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.