Aksakov, Konstantin Sergeevich


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Aksakov, Konstantin Sergeevich

 

Born Mar. 29 (Apr. 10), 1817, in the village of Novo-Aksakovo, Orenburg Province; died Dec. 7 (19), 1860, on the island of Zakinthos, Greece. Russian publicist, historian, philologist, poet, and son of S. T. Aksakov.

Aksakov, a graduate of the philological department of Moscow University (1835), belonged to the circle of N. V. Stankevich. Then, in the 1840’s and 1850’s he became a leader of Slavophilism. Expressing his views on Russian history in articles, dramas, and verse, Aksakov believed that the main feature of Russia, and to a certain extent an inherent feature of all Slavic peoples, is its obshchina (communal system), that is, the harmonious coexistence of the two moving forces of history—the people (“land”) and the state (“authority”). The reforms of Peter I had disrupted the organic development of Russia by arbitrarily turning the country to Western European ways; as a result, the state began to enserf the people, and the gentry and intelligentsia lost touch with their national popular bases. Aksakov advocated liberal reforms and the abolition of serfdom and demanded a study of the life of the people, their culture, and daily life. Although a study would have been significant, his understanding of the masses did not go beyond the bounds of the conservative romantic philosophy of Slavophilism.

Aksakov’s poetry and plays, full of the romantic Slavophile spirit, employ many antiserfdom motifs, criticize despotism, and appeal for rapprochement of the intelligentsia and the people. As a literary critic, however, Aksakov opposed V. G. Belinskii and the critical trend in Russian literature.

His philological works revealed the national characteristics of the grammatical structure of Russian and contained an original understanding of many categories of Russian grammar.

WORKS

Poln. sobr. soch., vols. 1–3. Moscow, 1861–80.
Soch. Edited and annotated by E. A. Liatskii, vol. 1. St. Petersburg, 1915.

REFERENCES

Belinskii, V. G. “Ob” iasnenie na ob” iasnenie po povodu poemy Gogolia ‘Mertvye dushi’.” Poln. sobr. soch., vol. 6. Moscow, 1955.
Vengerov, S. A. Peredovoi boets slavianofil’stva, Sobr. soch., vol. 3. St. Petersburg, 1912.
Sladkevich, N. G. “Slavianofil’ skaia kritika 40–50-kh gg.” Istoriia russkoi kritiki, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1958.
Istoriia russkoi literatury XIX v.: Bibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Edited by K. D. Muratova. Moscow-Leningrad, 1962.

S. S. DMITRIEV