differentiates Gumilev from
many of his contemporaries. Briusov, in his famous Symbolist
journal, Vesy, gives a tepid review, remarking that
Gumilev shows promise despite not being terribly original.
Enrolls in Sorbonne, Paris. Begins travels in North Africa
(Egypt and Sudan).
Романтические цветы (Romantic Flowers), released in Paris
in March, is Gumilev's second collection of verse and shows
the author's further maturation as a unique voice within
the Symbolist context. Both from Bryusov and from Annensky,
Gumilev's former teacher, the volume receives mixed, though
now less hesitant, praise. Enrolls in the University of
St. Petersburg but dedicates more time to artistic than
to academic endeavors.
With art critic Sergey Makovsky and Annensky, Gumilev begins
work on the periodical Apollon. He contributes both
poems and a monthly poetry review to the journal. Collaborates
with Aleksey Tolstoy on Ostrov, a journal of poetry,
but it does not last beyond two issues. Participates in
the formation of the Общество ревнителей художественного
слова (Society of Zealots of the Artistic Word), a discussion
group that includes Ivanov and
Blok, among others. Again travels to North Africa, this
time to Abyssinia.
Early spring, father dies. April 25, marries Akhmatova,
whose first poetry is published by Gumilev in the short-lived
journal Sirius. The couple honeymoons in Paris, where
they meet and model for Modigliani. They spend the next
several months first in Tver' and then in Tsarskoe Selo,
with Gumilev's mother. Жемчуга (Pearl) is published to more
acclaim, and marks Gumilev's introduction of elements of
Realism into his Romantic imagination. Returns to Abyssinia.
Akhmatova, who is becoming an increasingly popular poet
in her own right, gives birth to Lev Nikolaevich, the couple's
only child. With Sergey Gorodetsky, an older Symbolist,
Gumilev founds Цех поэтов (the Poets' Guild), which most
notably includes Akhmatova and Osip
Mandelstam, the core of the future Acmeist school.
Travels to Italy. Publishes Чужое небо (Foreign Skies),
his fourth collection of poetry, simultaneous to the founding
of the Acmeist movement. The volume marks the emergence
of the mature Gumilev, who has shrugged off the influence
of the Symbolists that limited his earlier work and has,
in Acmeism, found the perfect combination of Symbolistic
imaginings and his own emerging interest in the real (if
slightly Romanticized) world. Correspondingly, Gumilev also
begins to move away from the typically Symbolist odes and
ballads in favor of looser, more innovative forms.
Returns to Africa--to Somaliland and again to Abyssinia.
Along with the appearance of the manifesto, "Acmeism
and the Legacy of Symbolism," which marked the official
beginning of the Acmeist school, Актеон (Akteon), Gumilev's
first play, is published by the Acmeists' publishing firm
Giperborei. Also, he works on the long narrative poem Мик
Publishes translation of Gautier's Emaux et Camees.
Volunteers to serve in military in World War I, as part
of the Uhlan Regiment, and sees combat in both Prussia and
Twice receives Cross of Saint George, awarded for valor
in battle; transfers military service to Hussar Regiment.
Writes plays Дитя Аллаха (The Child of Allah) and
Игра (The Game), both of which are published posthumously.
Publishes Колчан (The Quiver), his fifth book of
verse, which is notable both for its documentation of the
poet's experiences in WWI and for the advancements in both
lyricism and description that allow Gumilev finally and
successfully to express his Romantic life-creation, жизнетворчество.
After the March Revolution, the provisional government transfers
Gumilev to Paris, where he becomes involved in an unrequited
love affair, about which he writes a cycle of poems, К синей
звезде (To a Blue Star), published posthumously.
From Paris he travels to London, where he stays for three
Returns to Russian and in quick succession divorces Akhmatova,
from whom he had been estranged for several years, and marries
Anna Nikolaevna Engelhardt. 1918 is Gumilev's most active
year in terms of publishing: the final version of Ник: Африканская
поэма (Nik: An African Epic), a translated collection
of Chinese poetry Фарфоровый павильон (The Porcelain
Pavilion), revisions of two previous collections and
of a play, and his sixth anthology of new verse Костер (The
Pyre). Also begins working with Maksim Gorky on his
new journal Всемирная литература (World Literature),
to which he contributes criticism and translations of Gilgamesh
and Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Teaches in various studios, institutes and societies in
Petrograd. His play Гондла (Gondla), the only to
be performed in his lifetime, is put on in Rostov with considerable
popular and critical success. Takes up residence, with Engelhardt,
in Gorky's Дом Искусств (House of the Arts). Birth of daughter,
Publishes seventh book of verse, Шатер (The Tent),
a collection of poems from 1918. Travels to the Black Sea
in June. Abruptly arrested on August 3 by the Cheka, the
Bolshevik secret police, for his alleged involvement in
the so-called Tagantsev conspiracy, and is executed on or
about the 25th of the same month. His final collection of
verse, Огненый столп (The Pillar of Fire), is published
soon after his death.
of critical works on N. S. Gumilev