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Zinaida Nikolayevna Gippius was born to a Russian family in Belev in the province of Tula. Her father, a government official and judge, died when she was 12, and her mother moved the family to Moscow and then to Tbilisi. She began writing poetry at a young age. She attended the Kiev Institute for Noble Girls and a private school in Moscow. In 1889, she married Dmitri Merezhkovsky, a modernist novelist and literary critic, and the couple lived in St. Petersburg. Though she originally fervently supported the 1917 Russian Revolution, Zinaida eventually rejected Bolshevism, and the couple left Russia in 1919 and settled in Paris. She spelled her surname as "Hippius" (non-Cyrillic alphabet) after she went into exile, and is sometimes called by it. Zinaida Gippius became one of the best-known poets of the Symbolist movement of the 1890s. She was greatly influenced by the philosopher of Friedrich Nietzsche and her verses focused on mysticism, beauty in all forms, and individualism. In addition to poetry, she wrote plays, short stories, and novels. She also was a literary critic under the pseudonym of "Anton Krainy." Her private diaries were later translated into English and published as Between Paris and St. Petersburg (1975).
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