(1871-1919) Russian writer and lawyer. His neurotic, pessimistic and suicidal nature provided sufficient brooding melancholy to develop a corpus of horror and macabre stories that made him one of Russia's most popular writers in the period 1898-1910. Most of his early fiction is straight Horror with a few elements of Supernatural Fiction, but he later shifted toward the symbolic, seeking to evoke metaphysical horror, though more often attaining only cheap sensationalism. LA frequently used Biblical imagery to convey his message, and nowhere more powerfully than in "Lazarus" (1906; in Lazarus, and The Man from San Francisco anth trans Abraham Yarmolinsky 1918 US), a form of Posthumous Fantasy – but one set in the real world, where Lazarus is resurrected to a life that he finds too burdensome, and sucks all whom he encounters into eternal misery. "The Abyss" (1909) portrays a similar mental decline, and is best compared to various works by Guy de Maupassant.
LA's fictions are depressing but powerful. His Complete Works (coll 1913 8 vols) have been published in Russia, but only selections have appeared in translation, of which Silence (coll trans 1910 UK), The Little Angel (coll trans 1915 UK) and The Crushed Flower (coll trans 1917 UK) are early examples, and Selected Stories (coll 1969 UK) the most recent. [MA]
other works: An Abyss (1909 UK).
Leonid Nikolaevich Andreyev