Leonid Nikolaivich Andreyev was born in Orel in 1871. After his father's death he was thrown upon his own resources, but managed to study at both Petrograd and Moscow Universities, graduating in Law in 1897. During this period he endured great hardship—often even actual hunger—and was the victim of deep melancholia. His first writings were unsuccessful; and, for a time, he devoted himself to painting. Later he came into touch with the Russian press as police-court reporter for a leading newspaper.
The story «The Little Angel» (1899) about a teenager – half-hungry, offended by the whole world «wolf cub». Once on a holiday in a rich house, he saw an angel on a Christmas tree. A toy becomes for him a sign of the «wonderful world where he once lived.» She must belong to him! And the boy, who endured a lot, defending his pride, falls to his knees in front of the «unpleasant aunt.»
The most famous and inspirational works of Leonid Andreyev include «Judas Iscariot», «The Red Laugh», «The Seven Who Were Hanged», «The Life of Man», «Anathema», «The Black Maskers», «The Sabine Women», «The Tragedy of Belgium.»