Aleksandr Levitov

Levitov, Aleksandr Ivanovich

 

Born July 20 (Aug. 1), 1835, in the village of Dobroe, present-day Lipetsk Oblast; died Jan. 4 (16), 1877, in Moscow. Russian writer.

Levitov was the son of a village deacon. In 1855 he entered the St. Petersburg Academy of Medicine and Surgery, but in 1856 he was arrested for participation in an underground student group and exiled to the North for three years.

Levitov’s first work, “Scenes at the Fair: Sketches From the Life of the Common People,” was published in the journal Vremia in 1861. The writer gravitated toward the tradition of the Naturalist school. In 1866, with M. A. Voronov, he published the anthology Moscow Dens and Slums. In 1874 a collection by Levitov appeared under the symbolic title Misery of the Villages, Roads, and Cities.

Three themes are prominent in Levitov’s work: the postreform village with its kulak domination, peasant ignorance and submission to fate, and the disintegration of the peasant commune under the pressure of capitalism; the life of urban laborers and people of “the lower depths”; and the tragic fate of the intelligentsia of the raznochintsy (intellectuals of no definite class).

A democratic writer and a master of the laconic lyrical and epic sketch, Levitov often used social satire and biting linguistic grotesquerie. He died of tuberculosis, in extreme poverty.

WORKS

Sobr. soch., vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1884.
Sobr. soch., vols. 1–8. St. Petersburg, 1911. (Critical and biographical sketch by A. A. Izmailov.)
Soch., vols. 1–2. Moscow-Leningrad, 1932–33.
Soch. Moscow, 1956.

REFERENCES

“Levitov.” In Istoriia russkoi literatury, vol. 8, part. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Strukov, A. A. I. Levitov. Lipetsk, 1960.
Silaev, A. Liry zvon kandal’nyi: Ocherki zhizni i tvorchestva A. I. Levitova. Lipetsk, 1963.

G. M. MIRONOV