Chulkov, Mikhail Dmitrievich
Born 1743 or 1744 in Moscow; died there Oct. 24 (Nov. 4), 1792. Russian writer and journalist.
Chulkov was one of the soldatskie deti (children not from the dvorianstvo [nobility] who were educated in regimental schools and allowed to enter military service at the same level as members of the dvorianstvo). He was an actor, a court servant, and a Senate official; he obtained hereditary nobility in 1779.
Chulkov’s works were oriented toward the common reader. His collection of short stories and novellas The Mocker, or Slavonic Tales (parts 1–5, 1766–89) contained picaresque works and works dealing with magic and chivalry. It represented the first use of Slavic mythology in Russian literature. Chulkov later systematized Slavic mythology in special mythological dictionaries, the most complete of which was The ABC of Russian Superstitions (1786).
Chulkov’s The Comely Cook, or The Adventures of a Debauched Woman (1770, unfinished) was the first Russian picaresque novel written from the viewpoint of a woman. Chulkov published a number of 18th-century folk and professionally composed songs in A Collection of Various Songs (parts 1–4, 1770–74), which was supplemented and republished by N. I. Novikov in 1780 and 1781. (Parts 1–3 were reissued as The Works of M. D. Chulkov, vol. 1, St. Petersburg, 1913.) He published the journals I to i s’o (1769) and Parnasskii shchepetil’nik (1770) and took part in the journalistic polemic Novikov conducted with Catherine II on the nature of satire. In the last years of his life, Chulkov worked on A Historical Account of Russian Commerce (vols. 1–7, 1781–88), a detailed collection of legislative acts and other documents dealing with trade.
WORKSIn Literaturnoe nasledstvo, vols. 9–10. Moscow, 1933.
In Iroi-komicheskaia poema. Leningrad, 1933.
In Poety XVIII v., vol. 1. Leningrad, 1958.
In Stikhotvornaia skazka (novella) XVIII–nach. XIX vv. Leningrad, 1969.
In Russkaiaproza XVIII v. Moscow, 1971.
REFERENCESShklovskii, V. B. Chulkov i Levshin. Leningrad, 1933.
Mathauserovà, S. Ruský zdroj monologické’ románové formy (M. D. Čulkov). Prague, 1961.
Garrard, J. G. M. Čulkov: An Introduction to His Prose and Verse. The Hague-Paris, 1970.
V. P. STEPANOV