Marie tells the story of life and love on the Russian plains. Young Peter Grineff leaves the comfort of his home to face blizzards, hardship, and the barbarous cossacks. Presented as a memoir by Peter, the story follows his sometimes-harrowing quest to become husband to Marie. However, Peter's love, as pure as the virgin snow, is threatened by a rival for Marie's affections. ALEXANDER PUSHKIN (1799-1837) was born into Russian nobility in Moscow. He published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and is considered by critics to be a father of Russian literature, as revered by Russians as Shakespeare is by the British. Not only is he seen as having originated the highly nuanced level of language that characterizes Russian literature after him, but he is also credited with substantially augmenting the Russian lexicon. His rich vocabulary and highly sensitive style are the foundation for modern Russian literature. Though his life was brief, he left examples of nearly every literary genre of his day: lyric poetry, narrative poetry, the novel, the short story, the drama, the critical essay, and even the personal letter.