Alexander Pushkin was born in Moscow in 1799. Leaving school in 1817, he spent three years in St Petersburg working in the Foreign Office and writing erotic verse. His flirtations with pre-Decembrist movements and his revolutionary verses lead to his exile in 1820. After a stay in the Caucasus and Crimea he was sent to Bessarabia, where he began to write more seriously, beginning Eugene Onegin and Tsygany. In 1831 he retired to a family estate, married, and his literary output slackened. He was mortally wounded in a duel and died in January 1837.
Rosemary Edmonds was born in London and studied languages in England, France and Italy. During the war she was translator to General de Gaulle. Among her many translations for Penguin Classics are Tolstoy's War and Peace, Anna Karenin and Resurrection and Turgenev's Fathers and Sons. She died in 1998.