The Russian-born French writer Henri Troyat wrote in his biography of Alexander Pushkin:

Pushkin grew with the years. Every other writer claimed descent from him. Inexplicably, the whole of Russian literature proceeded from his genius. Poetry, novels, short stories, history, theater, criticism-he had opened up the whole gamut of literary endeavor to his countrymen. He was first in time, and first in quality. He was the source. Neither Gogol nor Tolstoy could have existed without him, for he made the Russian language; he prepared the ground for the growth of every genre.

Henri Troyat wrote a stream of biographies of Russian luminaries: Ivan the Terrible, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, Alexander II, Nicholas II, Rasputin, Tolstoy, Gogol, Chekhov, and Boris Pasternak.

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